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Emotional expression of motherhood’s refusal: critical reflection of mothers’ experience


The main implication of this research is that the relinquishment of motherhood is socially constructed phenomenon. The idea of social constructionist is that all everyday reality’s knowledge is the consequence of social interactions given through language. The definition of motherhood has been changing during different periods of time. Traditionally it is related with gender and it is given the compulsory primal functions – child delivering and bearing. In the point of view of social constructionist this research aims to reveal how motherhood which has a strong gendered background can be constructed as a social phenomenon. The situation of women and motherhood is being critically explained by Marxist feminist theories which claim that motherhood is the characteristic of disempowered status. Women without children do not match the traditional societal expectations and women that relinquish their children are placed out of society. The aim of this article is to present discussion about emotional aspects of motherhood’s relinquishment experience. The object – the reflection of the motherhood’s relinquishment experience. The aim was reached by revealing what meanings of emotional experience the mother gives to the child relinquishment process. The qualitative research approach was chosen. Face to face semi-structured interviews with fragments of indepth interviews were used as data collection method. A grounded theory methodological strategy was chosen for the data analysis process. Six women who have relinquished a child have participated in the research. During the data analysis the main category as giving a better life for child (especially relevantly expressed by one research participant as “it will be better for him”) was revealed. Economical factors, positions of different participants and manifestation of emotions were interrelated in construction of the category. Looking at manifestation of emotions it was revealed that the relinquishment of motherhood during research process was constructed as a loss of a child that causes the long-term consequences. Feelings of guilt and shame were dominant and being blamed by others was interrelated with the research participants’ experience of relinquishment of motherhood as a ‘taboo’ theme. Invitation of mothers to talk about this ‘taboo‘ theme in their life was considered as liberating experience for women.


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