Title

Medicalized Mothering: Emergence through Mothering a Child with a Gastrostomy Tube

Start Time

14-10-2009 7:00 PM

End Time

14-10-2009 9:00 PM

Abstract

The care of children with chronic illness, which include children with gastrostomy tubes (g-tube) by mothers in home is becoming increasingly common. Caring for a child with a g-tube requires a different type of care than other children and twice as much time for mothering occupations as compared to other types of children with chronic illness due to their complexity. One of the primary mothering occupations that is disrupted by having a child with a g-tube is feeding. Mothering occupations of caring for and feeding a child with a g-tube were exploring in a qualitative study using in-depth narrative interviewing with seven mothers of children with g-tubes. In examining data where narrative and thematic analysis were primarily used, medicalized mothering emerged through numerous stories and in-depth descriptions. The complexity of care require by these children demanded the intersection of mothering and biomedical worlds that mothers were forced to negotiate. This intersection compelled mothers to blend familiar ideas of motherhood with the reality of the daily care of their child with a g-tube. Mothers were responsible for the more familiar occupations as have been discussed in previous mothering literature, but also a range of novel occupations more frequently associated with medical care and management. Mother’s quickly and arguably subconsciously assumed a different form of mothering by merging common and more often uncommon occupations around feeding and care for their child with a g-tube. In order to simply initiate mothering, women needed to take on new, biomedical type occupations revolved around caring for necessary equipment, advocating for their child in the medical world, managing their child’s health care needs and/or assuming unfamiliar medical practices for their child. New occupations were sometimes assumed immediately with ease, while others were more challenging or foreign at times creating self-doubt and questioning of a mother’s own capabilities. Eventually all the mothers embodied their new responsibilities within the scope of their mothering occupations. The g-tube and associated occupations are very much their own entity. However, in actually lives of mothers, the care is a more complicated embedded phenomenon that could be perceived to possibly have more to do about mothering occupations than about feeding and medical management.

References

Coffey, J. (2006). Parenting a child with chronic illness: a metasynthesis. Pediatric Nursing, 32(1), 51-58.

Craig, G., & Scambler, G. (2005). Negotiating mothering against the odds: Gastrostomy tube feeding, stigma, governmentality and disabled children. Social Science & Medicine, 62(2006), 1115-1125. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.07.007

Esdaile, S., & Olson, J. (2004). Mothering occupations: Challenge, Agency, and Participation. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company.

Heyman, M., Harmatz, P., Acree, M., Wilsson, L., Tedlie Moskowitz, J., Ferrando, S., et al. (2004). Economic and psychologic costs for maternal caregivers of gastrostomy-dependent children. The Journal of Pediatrics, 511-516. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2004.06.023

Spalding, K., & McKeever, P. (1998). Mother's experiences caring for children with disabilities who require a gastrostomy tube. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 13(4), 234-243. Article Access

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Medicalized Mothering: Emergence through Mothering a Child with a Gastrostomy Tube

The care of children with chronic illness, which include children with gastrostomy tubes (g-tube) by mothers in home is becoming increasingly common. Caring for a child with a g-tube requires a different type of care than other children and twice as much time for mothering occupations as compared to other types of children with chronic illness due to their complexity. One of the primary mothering occupations that is disrupted by having a child with a g-tube is feeding. Mothering occupations of caring for and feeding a child with a g-tube were exploring in a qualitative study using in-depth narrative interviewing with seven mothers of children with g-tubes. In examining data where narrative and thematic analysis were primarily used, medicalized mothering emerged through numerous stories and in-depth descriptions. The complexity of care require by these children demanded the intersection of mothering and biomedical worlds that mothers were forced to negotiate. This intersection compelled mothers to blend familiar ideas of motherhood with the reality of the daily care of their child with a g-tube. Mothers were responsible for the more familiar occupations as have been discussed in previous mothering literature, but also a range of novel occupations more frequently associated with medical care and management. Mother’s quickly and arguably subconsciously assumed a different form of mothering by merging common and more often uncommon occupations around feeding and care for their child with a g-tube. In order to simply initiate mothering, women needed to take on new, biomedical type occupations revolved around caring for necessary equipment, advocating for their child in the medical world, managing their child’s health care needs and/or assuming unfamiliar medical practices for their child. New occupations were sometimes assumed immediately with ease, while others were more challenging or foreign at times creating self-doubt and questioning of a mother’s own capabilities. Eventually all the mothers embodied their new responsibilities within the scope of their mothering occupations. The g-tube and associated occupations are very much their own entity. However, in actually lives of mothers, the care is a more complicated embedded phenomenon that could be perceived to possibly have more to do about mothering occupations than about feeding and medical management.