First Baby, First Year: Gratitude and Emotional Approach Coping as Predictors of Adjustment and Life Satisfaction during the Transition to Motherhood

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Becoming a mother is one of the most common major life transitions, with approximately 82% of the population of women in the United States having given birth by the age of 45. Although becoming a mother is generally thought of as a positive experience, the transition to parenthood can also present many challenges. This study examined the postpartum transition of 152 first-time mothers. Utilizing the stress and coping model, this study explored the role of gratitude and emotional approach coping on postpartum distress, postpartum adjustment, and life satisfaction. Data were collected using an online survey, and correlations, regression analyses, and mediation analyses were run. The findings revealed that women who reported higher levels of both gratitude and emotional approach coping also reported better postpartum adjustment, greater life satisfaction, and less postpartum distress. The health of both the mother and the baby also predicted better postpartum outcomes for mothers.