Nursing Publications

Title

Mothers with Serious Mental Illness: Their Experience of “Hitting Bottom”

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Journal

ISRN Nursing

Volume

2011

Issue

Article ID 708318

URL with Digital Object Identifier

http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2011/708318

Abstract

This study sought to understand the experience of “hitting bottom” from the perspective of 32 mothers with serious mental illness. Secondary narrative analysis of 173 stories about experiences related to hitting bottom were identified. Enactment of their perceived mothering roles and responsibilities was compromised when confronted by the worst of illness. Subsequent to women's descent to bottom was their need for a timely and safe exit from bottom. An intense experience in bottom further jeopardized their parenting and treatment self-determination and, for some, their potential for survival. The results suggest that prevention of bottom is feasible with early assessment of the diverse issues contributing to mothers' vulnerabilities. Interventions to lessen their pain may circumvent bottom experiences. Healing necessitates purposeful approaches to minimize the private and public trauma of bottom experiences, nurture growth towards a future, and establish resources to actualize such a life.