This laboratory of maternal psychology aims to study the transition to motherhood, or “matrescence,” as a unique developmental phase within the female lifespan trajectory. Few areas in psychology have developed as slowly as research and theory about mothers themselves.
Qualitative and quantitative research methods are used to examine aspects of adaptation to pregnancy and parenting. Individual differences in psychological strengths that increase resilience are measured alongside clinical indicators of risk for psychological distress. Perinatal psychopathology is critically reexamined and normative developmental processes are elaborated.
Findings from this research support the rationale for the creation of a transdisciplinary field of Reproductive & Maternal Mental Health in which mothers are subjects of interest in their own right, in addition to their traditional role as functional agents of child development. The psychology of mothers remains largely unacknowledged in scholarly and clinical inquiry as the empathic thrust or curiosity has not historically leaned in their direction.
This laboratory aims to redress the lack of research into the “interiority” or subjectivity of women as they become mothers, and to elaborate the language they use to describe their experience. This work contributes to alternative discourses already underway in sister social science disciplines (e.g., nursing, social work, midwifery). A feminist-informed, spiritual framework highlights the gendered and socio-political context of motherhood while honoring the transformative and growth-producing dimensions of mothering. Real world application to treatment, community, and academic settings is emphasized. Our on-line news feed KHORAI is designed to disseminate trustworthy findings on reproductive and maternal well-being for the public.