Based on online semi-structured interviews with middle-class and expectant mothers living in Western Europe (France, Spain, United Kingdom, and Switzerland), this study analyses how motherhood has been experienced and performed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article reflects on the articulation between particular new risk assessments and responsibility in a pandemic by showing women's coping strategies concerning measures of lockdowns or public health regulations. Using a Covid-19 lens also allows a broader analysis of middle-class families’ concerns about performing good motherhood. Through the discrepancies between women’s expected and actual experiences, the prescriptive aspects of pregnancy, delivery and the post-partum phase are highlighted and analysed, prompting us to consider parenting as a form of doing and proving. By underlying the importance attached to the expectant mother's well-being, the partner's involvement, the support of the relatives and the future socialisation of the baby, we argue that women face a myriad of imperatives to ensure a meaningful experience of motherhood.

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Jullien, C. & Jeffery, R. 2022, 'Becoming a mother in COVID-19: Adjustments in performing motherhood', Medicine Anthropology Theory, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.17157/mat.9.2.5310

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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