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Title: Women's experiences of posttraumatic growth after a traumatic birth
Author: Ketley, Rhianna May
ISNI:       0000 0004 8504 5506
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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Introduction: Research demonstrates that some people experience positive benefits through struggling to cope with traumatic life events, leading to the development of theories of 'posttraumatic growth'. More recently this has included an acknowledgment that common difficult experiences such as childbirth can also generate both traumatic stress and traumatic growth responses. Research on posttraumatic growth following a traumatic birth is still limited. This research project aimed to contribute to the emerging knowledge base by conducting an in-depth study with women who have experienced posttraumatic growth following a traumatic birth. Method: A qualitative approach using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore in-depth the experiences of women who self-identified as having found positive benefits through coping with a traumatic birth. Eight women who had given birth in the past five years were interviewed. Results: Three superordinate themes were identified with two, four and five subordinate themes respectively. The three superordinate themes were "The total opposite to what I'd expected", "I see it a bit differently now" and "A much better place". Discussion: The themes provide an insight into both the journey to growth experienced by the participants and the experience of growth 'outcomes' following a traumatic birth. Societal and cultural influences on participants' pre- conceptions of birth led to a difference between their expectation and the reality of their experience that challenged their sense of identity as women and mothers. In overcoming these challenging experiences, participants described a process of actively striving to cope and make sense of their experience. A variety of factors facilitated this, notably partner support, the opportunity to tell their story, acknowledging the impact of the birth and developing a compassionate narrative. Growth was experienced in ways that are commonly reported by survivors of challenging life events, with some aspects of growth appearing more specific to birth trauma.
Supervisor: Darwin, Zoe ; Masterson, Ciara ; McGowan, Linda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available