Discovering Self, Discovering Parenthood

by Chelsea Howard

Discovering Self, Discovering Parenthood explores the lived experience of art therapy for a pregnant woman preparing to become a parent. Throughout this research I refer to my client, the research subject, by the pseudonym Nalo, in order to protect her confidentiality. This research used a phenomenological case study methodology to present a non-interpretive description of her experience. The data collection included her artwork, the art process, dialogue, reflections and behaviours. The qualitative research of an intake, four art therapy sessions and a closing interview revealed multiple themes that compose the journey into parenthood. These themes are explored using both a holistic and selective reading approach, (Van Manen, 2014). Her artwork played a fundamental role in exploring the personal and universal experience of carrying life. Art therapy offered her an opportunity to symbolically explore unprocessed feelings and discuss uncertainty of this transformational period.