• childbirth;
  • Japanese expatriates;
  • motherhood;
  • phenomenology


The purpose of this study was to describe the meaning of the childbirth experience for Japanese mothers who gave birth soon after they moved to Hawaii, USA. The research design was descriptive, using Colaizzi's phenomenological approach. The sample consisted of 10 Japanese expatriate women. The major findings of this study consisted of four theme categories: the challenges of living overseas, the challenges of motherhood, reaching the goal of motherhood, and relationships with others. In describing the meaning of their childbirth experience, the new mothers recognized their own parents' efforts in raising them and their love. The new mothers also identified themselves as “irreplaceable” mothers for their new family. They believed that their childbirth experience in Hawaii helped them to become more mature as individuals. The implication arising from this study for caregivers is that it is necessary to understand culturally sensitive care that meets the individual needs of women in each transition.