Mothering by the book : constructions of mature student mothers’ identities in the context of mothering and study practices and Mother/Child relationships
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AbstractThis project investigates the development of mature student mothers’ identities in the dual contexts of constructions of the women’s at-home study practices and of their ‘responsibilities’ for their children’s development. Interviews were conducted with 23 women – all ‘new university’ students – and with their schoolaged children. I used discourse analysis focussing on language as performative and constitutive in order to understand positioning of, and by the women. I also drew upon critical developmental psychological theory and the concepts of discourse, intersubjectivity and dialogicality as epistemological resources in order to understand the women’s and children’s accounts. The methodology yielded a diversity of constructions of the women, these drawing upon a variety of discourses. The first empirical chapter addresses constructions of mature student mothers, the second, constructions of child development and the third, constructions of ‘influence’. The organisation of the empirical chapters reflects not only the importance I accorded to particular themes, but also the idea that separating mothers’ concerns and those of their children can be less fruitful in examinations of identity construction than addressing these together. The key issues that are a thread connecting the empirical chapters are time (requiring ‘balancing’ of social positions); change (in mothering practices and confidence); perceived ‘influence’ on children’s development, and relationships (including the ways in which identities are constructed in the ‘space in the middle’). Participants addressed these issues in different ways with some women positioning not spending ‘quality’ time with their children as meeting children’s developmental needs (addressed in Chapter Seven). Other important themes were mothering constructed as mundane and undervalued (in Chapter Five), children’s constructions of ‘roles’ as helpers (in Chapter Six) and perceived intersubjectivity in mother/child interactions (examined in Chapter Seven). In the concluding chapter I discuss the implications of the findings in terms of the contribution of the research to theoretical debates about motherhood, mothering and child development. I also reflect on my position as a mature student mother, examining my involvement in the research process and finally, suggest applications for the findings reported in the thesis.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Bedfordshire
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Improving support for breastfeeding mothers: a qualitative study on the experiences of breastfeeding among mothers who reside in a deprived and culturally diverse communityCook, Erica Jane; Powell, Faye; Ali, Nasreen; Penn-Jones, Catrin Pedder; Ochieng, Bertha; Randhawa, Gurch; ; University of Bedfordshire; De Montfort University (BMC, 2021-04-06)The United Kingdom has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe, with the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding shown to be closely related to the mothers' age, ethnicity and social class. Whilst the barriers that influence a woman's decision to breastfeed are well documented, less is known how these barriers vary by the UK's diverse population. As such, this study aimed to explore mothers' experiences of breastfeeding and accessing breastfeeding services offered locally amongst a deprived and culturally diverse community. A qualitative interpretive study comprising of 63 mothers (white British n = 8, Pakistani n = 13, Bangladeshi n = 10, black African n = 15 and Polish n = 17) who took part in single-sex focus groups, conducted in local community centres across the most deprived and ethnically diverse wards in Luton, UK. The focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically using Framework Analysis. The most common barriers to breastfeeding irrespective of ethnicity were perceptions surrounding pain and lack of milk. Confidence and motivation were found to be crucial facilitators of breastfeeding; whereby mothers felt that interventions should seek to reassure and support mothers not only during the early stages but throughout the breastfeeding journey. Mothers particularly valued the practical support provided by health care professions particularly surrounding positioning and attachment techniques. However, many mothers felt that the support from health care professionals was not always followed through. The findings presented inform important recommendations for the design and implementation of future programs and interventions targeted at reducing breastfeeding inequalities. Interventions should focus on providing mothers practical support and reassurance not only during the early stages but throughout their breastfeeding journey. The findings also highlight the need for tailoring services to support diverse communities which acknowledge different traditional and familial practices.
Understanding the consumption of folic acid during preconception, among Pakistani, Bangladeshi and white British mothers in Luton, UK: a qualitative studyGarcia, Rebecca; Ali, Nasreen; Griffiths, Malcolm; Randhawa, Gurch; University of Bedfordshire; Luton and Dunstable Hospital (Springer Nature, 2018-06-15)To review the similarities and differences in Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers health beliefs (attitudes, knowledge and perceptions) and health behaviour regarding their consumption of folic acid pre-conception, to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Our study used a descriptive qualitative research approach, implementing face-to-face focus group discussions with Pakistani, Bangladeshi or White British mothers (normal birth outcomes and mothers with poor birth outcomes) and semi-structured interviews or focus groups with service providers using semi-structured topic guides. This method is well suited for under-researched areas where in-depth information is sought. There were three sample groups: 1. Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers with normal birth outcomes (delivery after 37 weeks of gestation, in the preceding 6 to 24 months, weighing 2500 g and living within a specified postcode area in Luton, UK). 2. Pakistani Bangladeshi and white British bereaved mothers who had suffered a perinatal mortality (preceding 6 to 24 months, residing within a specificied postcode area). 3 Healthcare professionals working on the local maternity care pathway (i.e. services providing preconception, antenatal, antepartum and postpartum care). Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers with normal birth outcomes (delivery after 37 weeks of gestation, in the preceding 6 to 24 months, weighing 2500 g and living within a specified postcode area in Luton, UK). Pakistani Bangladeshi and white British bereaved mothers who had suffered a perinatal mortality (preceding 6 to 24 months, residing within a specificied postcode area). Healthcare professionals working on the local maternity care pathway (i.e. services providing preconception, antenatal, antepartum and postpartum care). Transcribed discussions were analysed using the Framework Analysis approach. The majority of mothers in this sample did not understand the benefits or optimal time to take folic acid pre-conception. Conversely, healthcare professionals believed the majority of women did consume folic acid, prior to conception. There is a need to increase public health awareness of the optimal time and subsequent benefits for taking folic acid, to prevent neural tube defects.
Perinatal mortality in Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers, in LutonGarcia, Rebecca; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-05)Addressing modifiable factors in perinatal mortality is a key priority for commissioners and service providers, aiming to improve birth outcomes and reduce preventable deaths (Department of Health, 2016; National Maternity Review, 2016). Luton, a town with a plural population, experiences higher rates of perinatal mortality than the national average (CDOP, 2015). Figures show an ethnic variation; Pakistani and Bangladeshi mothers experience higher rates of perinatal mortality in England compared with White British mothers, and the reasons for this are unclear. Much of the existing literature approaches the problem by examining individual risk factors quantitatively or exploring South Asian women’s experiences qualitatively. There is little research considering how Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British women’s health beliefs impact on their health behaviour through the maternity care pathway, in Luton, and how this might contribute to perinatal mortality. This study takes an intersectional approach, using a convergent mixed-methods research design, reviewing retrospective secondary data (2008-2013) from the Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Circona Maternity information System, to identify risk factors for perinatal mortality in Luton. Additionally, focus groups were conducted with lay women (aged over 16, living in LU1-LU4, who had experienced a live birth, at 37 weeks of gestation in the previous 6-24 months), and face-to-face interviews were held with bereaved mothers (aged over 16, who suffered an infant bereavement in the preceding 6-24 months, living in LU1-LU4). Health care professionals working on the maternity care pathway also took part in focus groups or interviews, providing their views on the service needs of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British women. The results/findings showed that risk factors varied according to ethnicity. Pakistani mothers had a greatest number of risk factors i.e. birthweight, diabetes, gestational diabetes, BMI <18kg/m2, parity two, three and four and later booking (>12 weeks). Deprivation featured in 81% of all deaths in 2014. The findings with the mothers revealed mostly similarities among women, regardless of their ethnicity; the majority of women wanted more pregnancy-related information, especially in respect of stillbirth and adverse outcomes. Similarly, bereaved mothers regardless of their ethnicity also reported mostly similarities, which included experiencing intuition when things were not right with the pregnancy. A few differences according to ethnicity were also identified, which focused on cultural or religious needs, such as cultural therapies (mostly dietary restrictions) undertaken by Pakistani and Bangladeshi women. The intersectional approach allowed simultaneous and aggregated factors (i.e. heritable, socio-economic status, structural factors and health beliefs and health behaviours) to be exposed; staff believed Pakistani and Bangladeshi women were not proactive in seeking pregnancy-related information, relying on verbal information and staff assumed mothers were literate and understood health messages. The intersected findings also revealed that few women took folic acid preconception, and many women co-slept with their baby. This study contributes new knowledge to the understanding of how Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British women’s health beliefs influence their health behaviour, and contributes to perinatal mortality in Luton.