On becoming a first-time mother after an emergency Caesarean section: A journey from alienation to symbolic adoption Academic Article uri icon


  • This qualitative research focused on the significance of subjective experience of mothers who gave birth in an emergency Caesarean section. Ten first-time mothers experiencing emergency Caesarean section were interviewed, and their narrative accounts were analyzed using Giorgi’s phenomenological method. Mothers described alienation from the infant on encountering her/him; primal difficulties in holding; a ‘mechanistic’ pattern of childcare at home; over-apprehension and fear of a cradle-death. A few of the women seemed to cope with these experiences by performing ‘a symbolic adoption’ of their infants. In the context of object-relations theory, the findings, will potentially inform psychological care in obstetrics and gynaecology.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009