Welcoming Moms and babies: barriers, supports, and transitioning to a culture of welcome
LE3 .A278 2019
Bachelor of Community Development
This research sought to define welcomefor low-income mothers in Kentville, Nova Scotia. This was done through an extensive literature review, as well as a qualitative study involving in-depth, semi-structured interviews of 10 professionals working with or for this demographic. Their sectors of experience ranged from social, public, and health services to municipal politics. Welcome to communities is a subject that has only been studied a few times, and in those cases, the studies were in reference to immigrants and psychiatric patients. Welcome for mother-baby dyads has never been studied, and motherhood in general has been neglected in the research of Community Development and the Social Sciences since the nineties. My research has found that there is astrong link between mother and infant and that they are best seen as a dyad. Mothers are still the primary caregivers in the majority of situations and contribute the highest proportion of care regardless of partnership status. Low-income mothers are also more likely than middle-income mothers to be experiencing multiple intersecting oppressions related to age, race, family structure, and mental health status; a feminist and gendered lens was used to explore how welcome is impacted by these factors. The theme of socioeconomic status as an overarching aspect of welcome emerged clearly, including the intensified stigma surrounding those of lower-income and class in rural versus urban areas of Nova Scotia. Similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the research shows that basic needs such as housing, food security, healthcare access, and transportation are a foundation for welcome. These areas also informed policy recommendations that must be supported to create a welcoming culture for low-income mother-baby dyads.
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