Volume 36, Issue 3 p. 226-232

Becoming a Mother Versus Maternal Role Attainment

First published: 02 September 2004
Citations: 471

Ramona T. Mercer, RN, PhD, FAAN, Alpha Eta, Professor Emerita, Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco. Correspondence to Dr. Mercer, 1809 Ashton Avenue, Burlingame, CA 94010. E-mail: [email protected]


Purpose : To present evidence for replacing the term maternal role attainment (MRA), with becoming a mother (BAM).

Methods : A review of the evolution of MRA and a synthesis of research emanating from the theory was done, followed by synthesis of current research on the transition to motherhood.

Findings : A woman establishes maternal identity as she becomes a mother through her commitment to and involvement in defining her new self. Maternal identity continues to evolve as the mother acquires new skills to regain her confidence in self as new challenges arise.

Conclusions : BAM more accurately encompasses the dynamic transformation and evolution of a woman's persona than does MRA, and the term MRA should be discontinued.