Internal conflicts of Iranian first‑time mothers in adaptation to maternal role

Nahid Javadifar, Fereshte Majlesi, Alireza Nikbakht Nasrabadi, Saharnaz Nedjat, Ali Montazeri


Background: Studies indicate that becoming a mother is accompanied by prominent physical, social, and psychological changes which can affect not only mother’s psychological healthiness, but also all other aspects of her personal and family life.

The purpose of this research was to explore the struggles experienced by Iranian first‑time mothers in adapting to their maternal role between 0 and 1 year after giving birth.

Materials and Methods: A qualitative design was used in this study. Twenty‑one first‑time mothers with diverse ethnic backgrounds were recruited in their home or healthcare centers in Tehran and Ahwaz. Data collected through in‑depth interviews were analyzed by qualitative content analysis.

Results: The analysis produced four themes: “Unpreparedness,” “lack of control,” “incomplete maternal feelings,” and “unstable relations.” The main theme, “internal conflict,” integrates all other categories and encapsulates the major changes to which women are subjected, as well as the factors distressing this experience.

Conclusion: Discrepancies between subjective expectations and postnatal experiences take an influential role in causing postpartum conflict and strain. The more accurate information mothers and families have about this transitory stage, the better they can get prepared to deal with it. This specifies the pivotal role of midwives, midwifery educators, and healthcare policy makers in incorporating these concepts into training programs and protocols of healthcare and support services in due time, form, and content that is in accordance with mothers’ mental and psychological needs.

Key words: Conflict, Iran, mother, role adaptation

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