Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Mothers-Psychology, Husband and wife, Intimacy (Psychology), Sex (Psychology), Mother and child, Motherhood-Psychological aspects.


This qualitative study explored first time mothers' feelings about physical and emotional intimacy twelve to fifteen (12-15) months the birth of a first child. It also looked to understand what factors mothers thought would improve intimacy with their partners during this time period. The transition to parenthood prompted a change in many mothers' feelings about intimacy and changes in their relationship with their husbands and themselves. Twelve mothers' who had their first child twelve to fifteen (12-15) months ago, who were married for at least two years participated in the study. All participants answered open-ended interview questions focusing on the following topics: 1) who met mothers' physical and emotional intimacy needs 2) how their physical and intimacy needs were met 3) how their physical and emotional intimacy needs changed since the birth of their child and 4) what ways they would improve either physical or emotional intimacy with their partners. Six participants were asked two additional questions: 5) in what ways does your child contribute to your feelings of intimacy and 6) in your partnership, whose responsibility is it to make the changes to improve intimacy? The findings showed mothers' physical intimacy needs were met by their husband, child and family unit (husband and child). And, mothers' emotional intimacy needs were met by their husband, child, friends, family and herself. The findings also showed that feelings of physical intimacy needs changed after the birth of her child while mothers' feelings of emotional intimacy needs did not change. Many mothers also stated that sharing more adult activities together as a couple would improve physical intimacy and increased communication would improve emotional intimacy. These findings help inform partners, families, social workers, and other service providers about the feelings of physical and emotional intimacy that mothers experience twelve to fifteen months after the birth of a first child.




iii, 46 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibloigraphical references (p. 39-42)