A1 Journal article (refereed)
“Equally, but in our own way” : First-time parents’ prenatal expectations of coparenting (2023)

Ranta, M., Böök, M. L., Paloniemi, S., & Rönkä, A. (2023). “Equally, but in our own way” : First-time parents’ prenatal expectations of coparenting. Journal of Family Studies, 29(3), 1061-1081. https://doi.org/10.1080/13229400.2021.2023609

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ranta, Minna; Böök, Marja Leena; Paloniemi, Susanna; Rönkä, Anna

Journal or series: Journal of Family Studies

ISSN: 1322-9400

eISSN: 1839-3543

Publication year: 2023

Publication date: 20/01/2022

Volume: 29

Issue number: 3

Pages range: 1061-1081

Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis

Publication country: Australia

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13229400.2021.2023609

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79454


This study examined the expectations of expectant first-time parents on coparenting in a Finnish two-parent family. Thirty expectant couples were individually interviewed (N = 60) during the third trimester of pregnancy. The semi-structured interviews focused on participants’ expectations and hopes on future coparenting. Thematic analysis revealed that the expectant first-time mothers and fathers saw coparenting as multidimensional. They talked about coparenting in terms of 1) division of labour issues, 2) management of family dynamics, 3) childrearing agreement, 4) coparental support, and 5) learning and developing. Thus, the expectant couples hoped for a coparenting relationship in which both parents become experts in parenting. Ideally, coparenting involves mutual respect, equality, flexibility, and consideration for the other parent. Coparenting was also seen as an opportunity to grow and learn together in the parenting and coparenting process, e.g. finding one’s own way both as a parent and as a couple and giving space to the other parent. While the expectant first-time parents expressed optimistic hopes and ideals about coparenting, they also raised concerns and challenges regarding interparental collaboration. The findings are discussed from the viewpoint of further elaborating and developing Feinberg’s (2003) model of the internal structure of coparenting.

Keywords: parenthood; parents; families; family life; couple relationship; pregnancy; expectations; transitional phase; mothers; fathers; roles (expected behaviour); equality (values)

Free keywords: coparenting; first-time parent; pregnancy; expectations; transition to parenthood; qualitative research

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 11:50