As part of a larger research project to evaluate a new model of care for first-time mothers in a community health-care setting, this study aimed to identify the preparation and information needs of first-time Mothers & Babies.
All first-time Mothers & Babies attending a selection of community child health centers in Brisbane, Australia, who presented with no overt risk factors and with a thriving child, invited to participate in the study. Three months after mothers entered the service, data were collected via telephone survey (N = 151). In addition, focus group interviews were conducted 7–9 months following entry to the service (n = 8). Participants reported seeking information from a variety of sources during pregnancy.
Few participants felt well prepared for managing either the physical or emotional experience of early mothering or the essential maternal and child health issues and common problems in the early months.
Mothers & Babies
Findings suggest that current approaches to care and education may not
meet the needs of first-time mothers. Different approaches suggested
to enhance women's maternal competence during the first few months of
becoming a new mother.
In describing the significant psychological, social, and physical work needed during the process of becoming a mother, Mercer (2006) notes that a number of maternal, infant, family, and environmental variables influence the process.
Drawing on Rubin's (1967) theory of maternal role attainment, a process whereby a woman achieves a maternal role identity, Mercer (2004) describes the process of becoming a mother as having four stages.
So, The first stage is by commitment and preparation for the infant during pregnancy; the second stage involves getting to know and learning how to care for the infant; the third stage involves moving toward a “new normal” (p. 230); and the fourth stage concerns the achievement of maternal identity at around 4 months. Mothers & Babies