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Going Through A 24-Hour Box: How Women’s Experiences of Childbirth Shape Their Embodied Sense of Self
Neeta Sai (author)Dr. Janelle Kwee (thesis supervisor)Dr. Mihaela Launeanu (second reader)Dr. Keren Epstein-Gilboa (external examiner)Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
Women’s experiences of childbirth are understood primarily in terms of role change and physical or cognitive impacts. This study adopted a holistic, embodied perspective to explore how women’s childbirth experiences shape their embodied sense of self. Six women’s childbirth experiences were analysed using Gilligan’s (1982) Listening Guide method, adapted by integrating Längle’s (1993) Existential Analysis framework of the Four Fundamental Motivations. The analysis uncovered women’s voices of fulfillment and suffering as dynamic interplay suggesting that positive birth experience led to positive embodied sense of self while negative birth experience (e.g., disrupted embodiment) led to negative sense of self. These findings indicate that childbirth and motherhood can empower women to grow and be strong even in spite of possible traumatic or negative birth experience. This study has important implications for promoting a holistic understanding of the role of women’s subjective experiences of childbirth in shaping their embodied sense of self.
Identity (Psychology)Childbirth--Psychological aspectsSelf.