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Advances in Nursing Science:
doi: 10.1097/ANS.0b013e31822723ed
Original Articles

The Search for Safety, Control, and Voice for Mothers Living With the Legacy of Childhood Violence Experiences: A Critical Feminist Narrative Inquiry

Pitre, Nicole Y. MN, RN; Kushner, Kaysi E. PhD, RN; Hegadoren, Kathy M. PhD, RN

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Abstract

We explored the experiences of 12 women who mothered their children while they encountered challenges stemming from the legacy of childhood violence experiences. We examined the participants' narratives through critical, feminist, and symbolic interaction lenses to locate the forces and conditions facilitating and constraining women's mothering choices and decisions. Women's stories revealed their agency in the face of enduring distrust experiences. Women were determined to “change the story.” They met pervasive self-doubt with a “search for anchors” and “constant comparisons.” Persistent distrust of others meant women relied on “hypervigilance” and “gatekeeping.” Implications for knowledge development, research, and practice are discussed.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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