Couples’ Transitions to Parenthood

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This book argues that new parents are caught in an uncomfortable crossfire between two competing discourses: those around ideal relationships and those around ideal parenting. The author suggests that parents are pressured to be equal partners while also being asked to parent their children intensively, in ways markedly more demanding of mothers. Reconciling these ideals has the potential to create resentment and disappointment. Drawing on research with couples in London as they became parents, the book points to the social pressures at play in raising the next generation at material, physiological and cultural levels. Chapters explore these levels through concrete practices: birth, feeding and sleeping—three of the most highly moralised areas of contemporary parenting culture.

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