A hero's tale of childbirth

Thomson, Gill orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3392-8182 and Downe, Soo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2848-2550 (2012) A hero's tale of childbirth. Midwifery . ISSN 02666138

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2012.07.008



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.

a re-interpretation of women's accounts through the conceptual lens of the hero narrative framework developed by Campbell (1993).

12 women recruited from a large maternity trust in North-West England.

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’.

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.

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