Maternal Expectations Among Pregnant Women from Single, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Parented families

Rotem Kahalon*, Heidi Preis, Guy Shilo, Yael Benyamini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known about the psychological processes of pregnant women in different family structures. Aiming to fill this gap, the present study examined the prenatal maternal expectations (common cultural beliefs about what women can expect during the transition to motherhood) of women from lesbian (n = 51), single (n = 57), and heterosexual (n = 893) parented families. The results suggest that maternal expectations differ by family structure. While single women reported relatively high levels of natural-fulfillment maternal expectations, women from lesbian parented families reported relatively low levels of these expectations. Single women reported the highest levels of sacrifice (a belief that parenting requires significant sacrifices from the self) and infant-reflects-mothering maternal expectations (a belief that the infant’s behavior reflects one’s maternal skills). These differences may reflect the different social pressures and personal challenges each group encounters in the process of deciding to become a mother and implementing the decision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863 –880
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Maternal expectations
  • lesbian women
  • pregnancy
  • prenatal expectations
  • same-sex families
  • single mothers
  • transition to motherhood


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