Before and After Motherhood: An Arts-based Phenomenological Study

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Chisholm, Lindsey
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Experiences of motherhood are individual, yet also informed by the cultural context of the mother. Current feminist research seeks to understand and improve the conditions that surround women. This qualitative study uses a feminist phenomenological and an arts-based approach to explore the lived experiences of 5 mothers. Each participant created two collages, one representing their perceptions of motherhood prior to having children, and another representing their experiences after becoming a mother. The participants discussed their artwork and participated in a semi-structured interview. All data was analyzed thematically with the assistance of computer software. Results demonstrated the participants’ need for support and self-care, the negative impact of judgement from other people, and the incongruence between media representations and the reality of motherhood.