Graduation Term

3-25-2024

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

School of Communication

Committee Chair

John R. Baldwin

Abstract

Scholars have focused on factors that affect pregnancy decisions, linking it to internal factors such as physical attachment and love towards children and feasibility of external factors, among others, while others have focused on experience with health professionals and accessibility of healthcare facilities and equipment during access to maternal care. While these studies are important, fewer focus has been placed on how women with disabilities navigate the postpartum phase of motherhood and the support needed to navigate through this experience. I employed the communicated narrative sense-making theory to explore the meanings of stories shared by mothers with disabilities about their postpartum experiences. The study revealed that, among the participants, five mothers experienced significant challenges with self-care, managing parental obligations, and dealing with internal struggles, all of which led to depression. Despite these challenges, they found motherhood rewarding, describing it as a journey of continuous learning and responsibility, filled with both challenging and fulfilling moments. The study also noted some essential strategies to navigate the postpartum phase, including seeking therapy, joining supportive online communities, getting help from families, and accessing community resource centers. This study is essential as it enlightens us about the unique challenges and experiences of mothers with disabilities.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.30707/ETD2024.20240618063947696406.999997

Page Count

166

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