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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


GOMEZ, María Celeste. The meaning of life of the mothers of premature babies who are hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2016, vol.33, n.1, pp.5-19. ISSN 1668-7027.

Prematurity is a problem which is getting bigger worldwide. In eight out of one hundred babies are born before their due time, that is why it is necessary to make the population conscious of this issue. In relation to this figure it is necessary to work on raising public awareness about prematurity and integrate thus subject to the public health agenda. For Logotherapy the basic human motivation is its fundamental orientation meaning the same psychological school posits the existence of the tragic triad. Others have called extreme situations; these are death, guilt and suffering. These situations which by their nature are permanent, you cannot work to change them, they are imposed situations that leave no alternative but to live them, to suffer, to experience, even if you want to run. They are fighting ability, the potential and the true self. It is in these extreme situations that person forgets the surface world and struggle for existence. None of them can be avoided by humans. Taking into account the existential sphere of the person is a way of approaching the problem, therefore, the aim of this project is to relate the meaning of life shown by the mothers of those children who are hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) owing to their premature birth, with two factors. On the one hand, with the capability they themselves refer to of getting information properly about their child‘s situation and, on the other hand, with their connection with extreme situations experienced during their pregnancy. Our search is based on an experimental study of 30 premature babies’ mothers that have undergone a hospitalization in the NICU. Knowing this dimension of the person, is a contribution to the awareness of health personnel working with families that this type of situation is passing , it is also a starting point for a possible psychological treatment and a tool to strengthen the link between mother and infant. A tool was built, in the shape of a semi - addressed interview call ed premature babies mothers’ personal experiences with the aim of approaching the study properly. This model is based on five areas, beginning with formal details, then it enquires about the pregnancy, the labor, the hospitalization and the conclusions. It includes questions related to the meaning of life displayed in the hospitalization situation, the capability the person has to get informed properly about her baby’s situation, the relationship with doctors and nurses, contradictory feelings, among other items. Results show that the mothers with greater capability to ask for information about their children’s situation are the ones who could answer about the meaning this experience give them. The highest percentage of coincidence belongs to the group of moderate premature babies, decreasing progressively to the extreme premature ones. In a lower percentage we could relate the answers of meaning with extreme situations lived before. In some cases meaning, information and previous extreme situations are co-related. There are five areas in the mothers’ answers according to the meaning they get from the situation they lived. They are: learning, valuation, personal growth and acceptance of the situation they lived, beliefs and religion and general responses. The meaning of life allows us to open the doors for future studies in which we may be able to elaborate strategies of work with mothers and their children hospitalized in the NICU, considering the existential aspect of the person, above all supporting them in extreme situations and in the handling of information as a way of facing them.

Palabras clave : NICU; Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Meaning of life; Extreme situations; Information; Prematurity.

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