‘Being-in-the-world’ as a mother - hermeneutic-phenomenological exploration of lived experiences of eight new mothers’ transition to motherhood - within the theoretical frame of ‘four dimensions of existence’

Garland, Victoria (2019) ‘Being-in-the-world’ as a mother - hermeneutic-phenomenological exploration of lived experiences of eight new mothers’ transition to motherhood - within the theoretical frame of ‘four dimensions of existence’. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. [Thesis]

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Abstract

Despite a raft of literature on the transition to motherhood, little research has focused on this as an ontological journey involving all Four Dimensions of Existence (van Deurzen, 1997). The aim of this study was therefore to phenomenologically explore, through semi-structured interviews, the lived experiences of eight first-time mothers’ (postnatal) transition to motherhood.

Van Manen’s Hermeneutic Phenomenological Approach, in combination with the framework of The Four Dimensions of Existence, was employed to guide and analyse the research process. Five main themes were found:

1. Life before motherhood: It was all about me;
2. Physical Dimension: Embodied Responsibility;
3. Social Dimension: Relational Responsibility;
4. Personal Dimension: Personal Responsibility;
5. Spiritual Dimension: Motherhood as Self-transcendence.

The findings evidence the existential endeavour and ontological transformation at the heart of the transition to motherhood. Emergent was the potential for more authentic ways of being for new mothers as a result of choosing to take existential responsibility for the life of an Other (her child). The vicissitudes of postnatal experience can therefore be reframed in terms of 'existential crisis' rather than pathology and a useful framework is suggested through which both professionals and mothers themselves can reinterpret, demystify and make sense of the transition to motherhood.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Keywords (uncontrolled): qualitative, phenomenological; hermeneutic; motherhood; transition; lived experience; existential crisis; postpartum embodiment; breastfeeding; parenthood; relationality; identity; responsibility; meaning-making and spirituality
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 28178
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2019 09:41
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2019 15:58
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/28178

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