So Many Challenges, So Many Regrets: Motherhood Decisions of Career-Oriented Women

Yılmaz B. K., Uçel E. B., Dalkılıç O. S.

Gender Issues, vol.41, no.2, 2024 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12147-024-09326-8
  • Journal Name: Gender Issues
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, ABI/INFORM, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Gender Studies Database, Index Islamicus, Psycinfo, Religion and Philosophy Collection, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Violence & Abuse Abstracts
  • Keywords: Career-oriented mothers, Gender bias, Motherhood coalition, Motherhood decisions, Motherhood penalty
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


This study aims to examine and understand the motherhood decisions of career-oriented women who are well-educated, well-paid, and up the corporate ladder in Türkiye. A qualitative research design was preferred due to the nature of the study and in-depth interviews and descriptive content analysis were employed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 career-oriented working mothers. The findings of the study have revealed that mothers regret many decisions they made to protect their careers, jobs and families (mainly babies) during this process. In addition, for all of these women, the motherhood decision appeared to be a trade-off between their career goals and motherhood wishes, at least for a period of time. Some have given up on their career progress for a certain period, some have faced the negative attitudes of the institutions they work for, like “ignoring their motherhood experience and their babies”, and others have been forced to pretend as if they were “not mothers” so that their careers would not be impaired. The study also concluded that women who struggle with the difficulties of being a mother in organizational life support each other more with a silent coalition which we call “a motherhood coalition”. Future research may focus on the reproductive decision processes and motherhood experiences of blue-collar women, as they can be quite different from career-oriented white-collar women’s experiences.