to present a secondary analysis of the findings from an interpretive phenomenological study of women who had experienced a self-defined traumatic and subsequent positive birth experience. Design
a re-interpretation of women's accounts through the conceptual lens of the hero narrative framework developed by Campbell (1993). Setting
12 women recruited from a large maternity trust in North-West England. Findings
by drawing upon Campbell's analysis of myth and folklore, contextualised by the women's narratives, we illuminate the adversity and dysphoria of a distressing birth, and how through taking courage, drawing on inner strength and accessing targeted support, all of the participants went on to achieve a joyful, healing birth experience. This analysis reveals the power, courage and determination of the childbearing women in this study, and to re-envision their journey as a ‘hero's tale’. Conclusion
this paper uncovers how myth can illuminate existential accounts of a phenomenon as well as raise important practice based implications. Creating services based on these principles has the potential to translate the theoretical insights from this study into a new maternity care praxis.