Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 336–340

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

Authors

  • Heather Dipple
    • Leicestershire & Rutland Healthcare Trust, Mill Lodge, Mill Lane, Kegworth, Derby DE 74 2EJ
  • Susan Smith
    • Leicestershire & Rutland Healthcare Trust, Mill Lodge, Mill Lane, Kegworth, Derby DE 74 2EJ
  • Harry Andrews
    • Leicestershire & Rutland Healthcare Trust, Mill Lodge, Mill Lane, Kegworth, Derby DE 74 2EJ
  • Barbara Evans
    • Leicestershire & Rutland Healthcare Trust, Mill Lodge, Mill Lane, Kegworth, Derby DE 74 2EJ
ORIGINAL PAPER

DOI: 10.1007/s00127-002-0559-2

Cite this article as:
Dipple, H., Smith, S., Andrews, H. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2002) 37: 336. doi:10.1007/s00127-002-0559-2

Abstract

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.

Key words enduring mental illness – motherhood – relationships – loss

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2002