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No 11 - 2009

The paternal experience surrounding the birth of a child: social contexts and professional practices
Directed by Carl Lacharité

The Paternal Experience Surrounding Birth from a Social Discourse Perspective
Carl Lacharité

In this text I address the question of the paternal experience during the period surrounding the birth of a child, as a means of introducing the four articles dealing with this subject. We begin with a sociohistorical contextualization that allows us to first situate current concerns involving fathers, paternal identity and paternal commitment, and subsequently demonstrates how these concerns are directly linked with contemporary transformations affecting families and identities in western society. We then look at the origins of the idea that during the period surrounding the birth of their child, fathers, just like mothers, go through a personal experience, (where does the idea come from that fathers experience such a transition?) and examine the form of social discourse that accompanies it (how is this paternal experience put into words?) more especially in those professional and institutional contexts that are there to provide perinatal care and services. The text concludes with a brief description of the content of the four articles.


Paternity in the Context of Maternal Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Pauline Morissette, Annie Devault

Despite a significant number of studies dealing with the theme of Parenthood, alcohol and drugs, the role of the paternal partner of consumer mothers has been neglected. The material presented in this article is taken from a Quebec qualitative study involving twenty fathers and twenty parturients with psychoactive substance abuse problems, and covers meetings with them at two different times. Our objective is to provide a sociodemographic profile of the parents, of maternal consumption in the pre-natal months, of previous and current paternal consumption levels, together with a number of key elements associated with the parental and conjugal experience of the fathers, both in the context of maternal consumption and of the parental consumer pattern.


Paternity in Migratory Context: A Comparative Study of the Experience of Paternal Engagement and the Construction of the Paternal Identity of First- and Second-Generation Immigrants from the Maghreb
Christine Gervais, Francine De Montigny, Salima Azaroual, Anne Courtois

During the transitional period preceding parenthood, fathers have to face up to two main challenges: the development of their paternal identity, and their commitment to fatherhood. When it comes to immigrant fathers, there are added and specific, though still little known, challenges as regards the construction of their paternal identities. Objective: This comparison of the results of two qualitative studies is intended to describe the paternal commitment and the process of constructing a paternal identity, as experienced by fathers of North-African origin. Methodology: The data was gathered in the course of semistructured interviews with six first- generation North-African fathers, immigrants to Quebec, and six second-generation North-African fathers resident in Belgium. Results: The fathers from both groups are involved with their children and have in common factors that facilitate or obstruct the construction of their paternal identities. Recommendations are made with regard to clinical practice, training and research.


The Perception of Paternal Identity in the Postnatal Period According to the Type of Prenatal Follow-Up
Ariane Normand, Marty Laforest, Francine De Montigny

This article looks at the question of the father’s place in the prenatal follow-through context and the effect this may have on his attitudes during the postnatal period. Thus, the choice of the health professional who will be monitoring the pregnancy, whether a physician or a midwife has consequences that goes beyond the delivery room, medication or even how the mother is affected; it also impacts the development of paternal identity. We will observe how fathers see themselves and position themselves in the family cycle according to the prenatal follow-through in which they have been involved.


Between the Midwife and the Father, Co-Constructed Spaces: An Exploratory Study
Marleen Baker, Jean-Marie Miron, Francine De Montigny

Few studies describe the practice of midwives as it is implemented in the Province of Quebec in Canada. Furthermore, few studies describe midwifery in relation to men as men, as spouses of mothers, and as fathers of infants. How are men and fathers present in the practices and discourses of Quebec midwives? Based on 23 in-depth interviews of midwives working in birth centers, this study analyses their representations of fathers and of their relationship with them. Results show that midwives organize their relationships with fathers in terms of the space between and around them. There is a co-construction of space within which fathers, mothers and midwives are acting and reflecting together. The discussion underlines the outcomes of the study in terms of the conceptualization of the psychosocial aspects of the Quebec approach to the practice of midwifery.


Education and Recognition in the Works of Françoise Dolto
A. Reis Monteiro

Recognition has become a rallying standard, representative of many anti-discrimination battles and a subject-program of transdisciplinary research and debates. Its heuristic value in the field of education has hardly been explored. In the present text we establish the relationship between education and “recognition” as demonstrated in the psychoanalytical theorization of Françoise Dolto. Her thinking and her publications are both underpinned by her belief in the humanizing value of inter-human recognition, in which education stands as a primordial issue. It is a thinking process that informs the values and principles of the ethical right to education, in compliance with international educational law.


Portrait of Paraprofessionals Working with Families in Difficult Situations: Their Motivations and Commitment Profile
Louise Bourassa, Jean-Marie Miron, Carl Lacharité

This study, which has an ethnographically-based standpoint, deals with the factors of motivation and the supervisory needs of auxiliary health workers overseeing families suffering from negligent behaviour practices. Meetings took place with sixteen auxiliaries and four lead persons in semi-structured interviews and participant observations. The results include three major motivation factors (enhancement of the auxiliaries’ self esteem, the support with which they are provided and their relationship with the family assisted) to which are added four profiles of commitment based on the nature of the relationship and of the auxiliary’s expectations with respect to the assisted family. Certain avenues are explored in relation to motivations and supervisory needs, more especially regarding the importance to be given to those with whom the auxiliaries associate professionally, and the advantages and drawbacks of each profile.