When couples make the journey through their first year of parenthood they confront the challenges of their new responsibilities with varying degrees of support and a range of personal resources. When Couples Become Parents examines the ways in which divisions based on gender both evolve and are challenged by heterosexual couples from late pregnancy through early parenthood.
Following the experiences of forty heterosexual couples in various socio-economic positions, Bonnie Fox traces the intricate interplay of social and material resources in the negotiations that occur between partners, the resulting divisions of paid and unpaid work in their families, and the dynamics in their relationships. Exploring the diverse reactions of these women and men, When Couples Become Parents provides significant insights into the early stages of parenthood, the limitations of nuclear families, and the gender inequalities that often develop with parenthood.
‘When Couples become Parents offers many interesting insights that support, refute, or perhaps further refine theoretical concepts central to the sociology of gender and of the family. Fox offers a refreshing focus on how gender can be “undone”.’
‘Fox beautifully captures the remarkable changes occurring in women’s, and to a lesser extent, men’s lives and relationships upon the birth of a baby. Throughout, she masterfully portrays respondents’ stories of the emotional and practical transformation of life post-baby… Fox has greatly advanced the literature on gender and parenting through When Couples Become Parents.’
‘Fox does a superb job of tracing the changing amount and type of care that men and women provide for each other throughout the transitional period to parenthood — Scholars interested in parenthood and gender will appreciate the strong methodology, nuanced analysis, and theoretical contributions of the study — In addition by highlighting the importance of how career accomplishments and economic resources can shape a couple’s negotiation of family responsibilities, Fox illuminates important work-family intersections.’