First-time mothers' experiences of meaningfulness during their third trimester of pregnancy : a focus on spirituality
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Pregnancy can be a very difficult time of transition for some women as they have to adapt, change and prepare for the role and responsibility that awaits them after their baby is born. This is especially challenging for first-time mothers as they experience higher levels of anxiety and uncertainty than more experienced mothers. From a fortogenic perspective, pregnancy can be viewed as a developmental opportunity for maturation and growth. With high levels of psychological well-being the new mother will be able achieve optimal functioning by being a sensitive and responsive and confident in her abilities to care for her new-born baby. There is substantial evidence to show that spirituality is strongly associated with psychological well-being, but the lived experiences of first-time mothers have not yet been explored. Therefore this study aims to explore a group of first-time mothers‟ experiences of meaningfulness during their third trimester of pregnancy by focusing on their spirituality. Qualitative research and a phenomenological design were used to gain in-depth understanding of the experiences of first-time mothers. The Mmogo-Method® and reflective journals were used as data-gathering techniques and visual and textual data were captured. The data were analysed by using thematic analysis (textual) and comparing the symbolic values (visual) with the research question. This group of first-time mothers expressed a very personal and intimate relationship with a Divine reality that they rely on and from it they derive a sense of meaningfulness. This sense of meaning stems from their belief that the Divine reality is the giver of life; they were given a responsibility to carry new life. Unconditional trust in the Divine reality makes them willing to surrender control of their lives and accept the responsibility they were given. They find meaning, which potentially has implications for higher levels of psychological well-being. The findings of this research provide the basis for developing interventions for mothers-to-be to make sense of their pregnancy by relying on their pre-existing spiritual frameworks.
- Humanities