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Being in charge – new mothers' perceptions of reflective leadership and motherhood

Authors

  • KRISTIN AKERJORDET INT, RN, MNSc, PhD,

    1. Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Health Studies, University of Stavanger, Stavanger
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  • ELISABETH SEVERINSSON RPN, RNT, MCSc, DrPH

    1. Professor & Director at the Centre for Women, Family and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Vestfold University College, Tønsberg
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Kristin Akerjordet
Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Health Studies
N-4036 Stavanger
Norway
E-mail: kristin.akerjordet@uis.no

Abstract

Akerjordet k. &Severinsson e. (2010) Journal of Nursing Management18, 409–417
Being in charge – new mothers' perceptions of reflective leadership and motherhood

Aim  To explore new mothers’ perceptions of reflective leadership in relation to motherhood.

Background  Mindfulness, discovery of a deep personal self, sense of life purpose and authenticity appear to be the essence of self-reflective leadership. In this regard, women may be unprepared for the level of distress associated with the transition to motherhood.

Method  This study comprised interviews with ten new mothers on day 2–3 after giving birth conducted between March and May 2005. The interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and interpreted by a method grounded in hermeneutics.

Results  The content of the text was interpreted as one overall theme; the nature of responsibility in motherhood, encompassing the following four sub-themes: ‘Being a good mother by reflecting and developing self-identity’, ‘managing fear, demands and commitments as a mother’, ‘having the necessary resources to act and lead as a mother’ and ‘believing and trusting in others and self as a leader’.

Conclusion  In the new mother’s transformation and growth of self, true strength has to overcome the vulnerability of life by means of caring and courage mediated by reflective leadership anchored in love.

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