Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Natalie Dautovich


This qualitative study utilized a phenomenological research approach (van Manen, 1990), and intersectional feminist lens (Collins, 2000; Crenshaw ,1989; hooks, 2000), to uncover the lived experience of sleep in the postpartum period. Participants were 10 mothers who were less than 12 months postpartum. Data collection consisted of in-depth interviews. Data analysis procedures followed recommendations by van Manen (1990, 1997). In order to increase the trustworthiness and rigor of the study, the researcher engaged in reflexive journaling, member checking, and peer debriefing. The results were organized into six themes; 1) the importance of the sleep environment, 2) anxiety and hypervigilance, 3) adjusting to changes and finding strategies, 4) balancing self-care, 5) the emotional experience of sleep, and 6) societal expectations of mothers and sleep. Quotes from participants are included to illustrate the findings. The results are discussed in relation to the theoretical framework of the study and the existing literature. Implications for research, clinical practice, and policy are identified. Strengths and weaknesses of the study are included, as well as suggestions for future research.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission