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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.