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“My Fruits Never Ripen”: Risk Factors of Anxiety among Zimbabwean Married Childless Women with Recurrent Miscarriages

Abstract


The study sought to explore risk factors of anxiety among married childless women with recurrent miscarriages. Purposively selected were eleven married childless women (mean age 31; mean number of miscarriages 3) with recurrent miscarriages. Data saturation determined the sample size. A qualitative case study was used with semi-structured interviews, which were conducted in the 4-month period of data collection. Data was narrated then analysed using thematic analysis. Major findings were that anxiety emanated from psychological, social and physical effects encountered following recurrent miscarriages. The effects acted in their individual capacities and in complex interactive ways in causing anxiety. The women expressed feelings of depression, despair, guilt, fear of divorce and of never being mothers, anger, and anticipatory and real grief were respectively experienced before and after miscarrying, self-blame and blame from significant others through questioning their biological make-up. These emotions were compounded by social factors, which included stigma, strained relationships with spouse and with in-laws, and being withdrawn. Physical factors encompassed abdominal pains and cramps, sleeplessness, fatigue, chronic headaches and loss of appetite resulting with weight loss.


Keywords

Risk factors, anxiety, married, childless, miscarriage

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