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Publication - Dr Jonathan Ives

    Men, maternity and moral residue

    negotiating the moral demands of the transition to first time fatherhood

    Citation

    Ives, JCS, 2014, ‘Men, maternity and moral residue: negotiating the moral demands of the transition to first time fatherhood’. Sociology of Health and Illness, vol 36., pp. 1003-1019

    Abstract

    This article discusses men's transition to first time fatherhood, with a focus on the way they recognise various in-tension moral demands and negotiate an appropriate role for themselves. The findings are taken from a longitudinal study, drawing on elements of grounded theory, comprising a series of face-to-face and telephone interviews with 11 men over a 9-month period from the 12(th) week of pregnancy to 8 weeks after the birth. The analysis focuses on men's feelings and experience of exclusion and participation, and their response and reaction to that experience. The findings present two descriptive themes, 'on the inside looking in' and 'present but not participating', followed by third theme 'deference and support: a moral response' that exposes the dilemmatic nature of men's experience and explains the participants' apparent acceptance of being less involved. The discussion explores the concept of moral residue, arguing that while deference and support may be an appropriate role for fathers in the perinatal period it may also be a compromise that leads to feelings of uncertainty and frustration, which is a consequence of being in a genuinely dilemmatic situation.

    Full details in the University publications repository