On the assumption that existential questions may arise in the face of the transition to motherhood in the shadow of a global crisis, we sought to compare the levels of presence of meaning and search for meaning in life between two samples of new mothers: one recruited before the outbreak of COVID-19, and the other during the pandemic. In addition, we examined the associations between mother's marital satisfaction and perception of the infant on the one hand, and the two aspects of meaning in life on the other, investigating whether these variables mediate the link between research group and meaning in life. The results indicate that mothers reported significantly higher perception of infant's warmth and presence of meaning before than during the pandemic. Furthermore, they displayed greater marital satisfaction and more search for meaning during the pandemic than prior to it. For the whole sample, higher marital satisfaction and perception of infant’s warmth were related to higher presence of meaning, and lower marital satisfaction and perception of the infant's invasiveness were related to higher search for meaning. Finally, mother's marital satisfaction and perception of the infant fully mediated the relationship between the research group and the two aspects of meaning in life. These findings are significant in that they provide, for the first time, evidence of changes in meaning in life among new mothers in a crisis situation, along with the importance of their perceptions of their relationships with the infant and spouse under these circumstances.
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- Marital satisfaction
- Meaning in life
- Perception of the infant