Background: Birth memories about their childbirth experience are powerful factors influencing women’s future fertility and exploring birth memories is important. Birth memories of women in Jordan have never been reported previously. Objective: To explore the childbirth memories of women in Jordan. Design: An exploratory descriptive study was conducted to collect quantitative and qualitative data on 160 first-time mothers giving birth in Northern Jordan’s Bade' a Hospital. Data were collected using three open-ended questions up to six weeks after the birth. Major themes emerging from the analysis were subject to manifest and latent content analysis to quantify qualitative data where appropriate. Results: All women were married and their age ranged from 17 to 37 years. About two-thirds (64.5%) had school education and 35.5% had graduate education. The majority (72.5%) were housewives. The major themes to emerge from the data were negative childbirth memories, women being processed, dehumanised birth, vivid recall, halo effect, the joy of becoming a mother and praise for the support of Allah. Conclusion: Findings provide evidence of the poor care that women receive during labour and birth. Women seem to be processed as objects to give birth in a technological manner. They are treated more like machines devoid of feeling than independent women requiring information, childbirth education or supportive ‘one to one’ care. Childbirth care was based on a medical model where the birth process is institutionalised, managed and controlled by the use of birth technology. There was no evidence of holistic care provided for women, and little consideration of their psychological, environmental or family relationships.
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- birth memories
- birth technology
- childbirth experience
- Middle East
- qualitative study