Widening the trauma discourse: the link between childbirth and experiences of abuse

Thomson, Gill orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3392-8182 and Downe, Soo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2848-2550 (2008) Widening the trauma discourse: the link between childbirth and experiences of abuse. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 29 (4). pp. 268-273. ISSN 0167-482X

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01674820802545453


Objective. To explore the lived experience of, and personal meanings attributed to, a traumatic birth.
Study design. An interpretive phenomenological approach was adopted for this study based on Heideggerian and
Gadamerian hermeneutics. The participants were 14 women who had experienced a self-defined traumatic birth. Data
collection was undertaken through in-depth interviews. An interpretive analytical approach was utilised to uncover resonant meanings across the participant’s birth narratives.
Results. Trauma was not related to mode of birth, but to fractured inter-personal relationships with caregivers. Three interpretive themes emerged from the analysis: ‘being disconnected’, ‘being helpless’ and ‘being isolated’. Synthesis across these themes revealed that, for women in this study, their self-defined traumatic birth was experienced as violent and abusive. Some described their experience as torture, resulting in a profound sense of being disassociated from the childbirth
experience, and annihilated from societal regard.
Conclusions. Taking a strictly hermeneutic perspective, the findings expose commonalities between some descriptions of
traumatic birth, and victim accounts of violent or abusive criminal offences, even in the case of clinically normal birth. The results could provide a powerful influence for reform in maternity care provision.

Repository Staff Only: item control page