Original Research

The lived experience of South African men having a premature baby

Jonathan Nell, Kyle Jackson, Michelle Andipatin
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 29 | a2522 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v29i0.2522 | © 2024 Jonathan Nell, Kyle Jackson, Michelle Andipatin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 September 2023 | Published: 30 April 2024

About the author(s)

Jonathan Nell, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Kyle Jackson, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Michelle Andipatin, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Much has been written about fathers, fatherhood and premature babies. However, in the South African context, studies about the experiences of fathers having a premature baby are lacking.

Aim: This study aimed to explore how South African fathers (n = 10) experience having a premature baby using a descriptive phenomenological approach.

Setting: This research study was conducted online using various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Google Meet and through telephonic conversations.

Methods: A descriptive phenomenological approach that allowed for the distillation and elucidation of common core experiences among fathers who had a premature baby.

Results: The findings demonstrated that the participants experienced intense fears regarding the survival and well-being of their children. They reported experiencing financial difficulties related to hospital bills and experienced being alienated by hospital institutions. Despite these reported barriers, these fathers were adamant in their resolve to support their children and partners during this challenging time.

Conclusion: The experiences of fathers were riddled with fear, uncertainty, ambiguity and alienation, which placed them in very precarious situations when trying to navigate their role in a more sensitive and enlightened way. Having a premature infant calls into question the systems that men are positioned within as these systems to a large extent shape these events and how they are experienced.

Contribution: This study is original as no other published studies seem to exist in South Africa that speaks to fathers’ lived experiences of having a premature baby.


Keywords

premature babies; fatherhood; masculinity; phenomenology; psychology; South Africa

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

Total abstract views: 276
Total article views: 912


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.