Shifting Focus: A Videographic Inquiry of Hope and Unplanned Pregnancy

  • Author / Creator
    Johnson, J. Lauren
  • What happens when women, so long the subjects of art rather than the authors, turn the camera on ourselves? This question informed the basis of my dissertation research on women’s experiences of hope and unplanned pregnancy. In a medium-sized Western Canadian city, I engaged in a videographic inquiry (an arts-based qualitative research study) to address the following questions: (a) how is unplanned pregnancy described by women who have lived through it? (b) what role does hope play in the mothers’ unplanned pregnancies? and (c) what might helping professionals do to help women facing an unplanned pregnancy? When asked to create short videos about their unplanned pregnancy experiences, the co-participants in this study created stories that had been entirely unexpected; although a great deal of the literature on unplanned pregnancy in the fields of health and psychology tells a story of woe and misfortune, we performed our stories as love stories, comedies, and fairy tales. Given the great disconnect between what has been written about unplanned mothers and the tales we told about ourselves, I explored this chasm from a feminist perspective. Using narrative, discourse, and film analyses, I address the contrast between the grand narrative told about us in the literature on unplanned pregnancy and the narrative of resistance that we told about ourselves through the audio-visual medium of video. In this dissertation, I discuss my understandings gathered through this research experience and invite a feminist, and indeed feminine, revision of the grand narrative on unplanned pregnancy. In doing so, I hope that this dissertation may illuminate the disconnect between the lived experience, the performance of our lived experience, and the grand narrative of unplanned motherhood, and serve as the impetus to author a new story—our own story—of hope and resilience in the face of unplanned pregnancy.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Specialization
    • Counselling Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Larsen, Denise (Educational Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Yohani, Sophie (Educational Psychology)
    • Buck, George (Educational Psychology)
    • Meagher, Michelle (Women's Studies)
    • Clandinin, Jean (Secondary Education)
    • Moore, Sharon (Centre for Nursing and Health Studies, Athabasca University)