This dissertation concerns childbirth and its position within the Greenlandic society, taking a h ... Read more
This dissertation concerns childbirth and its position within the Greenlandic society, taking a holistic health promotional view of the perinatal period and focusing on the importance of the women, the children, their families and the local community as equal pieces of a whole.
The aim of the dissertation is to present new concepts and knowledge concerning the health of the perinatal family in Greenland. It seeks to present childbirth and its position within the Greenlandic society and to link the changes in choice related to birth and place of birth with the concepts of family, attitude and community structure. It looks holistically at the place of birth with focus on the issue of support during the perinatal period. It draws on statistical, historical, anthropological, biophysical and cultural data within the context of perinatal health in Greenland.
The dissertation is comprised of four studies and uses multidisciplinary methods including literature studies, narrative interviews and focus groups in the collection of data. Ethnographic content analysis, cultural resiliency, storytelling and narrative theory are used as the theoretical bases and analysis tools. The mode of conducting focus groups and interviews was based on the principles in the Helsinki Declaration. Over an eight-year period from 2003 to 2011, literature studies, focus groups and individual interviews were conducted. Two literature studies were carried out and empirical data was collected at four sites in Greenland: Nuuk, Ilulissat, Sisimiut and Tasiilaq. Data included seven focus groups with 33 participants, supplemented with 18 individual interviews of women, fathers and Culture Bearers.
Post-colonially birth was considered to be a personal matter for women and is therefore a lack of information on childbirth in Greenland. Perinatal policies and guidelines are presented to the communities by policymakers, and officials, but seldom negotiated with the women and communities before implementation. The perinatal family’s concepts of safety are often connected directly to access to family and community. Family is perceived as security, and lack of family support and network as insecurity. The concept of responsibility to family and community is culturally specific and connected to the immediate family, extended family and kin. There is a cultural room for birth in Greenland, where the health of the perinatal family lies in their ability to strengthen the bonds within the families and kinships and community networks.
Greenlandic families have risen to the challenges engendered by global economic development and modernization of their society. The communities, families and women of the study perceived themselves as the bearers of their children; the fathers considered themselves to be the artisans and caregivers for their family; the community, including the extended family, deemed an important support network for the families.