The Early Postpartum Experience of Previously Infertile Mothers

Academic Article


  • Objective: To explore the lived experience of becoming a new mother from the unique perspectives of previously infertile women. Design: A descriptive phenomenological design was used to extract the fundamental structure of the postpartum experience of previously infertile mothers. Setting: Central Florida. Participants: Twelve first-time, previously infertile mothers age 27 to 43 years. Methods: Face-to-face interviews were conducted twice with each participant. Recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using Colaizzi's approach. Results: Two main themes emerged that described the early postpartum experience of first-time, previously infertile mothers: (a) lingering identity as infertile and (b) gratitude for the gift of motherhood. Participants reported that their lingering identities as infertile and immense gratitude for the gift of motherhood propelled them to establish unrealistic expectations to be perfect mothers. When they were unable to live up this expectation, they censored their feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and shame. Conclusion: Findings from this study may help to sensitize health care providers to the difficulties faced by previously infertile women during their transition to motherhood.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ladores S; Aroian K
  • Start Page

  • 370
  • End Page

  • 379
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 3