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Views on motherhood nd mothering prctices hve chnged over the course of time. s socilly defined nd constntly reconstructed phenomenon, reserch hs documented tht views on motherhood nd mternl prctices hve followed their own "nturl history." These views hve been strongly shped by the circumstnces of time nd plce, scientific nd technologicl dvncement, nd socil nd economic developments (Hys, 1996:60).
In the period from 1950 to 1990, the unidimensionl identity of modern women ws replced by bidimensionl identity (Nicholson, 1997:380), phenomenon observed lso in other countries (Woodwrd, 1997:240). In generl, women's lbor force prticiption incresed drmticlly during the twentieth century, nd in recent yers, the continuity of women's creers hs lso risen.
Mny women becoming mothers now hve greter occsion to develop nd vest themselves in nonfmilil identities thn did women in the pst. But mny of the culturl chnges tht hve ccompnied economic nd demogrphic chnges mke the question of how to live s n dult problemtic in new wys for such women. Prentl roles re no longer tken to define the mening of womn's dult life or of couple's reltionship. Current culturl rhetorics of individulism men tht, mong the middle clss, it is no longer pproprite for dults to scrifice themselves for their spouses or their children; insted the individul is offered culturl imges of self-reliztion nd of "finding one's self" s guides to identity nd the mening of life. Such chnges in the menings of womnhood nd motherhood, however, re contested. Kaplan (1984:112) points out tht conflict over the socil representtion of motherhood s optionl rther thn centrl in women's lives lies t the hert of the politicl debtes on bortion in the United Sttes.
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