I'm So Happy, But Also Terrified: The Experiences of Women with a History of Cancer During the Perinatal Period
Vanstone, Ruth Naomi
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Young female cancer survivors are at a disproportionate risk of suffering psychological distress following treatment, particularly fears of cancer recurrence (FCR). While previous research has established the robust relationship between FCR and family matters (e.g., fertility and motherhood), there remains a paucity of information about how a cancer history affects womens psychological functioning throughout the perinatal period. The present investigation sought to better understand womens perinatal experiences following cancer treatment. The study sample was composed of 10 participants who each took part in a semi-structured interview. A grounded theory analysis yielded Im So Happy, But Also Terrified, as the core category, representing the duality of emotions that characterized the perinatal period for these women. Additionally, four higher-order categories emerged from analysis of interview text. Study implications are further discussed to better understand the complexity of these experiences and future directions are suggested for the improvement of perinatal care after cancer.