“The Attitude Is Essential” The Experience of Two Mothers with Differing Educational Backgrounds Receiving Post-Discharge Intervention after Very Preterm Delivery

Authors Edith Raap, Katie Lee Weille, Monique Flierman, Martine Jeukens-Visser
Published in Smith College Studies in Social Work
Publication date 2023
Research groups Living and Wellbeing
Type Article


While the importance of professional support following very preterm delivery (VP) is established, the parental experience of support still warrants deeper understanding. Evaluation of a Dutch one-year post-discharge responsive parenting intervention following VP suggested that parents with lower educational levels benefitted less from the program. This idiographic phenomenological study investigated the lived experiences of two mothers with differing educational backgrounds receiving professional support during hospitalization and post-discharge. In-depth interviews with the mothers were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. We formulate three impressions: (1) How the mothers made sense of their experiences resonated with the findings of research on class differences in parenting. (2) The mothers valued professionals who struck a personalized balance between supporting their maternal agency and attending to their vulnerability and needs for help and perspective. (3) The mothers experienced greater trust in professionals who could suspend pre- conceived assumptions and take their personal characteristics into consideration. Practice suggestions are extrapolated for social work professionals. The study has relevance to educational diversity and recommends an overarching sensitivity to positionality in professional work with parents.

Language English
Published in Smith College Studies in Social Work
Key words parenthood, parental experience, very preterm infant, SEP, professional support, IPA

Living and Wellbeing