chapter  18
14 Pages

The Liminal Space in Motherhood: Spiritual Experiences of First-time Mothers

The transition from womanhood to motherhood is a profound psychological, cultural, social and physical event in the life of a woman. The last decade has seen the emergence within nursing and midwifery of the study of spirituality in the transition to motherhood.1 These researchers believe that a question such as ‘Do you have any spiritual beliefs that will help us better care for you?’ should be routine in assessments of hospital admission for childbearing. More than two decades ago, one of the first ethnographic studies that focused on the sacred dimensions of pregnancy and birth was undertaken.2 This academic interest seems to have increased at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Childbearing is now recognized as a context within which spirituality is often enriched or deepened, or it is a possible occasion for spiritual awakening.3 Extensive cross-cultural research on birth narratives has revealed that childbearing is often regarded as a spiritual experience.4