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Decontextualizing motherhood : experiences of mothers with serious mental illness and the response of the professional system Nathoo, Tasnim

Abstract

As more women with mental illness have the opportunity to become parents, there has been growing recognition that mental illness may present unique challenges to parenting. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the experiences of mothers with serious mental illness and identify the factors at the family, service, policy, and societal levels that women perceived as influencing their experiences. This study used a grounded theory approach and collected interview data from mothers with serious mental illness (n=9). Findings from the study suggest that women's identity as a mother and the support they receive as a result of their mothering role can positively influence the mental health of mothers with mental illness. The study highlighted the interconnected collection of factors that codetermine the structure of mother's lives, hi particular, it examined how the professional system, including the health care, mental health, and child welfare systems, is involved with and influences the experiences of mothers with mental illness.

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