This thesis explores how young professional lesbian and heterosexual women perceive the challenges of motherhood. The scholarship on motherhood tends to focus primarily on women who are becoming mothers or women who have children. This project explores how queer and heterosexual young women understand motherhood, and how they see themselves within the institution. I will examine how sexuality shaped this conception, in addition to other intersectional identities such as race and class. This study begins with a look at the differences and similarities in scholarship on heterosexual motherhood and lesbian motherhood. I then turn to a discussion of identity formation through a theoretical lens. By putting these theories in conversation with each other, I seek to understand how the formation of women’s identity affects how they perceive their potential future role as mothers. To pursue these questions, I conducted fifteen interviews with gay and straight young professional women in their senior year of college and women who have graduated in the past two years. By analyzing their responses in relationship to the literature I review and theories I outline, I reflect on how young professional lesbians and heterosexual women perceive motherhood, and their role in motherhood.


Kock, Stacia

Second Advisor

Craven, Christa


Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Gina M. Christo