Changing Family Dynamics: Having a baby is an act of creation. Whether a woman parents her child as her mother raised her, or adopts a different style, becoming a mother provides an opportunity for a do-over. In a way, a woman gets to re-experience her own childhood in the act of parenting, repeating what was good, and trying to improve what was not.
Motherhood is no exception.
Fantasy vs. Reality : The psychoanalyst Joan Raphael-Leff, the head of the University College London Anna Freud Centre academic faculty for psychoanalytic research, explains that by the time the baby arrives, a woman has already developed feelings about her fantasy baby. As a pregnancy progresses, a woman creates a story about her make-believe child and becomes emotionally invested in that story. She has few needs of her own. But striving for perfection sets women up to feel shame and guilt. At times they are required to put their own needs over those of their child.
This is often the result of comparing yourself to an unrealistic, unattainable standard. Too many women are ashamed to speak openly about their complicated experiences for fear of being judged. This type of social isolation may even trigger postpartum depression. When women find themselves feeling lost somewhere between who they were before motherhood and who they think they should be now, many worry that something is terribly wrong, when in fact this discomfort is absolutely common.
In the April issue of Glamour magazine, the model Chrissy Teigen became the latest in a series of celebrities who announced her struggle with postpartum depression. She joined Adele, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brooke Shields and other prominent women who have used their platforms to call attention to this serious condition. Postpartum depression is an underdiagnosed and undertreated public health issue that affects 10 to 15 percent of mothers.
First-time mothers described the varying degrees of patience during childbirth. Little patience was experienced when giving birth did not go ahead, waiting for the staff to come or waiting for pain relief. Patience was needed when having to wait to have the vaginal rupture stitched after the birth. It took almost 1 hour before the anesthesiologist arrived, it was horrible having to wait so long W10 or It felt like it took 10 seconds before I got my EDA W6.
I felt the vaginal rupture, I was sewn with 15 stitches but it was no problem for me W7. The first two hours after the birth when I was sewn together, they were not funny W2. First-time mothers described a sense of strength to bear children, an experience without equal. A feeling of indescribable happiness occurred when the baby slipped out and the pain disappeared. They also described a sense of unreality that they had given birth, to have managed it as they never thought they could do and this gave them a feeling of power.
I understood not what it was that they added up to my stomach for something. The best thing was to get the little girl on my chest, but it is difficult to understand that we now have a child W7. The first-time mothers described that the feeling of trust is influenced by the environment in the maternity ward, tolerant, and peaceful atmosphere and the personal chemistry between the first time mothers and the midwives. To feel safe at home was important if the first-time mothers could stay quietly at home in the beginning of the labor.
If the first-time mothers felt nervousness and concern about being at home, she perceived insecurity. The first-time mothers described lower support from both the partner and the professionals when the birth was complicated. It felt good and I felt at once more secure W2. It ran a lot of people in the room. My partner could not stand there and support me and he seemed nervous and backed away from among the staff.
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As a result, I did not feel entirely safe W The first-time mothers described the presence of a midwife and the partner during childbirth as a positive feeling of support, it helped the first-time mothers to cope with the childbirth as well as they did. The staff was perceived as happy, really cute, lovely, nice, calm, competent, caring, and safe most of the time, but sometimes also as harsh, stressed, irritable, strict, and smelled bad of smoke.
A feeling of inadequate support was experienced when midwives were not present and did not help when the first-time mothers asked for it.
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If the first time mothers felt abandoned for a long time and not knowing what happened, it gave a sense of desperation. I felt such gratitude to my midwife, an assistant nurse and my partner of course, without them, I had not fixed it as good as I did W7. The first-time mothers described that there was a sense of responsiveness to be seen and heard of the professionals and in an opposite way a decreased sense of responsiveness occurred in some unexpected situations. Someone came in who actually talked to me W7. The midwife had the idea that I had to put me on my back. This I refused, I can not!
Then I realized that she was mad at me and she grabbed me from one side and the nurse from the other and forced to turn to me. It was very painful and dramatic for me W The first-time mothers wanted to be confirmed and seen as unique individuals by the professionals at their first childbirth. Inadequate support from the midwives could lead to negative birth experience. The first-time mothers could have a negative experience, although well supported by midwives, because of very severe pain or risk of medical complications. The results showed that individualized emotional support empowers the first-time mothers during their first birth and increases their chances for a positive birth experience, even if the birth was protracted or with medical complications.
Inadequate support from the midwives could lead to a negative birth experience. The women could have a negative experience, although well supported by midwives, because of very severe pain or the risk of medical complications. An empowerment approach means that the health care professionals should provide mothers with the information, expertise, support, and skills they need to enable an interactive participation [ 15 , 16 ].
If the mothers not planned to have medical pain relief, but did so because of severe pain, they experienced a defeat, whether the pain was relieved or if they experienced remained control. If the women in this study felt empowered, it affected their experience positively, unless medical interventions or not, which is in line with earlier research [ 15 , 16 ].
These results are also strengthen by earlier studies, which describe that mothers experience varying degrees of pain, anxiety, and panic during birth [ 21 ] the mothers ability to manage this, influence their self-confidence [ 1 ]. In these situations, it may be difficult to reach the women with information, and they may therefore feel that they are not involved.
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The results showed that the first-time mothers who either had a fast delivery process or received a request support of midwives and the partners had a positive childbirth experience. This result is confirmed by previous research [ 8 , 11 , 12 , 23 , 24 ]. Even those who had a long birth process had a positive experience if they got good support from the midwives and the partners. This differs from Nystedt describing how a prolonged delivery gives a negative experience and an insufficient power to give birth [ 10 ].
Goodman et al. Negative experiences can lead to women choosing caesarean section at the next delivery or abortion as a future desire [ 4 ]. Inadequate support from the professionals could lead to a negative birth experience where women felt abandoned, immobilized, and not prioritized by the professionals. According to Willman et al. Throughout the study, different steps were considered to enhance the trustworthiness of the study [ 26 ].
The transcripts from the first-time mothers were read through several times and were discussed, compared, and validated by the authors. The analysis was conducted carefully, and it is reasonable to assume that the phenomena under study are described from different perspectives, which provides credibility to the study.
The material consisted of 14 stories written by first-time mothers who have given birth to their first child, which was judged to give a sufficient amount of material to reach saturation.
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Since the first-time mothers were very willing to share their experiences of their first birth, a great amount of material was received to process. When first-time mothers wrote down their stories freely and openly, they showed profound descriptions of their experience and did not have to limit themselves to a survey or interview. Speziale Streubert and Carpenter describe the use of written narratives; it is important that the researcher is quite clear about what he would like participants to write about so that it meets the objective [ 27 ].
In this study, the aim was experienced clearly by the first-time mothers, due to their profound descriptions of their experiences and reflections of their first birth. Lundgren and Berg describe that there is no simple solution to give all women a positive childbirth experience [ 1 ]. When mothers feel that midwives respect them and listen to them as individuals, they will feel confident about the health care. Evidence-based knowledge around childbirth shows the importance of seeing childbirth as a normal life event; however, the focus in recent years has been on medical interventions, which is not in conformity with the evidence.
The goal of obstetric care should be a healthy mother and a healthy baby including a positive birth experience for the women, regardless of normality or complication. It is of importance that healthcare organization promotes an evidence-based approach around childbirth where health professionals have ability and skills to evidence base the care around childbirth.
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It is essential that these goals are met in order to individualize support to women during labor which increases her chances for a positive birth experience. If the women felt empowered, it resulted in an increased ability to feel control, strength of the body, satisfaction and reassurance, and as a result of this a better ability to manage the pain which occurred.
The authors wish to express their gratitude to the mothers whose narratives were analyzed for this study. Nursing Research and Practice. Indexed in Web of Science. Journal Menu. Special Issues Menu. Subscribe to Table of Contents Alerts. Table of Contents Alerts. Abstract Objectives. Introduction The health care around childbirth has recently been concentrating on complications and risks for mother and child.
Methods A qualitative design content analysis was chosen for this study. Study Site and Participants This study was undertaken during February to April in a hospital labor ward in a southwestern county of Sweden. Data Generation and Analysis Written narratives were obtained from fourteen first-time mothers, one to two weeks after childbirth. Ethics Approval The ethical principles of the Helsinki declaration [ 19 ] guided the study, according to the Ethical Review Board [ 20 ].
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Table 1: Categories with subcategories and theme identified from narratives with first-time mothers.