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The Journey towards Resilience following a Traumatic Birth: A Grounded Theory

Brown, A., Jones Nielsen, J. D. ORCID: 0000-0001-6874-1268, Russon, K., Ayers, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-6153-2460 and Webb, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-8862-6491 (2021). The Journey towards Resilience following a Traumatic Birth: A Grounded Theory. Midwifery, doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2021.103204

Abstract

Statistics have shown that up to 30% of women experience birth as traumatising. However, most women do not go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and instead appear to be resilient. Research is still sparse in the field of traumatic birth and resilience, and it is not known how women develop resilience after a traumatic birth.

Objectives
The aim of this study was to understand the process of fostering resilience after a traumatic birth.

Method
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight female participants aged 30 to 50 years who experienced a traumatic birth. A constructivist grounded theory was used to analyse interviews.

Results
Two main themes were identified which were developed into an emergent model: 1) the feeling of powerlessness during a traumatic birth; and 2) the journey towards resilience. The powerlessness of a traumatic birth was related to a perceived lack of voice and abandonment by healthcare professionals. The model revealed that women's journey towards resilience was aided by both internal and external resources that included healing self-care and ownership of the role of mother; and drawing upon faith, spirituality and supportive relationships.

Discussion
The findings suggest resilience is a process whereby women draw upon internal and external resources or both at different points in their journey. The implications of the findings include training healthcare professionals in communication to avoid trauma during labour; and prompting women to identify and utilise both internal and external resources to help them to overcome any trauma.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Publisher Keywords: Traumatic Birth, Resilience, Birth Trauma, PTSD, Perinatal mental health, Grounded Theory, Qualitative Research
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
Date available in CRO: 15 Nov 2021 15:56
Date deposited: 15 November 2021
Date of acceptance: 12 November 2021
Date of first online publication: 15 November 2021
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/27098
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