Romanticizing pregnancy: When motherhood becomes a malady

Dauda Busari*, Juliet Amarachukwu Nwafor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regarding treasures, babies emerge as divine gifts, exuding beauty that transcends words. Their delicate features and tender innocence evoke an indescribable admiration. However, understanding the physiological and biological processes that go into giving birth makes it clear that childbirth is traumatic. But why do women make childbirth and motherhood strolls in the park? Is there a fear, perhaps, that being honest diminishes the beauty of being a mother? Can the two things not be true—that it is traumatic to give birth and beautiful to bring a human being into the world? In romanticizing this process, is society not setting parameters for the shunning and shaming of women who experience problems like post-partum depression or even post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from childbirth? Is the romanticized narrative around childbirth and even motherhood, not a foundation on which shaming women who dare to say “I wanted to die rather than go through the birth” or “I want a break from my child” is built? This qualitative study investigated 64 mothers and would-be mothers in Lagos State about their pregnancy expectations. Mothers, drawn from a mix of socioeconomic ethnic and backgrounds agreed that truths and realities about pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood are often masked or infrequently discussed in the motherhood narrative. It is also common to hear mothers speak about how great their children are, and rarely can one ever hear women talk about traumas of childbirth that are dangerous and have significant effects or impact on women’s quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Early online date19 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Dec 2023


  • motherhood
  • Nigeria
  • postnatal
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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