How Are Post-birth Reflective Conversations Experienced by Those Involved?
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This hermeneutic phenomenological study seeks to uncover the lived experiences of post-birth reflective conversations as experienced by midwives and women. Fourteen Lead Maternity Care (LMC) midwives along with twenty women were interviewed in this study. All of the women apart from two, received continuity of care from an LMC midwife they had registered with. The findings reveal that space for dialogue needs to be created before post-birth reflective conversations can occur. Various non-threatening strategies are used to create this space. Midwives and women need to be willing to enter the space and/or be able to negotiate an appropriate time to have the conversation. The space is not only created with women; other members of the family/whānau also need space to share their experiences. Without a space for conversation, relationships are fragile and can be easily broken. Practitioners often raise lack of time as a barrier to post-birth conversations. However, ‘time’ is the key component of quality care. ‘Mood’ often prompted the conversation. Both women and midwives ‘waited’ for the ‘right’ time, hence patience is essential. Being open, receptive, courageous and having hope enables the participants to learn and grow from the post-birth conversation experience. It is the woman’s conversation that prompts the many roles that the midwife assumes. The midwife must understand the woman/whānau and respond with specific expertise. ‘Tact’ is essential to enable the conversation to play out with sensitive attunement to the ‘as’ kind of practice that is most needed. Finally, there is a need to extend the focus of the post-birth ‘reflective’ conversation to include ‘prospective’ conversations that allow for the possibility of ‘anything’ being discussed.