Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The woman's choice: Birth and the divine feminine
by Gray, Chanda, Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2011, 242; 3458070
Abstract (Summary)

This study explored women's decision making regarding birth method with intent to understand women's motivation, values, and possible fears influencing their birth choices. The cesarean section rate in the United States is currently at 30% and roughly half of these are elective (with women requesting cesarean sections without medical necessity). The question of whether women who have a strong connection the Divine Feminine are more inclined or less likely to choose elective cesarean birth was evaluated using a feminist hermeneutic qualitative research method and thematic content analysis of semi-structured interviews. To date, several studies have explored factors contributing to cesarean section births. Few studies have focused on psychological issues and none, to date, has examined transpersonal or spiritual issues connected to women's choices regarding mode of delivery. In addition to contributing knowledge to the literature about women's personal motivations for choosing cesarean section over vaginal delivery, this study attempted to identify differences between women who chose cesarean section birth without any medical indication of its necessity and women who chose natural birth. Two populations were studied: women who chose elective cesarean section performed by an obstetrician, and women who chose natural vaginal delivery, assisted by a midwife at home, in an alternative birthing center (ABC), or assisted by a midwife or obstetrician in a hospital allowing natural births. Six women from each population were included. Results showed strong commonalities of participants' backgrounds within their specific group. Significant indicators of women choosing elective cesarean birth included a lack of spiritual connection with a female figure, an absent or negative relationship with their biological mother, and a lack of family or social support surrounding their birth. This study's findings support the hypothesis that women who have a strong connection to the Divine Feminine are less likely to choose elective cesarean birth.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schmitt, Bob
Commitee: Alexandre, Chandra, Marlo, Helen
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Residential Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Medical Ethics, Spirituality
Keywords: Elective cesareans, Natural birth, Patriarchy, Spirituality
Publication Number: 3458070
ISBN: 978-1-124-69303-3
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