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The Lived experience of first-time parents of infants

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Jensen, Tanya J.
Marcnocha, Suzanne K.
MS, Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
May 2011
Stress - Psychology; Parenting; Parent and infant; Infants - Care; Infants
The purpose of this qualitative, naturalistic inquiry study was to explore the lived experiences of first-time parents of infants and how they cope with this new responsibility. The postpartum period marks the start of a new relationship with the baby, but also brings about changes within the couple. These changes and experiences are the building blocks for future coping skills. Lazarus and Folkman's Theory of Stress and Coping (in Polit & Beck, 2008) was used as the theoretical framework for this study. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) state that a person exposed to stressful stimuli will complete a cognitive appraisal of the stress and how it is perceived. When coping strategies are learned, deliberate responses are used to adapt to or change stressors (Polit & Beck, 2008). Nine couples were sought through snowball sampling and interviewed until data saturation was obtained. The data collection instruments included the researcher, a demographic questionnaire, one broad, open-ended question, and several focused interview questions. Trustworthiness of the data was evaluated through Lincoln and Guba's (1985) criteria(in Polit & Beck, 2008). All interviews were transcribed and analyzed using Giorgi's (1985) method (in Polit & Beck, 2008). Results of this study described the participant's experiences. During data analysis, three main themes emerged: (a) life altering and selflessness, (b) stressful and scary, and (c) learn as you go. It is important for advanced practice nurses to recognize the unique needs and characteristics of first-time parents with infants. They may be better able to anticipate certain needs of the parents. Creating a more positive environment for the parent can benefit the infant's social and psychological well-being.
A Clinical Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
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