Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Susan Ray


Little is known about the interactions with the healthcare system among women with past interpersonal trauma accessing maternal health care. The purpose of this study was to critically examine the experiences of women with past interpersonal trauma as they interacted with the healthcare system during the transition to motherhood. A critical feminist perspective informed by Relational-Cultural Theory was used to guide this secondary analysis of 29 interview transcripts from: (a) Aboriginal women, (b) refugees, and (c) survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Four themes emerged: 1. Birthing a healthy baby: the common relational thread; 2. Receiving physical care over the emotional needs of the mothers; 3.Moving beyond sharing information to meaningful relational interactions; and 4. Women's past trauma: little choice over their needs then and now. Findings support the need for both a relational-cultural and trauma-informed approach in education and practice when caring for women transitioning to motherhood after trauma.