Drawing on attachment and caregiving theory and the concept of motivation, the purpose of this descriptive study was to examine parents’ retrospective accounts of their prenatal experiences after receiving the diagnosis of a fetal heart defect. These parents constituted a subgroup of participants in a larger longitudinal study of parenting an infant with a complex congenital heart defect. Data were derived from 14 semistructured interviews with 13 mothers and 3 fathers in the home or hospital setting. A directed content analysis yielded a central category of preparing heart and mind for infant caregiving. Preparing heart and mind is a preliminary caregiving goal within the caregiving system that generates intentions and expectations indicative of specific caregiving motivations to relate to the baby, handle circumstances practically, and manage infant medical care. A theoretical model illustrates the prenatal process these parents engaged in to provide care to their infants with life-threatening medical conditions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Anne Chevalier McKechnie received support from the following sources: the National Institute of Nursing Research Traineeship (T32NR007102), the University of Wisconsin–Madison Gwendolyn H. Shapiro–Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, and a National Research Service Award (F31NR011563). Karen Pridham received support from the following sources: Herma Heart Center, the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Foundation, and the National Institutes of Nursing Research (R03NR009272). This work was also supported by grant 1UL1RR025011 from the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program of the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health.
- families, caregiving
- infants, high-risk