, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 336-340
Date: 08 Feb 2014

The experience of motherhood in women with severe and enduring mental illness

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Background This study considers the experience of motherhood of women who are patients of the rehabilitation services in Leicester. Method Data were collected from case notes, by semi-structured interviews with all women identified as mothers, and by enquiries with key workers on demographic characteristics, number of children, contact with and separations from these children, and other relationships. Results Fifty-eight women had 122 children. Of the mothers, 68 % were permanently separated from at least one child before the age of 18 years, and often had little or no subsequent contact with them. There was also attrition of other important relationships. There was scanty documentation about these issues in medical notes. Conclusion Many women in long-term psychiatric care have experienced multiple losses. Clinicians should be mindful of this.

Accepted: 15 March 2002