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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The impact of a difficult birth on mothering over time Rollison, Lynn


Existing literature about childbirth does not clearly address the relationship between women’s experiences of “difficult birth” and the meanings women create from those events. This research focuses on women who identified they experienced a difficult birth, as opposed to a traumatic birth a topic that has received some attention. The experiences of 12 women and how a difficult birth affects the mother and how she creates meaning about it over time were explored. I focus on the women’s perceptions about their ability to mother and on the relationship between the infant and the family. The women’s stories are analyzed through ethnographic-informed methods with a feminist perspective. The absence of information about women’s experience of difficult birthing and their subsequent mothering is due to the silencing of their voice and a lack of investigation into their concerns during childbirth. This research identifies six themes common to the women’s stories: health care professionals who have the dominant or authorial voice; hospital staff, who share little or no information with the women about their care; women, who are made to feel inadequate by HCPs; women, who experience an absence or a lack of care or assessment; significant others who abandon the women; and, women who experience ethical situations concerning their own care and that of their infant. I conclude that mothering over time is deeply affected by the experience of difficult birth, despite the varied and diverse situations and the contexts of difficult births.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada