270315 Healing our families: A lifespan perspective of mothering among American Indian women

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Janelle Palacios, PhD, CNM, RN , School of Nursing, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
PURPOSE: The purpose of this presentation is to explore the mothering experience and practice among reservation living, adult American Indian (AI) women who were adolescent mothers.

BACKGROUND: Early childbearing (teen pregnancy) among AI women is common and despite a decrease in teen pregnancy for this population since 1991, early childbearing continues to rise. These women are at increased risk for poor perinatal outcomes. Little is known about the early childbearing experiences among these women and methods to support them.

METHODS: Employing a collaborative approach and interpretive phenomenology, a convenience sample of 30 adult AI women who resided on a Northwestern reservation were recruited. In-depth, face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted between 2007 and 2009.

FINDINGS: Women shared their practice and experience of mothering which encompassed a lifespan perspective grounded within cultural tradition. Three themes were identified: (1) mother hen, (2) mothering on pause and restarting, and (3) mature mothering which additionally divided into: mature mothering and breaking cycles. Mothering originated in childhood, extended across their lifespan and pushed beyond mothering their biological offspring.

CONCLUSION: The findings of this study demonstrate a cultural orientation to the construct of mothering that challenges Western constructs of mothering. This is important for health care providers, social workers and educators whom work with AI communities as an alternate conceptualization is required for mothering when working with this population to develop sensitive interventions, to reinforce positive mothering practices, and to identify when additional mothering support is needed across women's lifespan.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. List 3 themes concerning mothering among American Indian women. 2. Describe the differences between Western and American Indian constructs of mothering. 3. Identify 3 methods for supporting the role of mothering among American Indian women.

Keywords: Native and Indigenous Populations, Native Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted collaborative research projects with American Indian communities over the past 8 years, with a particular emphasis on qualitative interviews, or storytelling among Native men and women on their childbearing and parenting experiences.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.