The transition to motherhood is a challenging period that entails not only multiple stresses, but also the potential for personal growth. This study examined mothers’ personal growth up to two years following the birth of their first child, investigating the contribution of the child’s perceived characteristics and three sources of perceived support, as well as the possibility that the connection between support and personal growth is mediated by perception of the infant. Israeli mothers (n = 511) completed self-report questionnaires. Positive associations were found between higher perception of the infant as warm, lower perception of the infant as invasive, and higher perceived support from all sources. Moreover, path analysis revealed that higher perceived support from family and a significant other was associated with higher perception of the infant as warm, which in turn was related to higher personal growth. The findings highlight both the direct value of support from various sources and its ability to promote a more positive perception of the child, along with the role of new mothers’ perception of their infant in facilitating the experience of personal growth. Practitioners should therefore pay attention both to mothers’ assets and to risk factors for a negative interpretation of the child’s behavior.
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- Perception of infant
- Personal growth
- Social support