Transition to Parenthood



The transition to parenthood is a life-changing event that creates new responsibilities and shifting roles as new parents try to meet the demands that come with having a new baby at home. In this chapter I review the literature on the transition to parenthood and examine some of the common and unique experiences of biracial couples across this important life stage. I discuss the individual changes that both fathers and mothers experience in their new roles and identify the similarities and differences reported by new parents in biracial relationships. I pay particular attention to the presence of societal expectations across genders and race/ethnicity groups. I also discuss how the couple’s relationship is impacted by this life transition and the importance of coparenting, especially among biracial couples, who can experience stressors such as microaggression. Through narratives from the experiences of biracial couples, I share how the stressors of discrimination can make the transition to parenthood even more challenging for biracial couples than for their monoracial counterparts. I identify the additional strain experienced by biracial couples as they try to support one another through experiences of prejudice. I address how individual families’ experiences differ even when their biracial unions are similar, and what factors contribute to these differences. I conclude the chapter with implications for best practices for professionals working with biracial couples as they become parents and a discussion of future research needs.


Transition to parenthood Biracial couples Monoracial couples Family life stage Crisis Normative life event Relationship satisfaction Relationship conflict Well-being Traditional gender roles Gender role attitudes Actual role enactments Father involvement Coparenting Nonresidential fathers Pregnancy intention Unrealistic exceptions Childcare Microaggression Family support 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family and Consumer SciencesCalifornia State University Long BeachLong BeachUSA

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