This dissertation investigated the experience of new mothers who mindfully relate with their children. The importance of healthy mother-child relationships and the benefits of mindfulness have been well established in the psychological literature, yet few studies have explored the intersection of the two. Theorists and clinicians have begun to speculate that mindfulness may be important in healthy mother-child relationships, however empirical research has yet to determine why, exactly, this might be the case. This study addressed this gap in the empirical research literature. The two central research questions for this study were: (a) What is the essence of mindfully relating with one's child as experienced by a sample of mothers actively practicing mindfulness meditation? (b) What is the perceived importance or value of this mindfulness practice to these new mothers? The participants in this study were 10 new mothers actively participating in a Mindful Motherhood group. Qualitative research methods were used to collect data, which was analyzed from a phenomenological perspective. Fifteen major themes emerged, which were categorized within the four areas of (a) mindful moments of relating, (b) unmindful moments of relating, (c) intentions for mindfulness practice, and (d) usefulness of mindfulness practice. General structural descriptions were created for both mindful and unmindful moments of relating. The discussion compares and contrasts these themes to the current research literature regarding regulation of emotions and thoughts, attachment theory, and intersubjectivity theory. Limitations to the study and suggestions for future research are presented.
|School:||California Institute of Integral Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mental health, Developmental psychology, Clinical psychology, Individual & family studies|
|Keywords:||Attachment behavior, Meditation, Mindfulness, Motherhood, Parent child relations, Parenting, Postpartum depression|
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