Daughters and their mothers: The reproduction of pronatalist discourses across generations

Clare Bartholomaeus, Damien Riggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The expectation that all women will become mothers, and that they will mother in particular ways, has been a focus of feminist attention for many decades. What has been less considered is how pronatalist discourses are reproduced across generations within the same family. This article draws on interviews with five pairs of white middle class daughters currently planning to have children and their mothers living in South Australia, in order to examine the ways in which mother-daughter relationships are a key site for the reproduction of pronatalist discourses. Three recurring themes are examined: 1) expectations mothers have of their daughters to have children, 2) (grand)mothers as advice-givers, and 3) generational differences relating to paid work combined with the continued privileging of mothering. The article concludes with a discussion of the ways in which pronatalist discourses are mobilised in mother-daughter relationships, and how these position women in relation to motherhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Daughter
  • Generation
  • Mother
  • Mothering
  • Parenting
  • Pronatalism


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