Influences of mindfulness-based programs upon interpersonal relating are a relatively recent focus of study. Although the influence of prenatal care on healthy mother-infant relationships has been well documented, very few studies have examined the utilization of mindfulness-based programs for prenatal care. This study aimed to address the gap in the literature regarding mindfulness-based interventions for prenatal care and subsequent interpersonal mindfulness between mother and baby.
This study examined qualities of mindful awareness present in postpartum relationships between mothers and infants. Participants were 15 first-time mothers who had participated in an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention for prenatal care during pregnancy; the intervention, Mindful Motherhood, was designed by Vieten, C. and Astin, J. (2008). Mothers were then interviewed about the mother-infant relationship and mindfulness when their babies were 4 months old. Data was analyzed using narrative analysis methodology and informed by perspectives from psychodynamic theory.
Four qualities of mindful awareness were categorized: (a) awareness of the present moment, (b) awareness of breath, (c) acceptance, and (d) reflective awareness of self and other in interaction. Mothers described mindful awareness as impacting their relational capacities, behaviors, and attitudes. These descriptions were categorized into four themes: (a) affect regulation and cognitive flexibility of the mothers; (b) increased availability of attention for their babies; (c) emotional regulation of the baby and dyadic regulation of emotion; and (d) initiation of mother-baby contact, maintenance of dyadic connection, and the ability to reconnect after rupture.
Further analysis found that these relational abilities are foundational for the development of secure attachment in infants. Suggestions are offered for prenatal care interventions and the ongoing development of mindfulness-based programs for interpersonal relationships. Possible uses of interpersonal mindfulness in the context of individual, couples, and family therapies are also discussed.
|School:||California Institute of Integral Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 72/12, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Medicine, Behavioral psychology|
|Keywords:||Attachment, Mindfulness, Mother-infant relationships, Postnatal, Pregnancy, Prenatal care|
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