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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

versão On-line ISSN 2071-9736
versão impressa ISSN 1025-9848

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.13 no.1 Cape Town  2008




The experiences of first-time mothers with colic infants who seek help from medical professionals



Leigh CoxI; Vera RoosII

IBNurs (Wits), MCur (RAU), Psychology Honours (UNISA)
IID Phil (Psychology). Professor, School for Psycho-Social Behavioural Sciences, Psychology, North-West University, Potchefstroom





The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of first-time mothers with colic infants. The research design was qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual. Data were collected by means of in-depth, semi-structured, phenomenological interviews and a descriptive analysis was done. The results show that the real experience of having a baby did not meet mothers' expectations. Furthermore, colic babies were anxiety-provoking and mothers struggled with feelings of failure. They searched for an explanation for the colic, but felt disillusioned with the medical profession. Mothers exhibited a need for a containing figure. They also reflected on their relationship with their mothers. Mothers felt ambivalent towards their babies and marital relationships became strained. Lastly, mothers renegotiated their identity. Based on the results, suggestions for mental health professions were made with regard to providing parent-child therapy, support for the mother and strengthening the marital relationship. The importance of psychological interventions was emphasised as a source of support for these mothers.

Keywords: infant colic; first-time mothers; parent-infant relationship; psychological support


Die doel van hierdie studie was om die ervarings van eerstekeermoeders met koliekbabas te beskryf. Die navorsingsontwerp was kwalitatief, ondersoekend, beskrywend en kontekstueel van aard. Data is ingesamel deur middel van indiepte, semi-gestruktureerde, fenomenologiese onderhoude en 'n beskrywende ontleding is gedoen. Die resultate het getoon dat die beleefde ervarings om 'n koliekbaba te hê, nie aan die moeders se verwagtinge voldoen het nie. Voorts veroorsaak koliekbabas angs en moeders stry teen gevoelens van mislukking. In hul soeke na 'n verklaring vir die koliek, voel hulle ontnugter met die mediese professie. Moeders het 'n behoefte aan 'n ondersteunende persoon uitgedruk en gereflekteer op hul verhouding met hulle eie ma's. Moeders het ambivalent oor hul babas gevoel en hul huweliksverhoudings het gespanne geword. Laastens het moeders hulle identiteit as moeders heroorweeg. Op grond van die resultate word voorstelle vir professionele geestesgesondheidwerkers met betrekking tot ouer-kindterapie, ondersteuning aan die moeder en versterking van die huweliksverhouding, gemaak. Laastens word die belangrikheid van sielkundige intervensies in die hantering van koliek as 'n hulpbron vir hierdie moeders beklemtoon.



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Prof Vera Roos

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