Coping met die beëindiging van swangerskap: 'n selfreguleringsperspektief
The termination of pregnancies is increasing worldwide and is associated with profound physical and emotional changes, but at the same time support in the form of pre- and post-counselling, especially in the South African context, does not always take place. Many women are thus reliant on themselves to deal with the trauma without receiving professional help in order to cope. Coping refers to efforts to manage claims made on the individual and which are viewed as a demand that exceeds the resources of the person. Coping is increasingly seen as a form of self-regulation, indicating the ability to conduct, direct and monitor a flexible plan of behaviour, depending on changing circumstances. A self-regulating perspective on coping can be very valuable to understand how appropriate adjustments are made in response to the discrepancy between stated goals and actual behaviour. In spite of this, there is lack of available research data in relation to the termination of pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to explore coping strategies relating to the termination of pregnancy from a self-regulating perspective. An exploratory qualitative case study research design was used, comprising in-depth interviews with a convenience sample of two young women and who had chosen to terminate their pregnancies. Both participants terminated their unplanned pregnancies by means of vacuum aspiration within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, without any post-abortion counselling. Both indicated that they were not yet ready to have children and that they would have been unable financially to care for the children. The interviews began with an open-ended question to get a general idea of the participants’ views on the termination of pregnancy, to establish how they coped with it, and to obtain insight into their subjective experience. Then, by using more structured questions, the focus shifted to their coping, specifically as a form of self-regulation. Thematic content analysis of the data was done independently by the researcher and a second experienced qualitative researcher. Results show that coping with the termination of a pregnancy is an extremely difficult process that is emotionally difficult to handle, and that both participants coped through social, emotional, cognitive and problem focused strategies, as well as by managing goals. In addition to this, one participant also made use of religion as a source to be able to cope. Particularly significant was the realisation that a self- regulating perspective contributed to the observation that there were clear differences in how these strategies were applied in the unique context of each case. It is shown that the way in which social support and interpersonal conflict is regulated, plays an important role in the coping process, especially because, in this study, it could be distinguished in terms of how the participants made cognitive and problem focused adjustments. Furthermore, it is indicated that both sometimes suppressed their emotions and at other times expressed them appropriately within the context of the stressor. The value of faith as an internal source, as well as the ability to create a synthesis between assimilation and accommodation, became apparent in one participant, and supports research in this regard. The conclusion is eached that a self-regulating perspective adds value to the understanding of coping with the termination of pregnancy, especially because it emphasises how coping is essentially a self-regulatory process, and not just a one- dimensional implementation strategy. Finally, some gaps were identified and recommendations made for further research.
- Health Sciences