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Notes

1. I have previously studied the same data from different points of view: 1) the construction of motherhood in situations in which women's children have been taken into care, 2) identity variation in motherhood when dealing with social workers in child welfare services, and 3) the childhood experiences of mothers. In the different sub-studies, different parts of the data have been analyzed.

2. The interviewees are referred to as daughter 1 (D1), daughter 2 (D2), etc. based on the order they first appear in the text. In the extracts the interviewer is referred to as “I”. Slashes refer to breaks in the speech, a short break, less than one second, is shown as one slash, /, and two slashes, //, mean a longer break. Empty parentheses, (), refer to unclear speech. Square brackets, [ ], between speakers show overlapping speech between the interviewer and interviewee, while within the text, they show implied concepts that might be necessary in order to follow the direction of the speech. The interviews were conducted in Finnish. The extracts have been translated into English in a manner allowing for the original form to be preserved as much as possible.

3. Ribbens (1994) has studied middle-class mothers' 'own voices' as they talked about their children. Her interest was in the ideologies and meanings within her interviewees' accounts of their concrete practices with their kids rather than getting 'a true picture of what they really did or thought about what they did with their children'. She found several ways in which women described their mothers as important to them. Grandmothers were seen as the most appropriate substitute carers if husbands were not available; they could be an important source of female company, a resource available during the day when things were going wrong or just someone to share childbearing concerns with (Ribbens 1994, 79).

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