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Childbirth by Childbearing Couples: Reported Meanings

  • By: Lynn Clark Callister
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Giving birth is a pivotal life event representing the shift from being a couple to being a family. Paternal and maternal perspectives of this significant experience may differ, but both serve to enrich the experience of beginning a family.

Maternal Birth Experience

There are decades of studies documenting the maternal birth experience, including those of culturally diverse women. Two national surveys of childbearing women conducted in the United States provide important data about maternal perspectives. Listening to the voices of childbearing women as they share their birth experiences is imperative. Women often describe the experience of giving birth in paradoxical terms, indicating that birth is a bittersweet experience. This description is confirmed in the national surveys, which reported that women articulated conflicting emotions, feeling both “confident and ...

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