Exploring a volunteer community residential care facility for new mothers
- International Journal of Pregnancy & Child Birth
Romina Withanage,1 Margaret Hay,2 Samuel Menahem3
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Background: All women deserve a “dwelling space” during their postnatal period after the birth of their infant. This “space” provides her an opportunity to be cared for, to be replenished, to rest and to reflect on herself being a new mother before returning home. We explored a volunteer community residential service set up to help new mothers to document their experiences and determine if the outcomes matched their expectations.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were offered to all women who had utilised this service since its inception. The questionnaire explored their motivations to seek such as service and to learn of their experiences. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and a thematic analysis employed.
Results: Over the last 8 years, 12 women, 4 twice, availed themselves of this service, two being first-time mothers. Reasons given by mothers for utilising this service included recovery from the trauma of childbirth both past and present, physical and emotional, and delaying assuming responsibilities at home. All the women had welcomed the “dwelling space”, being mothered, feeling replenished and having time to meaningfully relate to their newborn infant.The ambience of the accommodation and the care they received were above their expectations. All would recommend other new mothers to avail themselves of this service.
Conclusions: This community based residential service more than met the expectations of those who utilised it. Expansion of such services in the wider community, possibly government funded, may be a very cost-effective way to better meet the needs of postnatal care and potentially improve the wellbeing of both mothers and infants.
postnatal care, residential service, post-partum care, new mothers, neonate