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A phenomenological approach to understanding the early experience of becoming a father for the first time.

Graham, K., 2007. A phenomenological approach to understanding the early experience of becoming a father for the first time. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Background and aim of research: It has been suggested that expectant and new fatherhood can be a time of confusion and stress and there is an increasing awareness of the importance of supporting men through this complex transition. The aim of this research was to create a depth of understanding regarding how men experience becoming a father for the first time, and to examine the breadth of the entire experience from the antenatal period through the first few weeks of life as 'father'. Method :A descriptive phenomenological approach was chosen for this research, due to its emphasis placed on examining phenomena as they are experienced by the individual in everyday life. Phenomenology allowed for the fathers' individual accounts of their transition and enabled them to discuss the aspects of their experience that they felt to be significant. Results: Eight first time fathers were interviewed, between ten and twelve weeks after the birth of their child. Analysis led to the development of a general structure of early fatherhood, detailing the essential aspects of the experience of becoming a father for the first time that were present for all fathers interviewed. Five constituents of the experience were identified, these were; 'travelling into the great unknown', 'tower of strength', 'oscillating reality', 'the intimate relationship with the baby', 'the new me'. Conclusions: The early experience of becoming a father for the first time is similar to undertaking a complex journey, involving preparation and attempts to create an understanding of the route they will take. A sense of newness exists within every aspect of the experience. Throughout the experience there are moments when the father has difficulty engaging with the reality of his impending or new fatherhood, yet he maintains a need to provide support for his partner. The birth brings with it the creation of the relationship between father and child, a relationship which affirms his new role. The findings of this research highlight the importance of assisting fathers with this journey, offering them the help and support they need to be able to feel prepared and to have a clearer understanding of how to negotiate the various paths their new role may take them down.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of Bournemouth University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO manager.
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:10486
Deposited On:06 Aug 2009 06:11
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:02


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