University of Oulu

Transition to motherhood : an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experiences of immigrant mothers living in Finland

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Author: Charity, Linda1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : L. Charity, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-05-16
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Järvelä, Maria-Liisa
Reviewer: Järvelä, Maria-Liisa
Räsänen, Rauni
Transition to motherhood is seen as a major developmental life event, likewise, immigration is seen as a huge psychosocial process with great impact on individuals’ psychology. These two aspects combined means that women becoming mothers in foreign countries are prone to face great challenges when trying to simultaneously adjust to their mothering roles as well as adapting to the new life in their new homes. The purpose of this study was to explore and investigate the experience of women entering motherhood in Finland. The study combines both Mercer’s (2004) Maternal Role Attainment Becoming a Mother theory and Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) Human Ecological theory to examine how women make sense of becoming mothers in the context of immigration. A qualitative approach, specifically phenomenology was used as the research method to guide this study. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with 5 immigrant women who became mothers after relocating to Finland. Data was analyzed using an in-depth analysis approach known as Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (Smith, 2015; Smith & Eatough, 2007). The results brought forth four main themes relating to the women’s experiences on transitioning to motherhood in Finland. These themes were: 1. Individual factors relating to motherhood experience, 2. Factors influencing motherhood experience in Finland, 3. Challenges specific to motherhood experiences, 4. Challenges experienced by immigrant mothers in Finland. The findings revealed many similarities and differences in participants’ experiences ranging from positive and negative aspects involved when transitioning to motherhood in Finland, hence it was evident that the women’s experiences were greatly influenced by their surrounding environment, for instance, issues such as language barrier, limited social support and differences in child-rearing practices were of the greatest concern and challenge to participants, whereas efficient medical services, mother’s benefits, safety and better opportunities for their children were some of the pros brought forth by the research participants. Importantly, it was also evident through participants’ narrations that remarkable transformative learning occurred within their transition to motherhood process. Hopefully, this study and research findings will bring new insight and enrich existing literature relating to this area.
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Copyright information: © Linda Charity, 2018. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.