Te Mauri - Pimatisiwin

Telling it Like it is “Anyways”: Capturing Tłįchǫ Pregnancy Experiences through Photovoice

Abstract

Pregnancy can be a time of emotional upheaval, including joy and despair, as well as cultural affirmations from home, family, and community. Fourteen expectant mothers from a Tłįchǫ community in the Northwest Territories shared their individual and collective stories about health beliefs and health promotion practices during their pregnancies and births of their babies. The photovoice method was embedded in a focused ethnographic study to support an exchange of ideas between the participants and engage in meaningful dialogue from local women’s perspectives. This grounded the study in local conceptions of pregnancy and birthing whereby the women themselves highlight the circumstances and priorities. The purpose of this paper is to share the power and voice from within that was expressed by Tłįchǫ women as they used cameras and words to describe what they do to stay healthy during their pregnancies. Daily life and living in a remote community are the contexts for their words. The stories that emerged in this research are shared to demonstrate the reality and diversity that exists. From these stories, health professionals and decision makers can better understand the influences and experiences of women living in remote northern communities. In addition, these narratives demonstrate the importance of working with women to create health promotion programs that better meet their needs and support their beliefs and lifeways.

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