Joys and challenges of motherhood for Australian young women of preterm and full-term infants: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
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Objective: This study aimed to further our understanding of the daily experience of being a young mother for Australian young women who have preterm infants. Background: Both preterm birth and adolescent childbearing are associated with increased risk of poor maternal and infant health outcomes. However, little research has explored how having a preterm infant influences the experience of being a mother for young women or whether it differs from having a full-term infant. Methods: This Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis study analysed interviews with 14 young women (15–19 years; 10 preterm and 4 full-term) who were interviewed 3 times over the first 12 months of parenting. Results: Preterm birth did not detract from the joys associated with becoming a mother, which was central to all mother’s stories. Instead, preterm birth exacerbated challenges faced by all young women, such as transportation difficulties and negative judgement from others. Unique challenges included lack of embodied interaction with their infants and navigating the hospital system. Young women frame the experience of being a mother in terms of immediacy and daily demands. Conclusion: This research further challenges the view that early motherhood is detrimental to young women, by demonstrating how the polemics of enjoyment and challenge coexist in the experience of mothering on a day-to-day basis. Using global categories such as age or birth status to assess risk may not be appropriate as they do not provide nuanced criteria for establishing which mothers need assistance.
Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
© 2015 Taylor & Francis (Routledge). This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology on 26 May 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02646838.2015.1042962
Psychology not elsewhere classified