Envisioning motherhood: Mental-state language in caregiving narratives across the perinatal period: Mental-state language in caregiving narratives across the perinatal period

Helena J.V. Rutherford, Tal Yatziv, Matthew Vess, Rebecca J. Brooker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nancy Suchman's work highlighted the fundamental role of maternal mentalization in maternal addiction, mental health, and caregiving challenges. In this study, we aimed to examine the role of mental-state language (MSL) as a measure of mentalization in prenatal and postnatal narratives and their sentiment in a sample of 91 primarily White mothers from the western United States, followed from the second trimester of pregnancy, through the third trimester, to 4 months postpartum. Specifically, we investigated the use of affective and cognitive MSL in prenatal narratives when mothers visualized caring for their baby and postnatal narratives when mothers compared their prenatal visualization to the current caregiving reality. Results indicated moderate consistency in MSL between the second and third trimesters, but prenatal and postnatal MSL was not significantly correlated. Across all time points, higher use of MSL was related to more positive sentiment, indicating an association between mentalization and positive caregiving representations across the perinatal period. Women used more affective than cognitive MSL in prenatal imagination of caregiving, but this pattern was reversed in their postpartum reflection. Implications on assessing parental mentalization prenatally and considering the relative dominance of affective and cognitive mentalizing are discussed while considering study limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-227
Number of pages10
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Mentalisierung
  • Narrative
  • Schwangerschaft
  • Sprache bezüglich mentaler Zustände
  • embarazo
  • grossesse
  • langage d’état mental
  • lenguaje del estado mental
  • mental-state language
  • mentalisation
  • mentalización
  • mentalization
  • narrations
  • narrativas
  • narratives
  • postpartal
  • postparto
  • postpartum
  • pregnancy
  • الكلمات الرئيسية: التصور العقلي، لغة الحالة العقلية، الروايات، الحمل، ما بعد الولادة
  • メンタライゼーション、心理状態を表すことば、ナラティブ、妊娠、産後
  • 产后
  • 关键词:心智化
  • 叙事
  • 心理状态语言
  • 怀孕

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Envisioning motherhood: Mental-state language in caregiving narratives across the perinatal period: Mental-state language in caregiving narratives across the perinatal period'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this