McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Russell A. Walsh
childbirth, development, fatherhood, phenomenology, psychology
This dissertation is a qualitative investigation into the lived experience of becoming a father through witnessing the event of childbirth. I analyze transcripts of conversations between five fathers and myself using a phenomenological method to distinguish meaningful and psychologically significant statements. I then weave these statements into a series of thematically and structurally consistent narratives that reflect the fathers' attitudes and experiences concerning becoming and being a father. From these narratives, I draw together themes that appeared across multiple fathers' stories. These themes consist of the father's relationship with the social world, including fathers in relation to other fathers and to the social discourse on fatherhood; and the father's relationship with the mother, particularly how the roles of mothers and fathers relate and are defined, the significance of the collaborative process of parenting between mothers and fathers, and what the mother's relationship with the child means for the father. Also discussed are the themes of fathers' experiences of derealization and ambivalence at their children's births. Additionally, I examine the relationship between childbirth and the medical establishment and how the medicalization of childbirth affects fathers' experience of birth.
Williams, N. (2006). On the Day You Were Born: A Phenomenological Study of Fathers' Experience of Being Present at Their Children's Birth (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1367