Fiona Nelson

University of Calgary

Fiona Nelson is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Calgary. She is the author of Lesbian Motherhood: An Exploration of Canadian Lesbian Families (UTP 1996), short-listed for the Henry Kreisel Best First Book Award by the Writers Guild of Alberta. In addition to motherhood, her areas of interest include sex/gender/sexuality and feminist research methodologies.

  • In the Other Room

    Entering the Culture of Motherhood

    By Fiona Nelson     March 2009

    Becoming a mother impacts every aspect of a woman’s life. Often, it is other mothers with whom a new mother is able to articulate, debate and negotiate dimensions of her mothering experiences, from the physical/social aspects of pregnancy, through the daily work of new mothering, to the competing cultural constructions of motherhood. A diverse group of first-time mothers discussed and examined their experiences with what many have called “the mommies’ club.” Through interactions among mothers, information, resources and advice are shared; hierarchies of authority within the community of mothers are established; and women are given opportunities to explore and construct their maternal identities, for example, through the sharing of birth stories. This study reveals how essential, valuable and complex are mothers’ connections with other mothers, and yet also how wrought and ambivalent these relationships can be.