" Intense terror and intense happiness"
Motherhood: Expectations, experiences and self-efficacy investigated by the use of focusgroups.
The context in which new mothers are preparing for and performing their role is altered due to sociodemographic changes, modifications of the maternity care and the loss of many cultural rituals. In addition, it seems like information tend to focus on pathology, while natural changes and challenges following the transition to motherhood may not be sufficiently described in the literature or by health personnel. A consequence of these factors might be an impaired possibility for the coming mothers to acquire realistic expectations. Studies suggest that realistic expectations toward the transition to motherhood are closely correlated to the mothers self-efficacy and her ability to cope. The aim of this study is therefore to investigate first-time mothers expectations, experiences and self-efficacy and generate hypothesis which hopefully may lead to further investigations and the development of tools to help the mothers cope better.
Method: A qualitative research method was used, utilising two focus groups. The focus groups involved first-time mothers of four months old babies attending "maternity groups" initiated by the health centre. A qualitative method was chosen to gain information about mothers´ experiences and perceptions to be able to create hypothesis for further investigation.
Findings: Our main-finding is that the mothers in our study seemed to be somewhat unprepared for the physical and psychological changes following giving birth to a child. This may be the reason for the insecurity, worries and lack of self-efficacy experienced by the new mothers.
Conclusion: It seems like there is a lack of knowledge among first-time mothers. One explanation can be insufficiency in maternity care and information. We recommend further investigation on the theme, and explore whether information and support given by health personnel can be improved to create a better basis for the new mothers. The question remains if such improvement ever can compensate for the losses of transitional rituals and previous family structures in preparing first-time mothers for their new role.