Using trauma as a lens to explore the experience of mothering a very premature infant in the first year after hospital discharge

Shulman, Romy (2020) Using trauma as a lens to explore the experience of mothering a very premature infant in the first year after hospital discharge. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. [Thesis]

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Approximately 60,000 premature babies are born in England every year (Office of National Statistics ONS, 2017). Survival rates of babies weighing 800g and over have risen to 90% (WHO, 2018) resulting in an increasing number of mothers parenting very premature babies. Understanding the experiences and needs of these mothers is important for identifying and providing the most appropriate support. This is therefore an important area of developing research.

The aim of this research is to understand how the trauma of a very premature birth affects the experience of mothering these infants in the first year after hospital discharge. A purposive sample was collected, comprising 8 mothers who had given birth between 28 and 32 weeks’ gestation within the previous 3-5 years. 8 face-to-face, semi-structured interviews were conducted and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was applied to analyse the transcribed data.

The results elicited 7 superordinate themes: ‘The second set of horror’; ‘The isolation of limbo’; ‘Attachment to the NICU’; ‘Feeling like a mother came later’; ‘Bonding in the shadow of the threat of loss’; ‘Mourning an intangible loss’ and ‘Mothering in the wake of trauma’. These themes capture how the trauma of the very premature birth and the experience of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) influenced the way these women were able to relate to their babies, take care of them, bond with them, and develop their identity as a mother. The emergent themes are inherently existential and are explored from an existential perspective.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Keywords (uncontrolled): Mothering, Very premature infant, Existential Psychotherapy, Post-NICU Trauma, Birth trauma
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 33657
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2021 11:16
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:07

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