Negotiating motherhood as a refugee: experiences of loss, love, survival and pain in the context of forced migration

Aisling Kelly, Pieter W. Nel, Lizette Nolte
  • European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, July 2016, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/13642537.2016.1214160

The challenges of being a refugee while also continuing to parent

What is it about?

The mental health of refugees has been an increasingly researched area, but has been criticised for having an individualised and symptom-focused approach to understanding the experience of forced migration. This paper attempts to respond to calls to address this culturally limited and incomplete way of conceptualising responses to experiences of persecution and terror bound up within global hegemony and power inequalities. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed to analyse semi-structured interviews undertaken with six refugee mothers, with the aim of exploring how participants made sense of, and created meaning around parenting and family life in the UK. Three main themes emerged from the data analysis (a) loss as a constant companion to parenting; (b) a shifting view of the self as a mother; and (c) taking the good with the bad in family life. Methodological limitations, as well as implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Lizette Nolte