Constructing the (m)other
Dominant and contested narratives on mothering a child with Down syndrome
This qualitative study explored the ways in which mothers of children with Down syndrome interpreted their experiences of motherhood. The narratives of 19 mothers were analyzed. The findings indicate that their identities as mothers were negotiated in the context of the sociocultural meaning of disability and dominant narratives on motherhood. In institutional and interpersonal discourses, they became positioned as other. Their narratives shed light on their resistance to otherness, their contextualized understanding of mothering a child with Down syndrome, and the ways in which they negotiated access to the constructed category of normative motherhood. The study suggests that a conceptual shift is needed in understanding the familial experience of raising a child with Down syndrome. Moving away from assumptions of negative outcomes for these families, professionals need to acknowledge the embeddedness of their experiences in sociocultural beliefs and practices that devalue children with disabilities.
Keywords: families, Down syndrome, children with disabilities, family-professional partnerships, motherhood, attitudes towards disability
Published online: 05 January 2012
Cited by 20 other publications
Connor, David J. & Diane Berman
Counselman-Carpenter, Elisabeth A.
Fisher, Marni E. & Kimiya Sohrab Maghzi
Gabel, Susan L. & Kathy Kotel
Gokgoz, Cagla & Kamile Kabukcuoglu
Knight, Amber & Joshua Miller
Lowenstein, Elisabeth & Darolyn “Lyn” Jones
Maghzi, Kimiya Sohrab & Marni E. Fisher
Polzer, Jessica, Francesca V. Mancuso & Debbie Laliberte Rudman
Smith, Sharon & Kieron Smith
Trzebiński, Jerzy, Agnieszka Wołowicz-Ruszkowska & Adrian Dominik Wójcik
Wardell, S., R.P. Fitzgerald, M. Legge & K. Clift
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 10 april 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.