Motherhood in contemporary Ireland - experiences and motivations of having first child during global economic crisis

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Tarent, Kinga
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the below study was to explore and examine motivations and experiences of motherhood in Ireland in the face of global economic crisis. Ireland is exceptional country in EU with the highest birth rate. The 2008 we saw baby boom in Ireland, while year before Irish economy was one of the worst affected by global economic crisis worldwide. Past studies and researches suggests that unemployment and a decline in economic prosperity are likely, based on past trends, to lead people to delay having children, rather than opposite. Thus the main research questions were as following: what is/are the reason(s) of baby boom in Ireland which started after economic crisis in 2007? How/if the economic crisis had an impact on decision making or is it only a coincidence? What kind of emotions and experience accompany with motherhood? A qualitative methodology was employed using a semi-structured interview. Four participants were interviewed, three were from Malahide and one from Tallaght area, all were females who had a child between years 2007-2011, and were at age of early thirties. After deep analysis the four key themes emerged: economic factor not directly affecting people decision to have a baby, psycho-social factor (mainly peer group pressure) impacting decision, motherhood experience (as a huge life change, happiness and learning experience) and the mothers’ professional career situation (women disadvantaged/discriminated against, need of sacrifice). The main limitation of this study was the small sample and limited data, due to the difficulty of finding women willing to spare 30 min of their busy lives on interview. Further research would need to be done in order to illustrate better Irish baby boom phenomenon. Also 5 because the sample was very specific, future research would benefit if sample would represent people from different social class, backgrounds, environment etc. Also it is important to remember that, in decision making process fathers have very important role, as women are not making decision on their own, therefore future research could take fathers into consideration. Author keywords: Motherhood, economic crisis, peer group pressure