In light of the growing emphasis on individualization in healthcare, it is vital to take the diversity of inhabitants and users into consideration. Thus, identifying shared perceptions among group members may be important in improving healthcare that is relevant to the particular group, but also perceptions of the staff with whom interactions take place. This study investigates how motherhood is perceived among three groups: Somali-born mothers; Swedish-born mothers; and nurses at Swedish child health centers. Inequities in terms of access and satisfaction have previously been identified at the health centers.
Participants in all three groups were asked to finalize two statements about motherhood; one statement about perfect motherhood, another about everyday motherhood. The responses were analyzed using qualitative coding and categorization to identify differences and similarities among the three groups.
The responses to both statements by the three groups included divergences as well as convergences. Overall, biological aspects of motherhood were absent, and respondents focused almost exclusively on social matters. Working life was embedded in motherhood, but only for the Somali-born mothers. The three groups put emphasis on different aspects of motherhood: Somali-born mothers on the community; the Swedish-born mothers on the child; and the nurses on the mother herself. The nurses - and to some extent the Swedish-born mothers - expected the mother to ask for help with the children when needed. However, the Somali-born mothers responded that the mother should be independent, not asking for such help. Nurses, more than both groups of mothers, largely described everyday motherhood in positively charged words or phrases.
The findings of this paper suggest that convergences and divergences in perceptions of motherhood among three groups may be important in equitable access and utilization of healthcare. Individualized healthcare requires nuance and should avoid normative or stereotypical encounters by recognizing social context and needs that are relevant to specific groups of the population.