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Motherhood and mental distress: Personal stories of mothers who have been admitted for mental health treatment
Department for Health and Care Services, The Arctic University of Tromsø, Norway.
Karlstad University, Department of Educational studies.
Department for Health and Care Services, The Arctic University of Tromsø, Norway.
University of Nordland.
2015 (English)In: Qualitative Social Work, ISSN 1473-3250, E-ISSN 1741-3117Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is a need for qualitative studies on motherhood and mental distress. Many mothers have a diagnosis of mental illness, and their motherhood exists in constant tension with their distress. This paper focuses on 10 mothers’ stories about motherhood in relation to being admitted as mental health service users in three different Norwegian community mental health centers. The study has a narrative approach, and through a thematic analysis of personal stories, we emphasize how the 10 women make sense of their experiences of admittance to mental health services in relation to dominant Discourses of good motherhood. Themes identified were: (1) being able to put oneself in the child’s shoes; (2) the emotional impact of being admitted; (3) being open with the children about the admission; and (4) being an emotionally available and present mother. Based on the results of our analysis, we suggest the mothers experienced their distress as a natural reaction to life strains over time, and that they relate to the admissions as interruptions. This underlines the necessity of a more holistic approach, with a support system that focuses on both personal and social aspects of motherhood and mental distress.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Women, mental health, thematic analysis, storytelling, patients' experiences, treatment
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-261618DOI: 10.1177/1473325015584981OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-261618DiVA: diva2:850792
Available from: 2015-09-02 Created: 2015-09-02 Last updated: 2015-09-02

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