Stephanie Wright, Psy.D., is a 2016 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee:

  • Suzanne Engelberg, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Dana Waters, Psy.D., Committee Member
  • Andrea O'Reilly, Ph.D., Committee Chair


early motherhood, early mothering, new mothers, first time mothers, mothering practices, parenting practices, scientism, neoliberalism, patriarchy, working mothers, maternal intuition, maternal thinking, Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, qualitative

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History has shown, time and again, that parenting practices in America change in the face of important social, political, cultural and ideological transitions. Such influences are often concealed, but nonetheless greatly impact not only the way mothers parent their children but also how they think of themselves in their mothering role. Historical and feminist scholars have helped to elucidate how broad historical legacies and current ideologies, such as patriarchy, capitalism, neoliberalism, and feminism itself, continue to shape dominant discursive understandings about motherhood. Using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, eight first time mothers from mostly white, middle class, educated and full time working lifestyles were interviewed to explore their experiences with developing a parenting practice, particularly in the face of numerous saturated cultural influences. Results revealed that participants were most likely to seek advice from close trusted peers, they were unlikely to seek or receive advice from their own parents, they tended to only trust the advice of patient-centered healthcare professionals, and their experiences and understandings of mothering were implicitly shaped by the forces of patriarchy, neoliberalism, and scientism, as well as their own intuitive maternal thinking. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, and Ohio Link ETD Center,


Stephanie Wright, Psy.D., 2016.

ORCID Scholar #0000-0002-4436-9817