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Uncertainty during perimenopause: perceptions of older first-time mothers
Journal of Advanced Nursing, Volume: 68, Issue: 10, Pages: 2299 - 2308
Swansea University Author: Joy Merrell
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DOI (Published version): 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05923.x
Aim: This paper reports on a qualitative study of older first-time mothers’ perceptions of health during their transition to menopause.Background: Increasing numbers of women are delaying motherhood world-wide, yet little is known about the unique experiences of older first-time mothers, particularl...
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Aim: This paper reports on a qualitative study of older first-time mothers’ perceptions of health during their transition to menopause.Background: Increasing numbers of women are delaying motherhood world-wide, yet little is known about the unique experiences of older first-time mothers, particularly women aged forty and older. The changing demographics for these women create a unique phenomenon in which midlife motherhood is closely followed by the developmental transition to menopause. The effect of these overlapping life transitions on women’s health is unknown.Methodology & Methods: The research approach was hermeneutic phenomenology. Women were purposively recruited through physicians’ clinics, professional contacts, and snowball sampling. The sample included thirteen women aged 45-56, who were mothering one or more children aged twelve or younger, while experiencing symptoms of perimenopause. Two in-depth interviews were conducted with each woman and meaning was mutually negotiated through participative dialogue with the women as well as through ongoing construction and thematic analysis of data. Findings and Conclusion: The theme Perimenopause as a State of Uncertainty with its supporting categories is the focus of this paper. Uncertainty Theory emerged as a framework for understanding midlife mothers’ perceptions of their health as they transitioned to menopause. Issues regarding uncertain temporality, projection of the life span, and valuing health as precious enabled older first-time mothers to transform uncertainty into opportunities for health promotion in order to ‘be there’ for their childrenNurses and midwives need to understand the issues which midlife first time mothers face in order to offer education, counseling, and health promotion activities that support healthy transitions to menopause.
transition, uncertainty, perimmenopause, nursing, hermeneutic phenomenology
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences