Embodiment during the postpartum period: How bodily experience shapes parent’s understanding

Julia Ayana Zaides, Einat Shuper Engelhard, Dita Federman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the postpartum period, the bond with the infant is starting to take shape, as the emotional world of the mother is being formed by the bodily experiences. The current study uses the mother’s point of view to describe how psycho-physical experiences shape the process of becoming a mother. A qualitative-phenomenological approach was taken, and 12 first-time mothers were documented through a semi-constructed interview, and a recall interview. Results indicated, referring to the beginning of motherhood, that: (1) bodily sensations have powerful and surprising meanings for mothers, (2) physical identification with the infant constitutes a platform for awareness about the infant, and (3) conflicting bodily experiences stimulate difficulty and joy simultaneously. The findings deepen the understanding of the way bodily experiences shape the satisfaction from being a parent. The importance of the mother awareness to physical processes and to the connection between them and mental processes is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-165
Number of pages16
JournalBody, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Bodily expression
  • becoming a mother
  • embodiment
  • postpartum period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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