Motherhood & the Refugee Experience

Thursday, 12 October 2017 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm

This presentation explores the intersection between motherhood and the refugee experience.  War and persecutory regimes tear apart the fabric of society. One of the fundamental threads of this fabric is the role of strong maternal attachment bonds. The role of mother, protector and of primary attachment figure is routinely assaulted in war and conflict. Children are left without mothers and mothers without children. Separation and bereavement are commonplace.

Maternal, reproductive and pre-natal health is severely limited in fragile states and conflict zones, resulting in high maternal and neonatal mortality. Girls forced into early marriage and pregnancy by rape are common. The prospect of motherhood becomes mixed - hope, joy and promise for the future intertwines with fear, ambivalence and desperation. Maternal mental health is precarious and rates of post-natal depression are found to be significantly higher in women from
refugee backgrounds in their new host countries. During this workshop participants will explore the impact the refugee process has upon women and children, and the mother child relationship.


  • common traumatic experiences of women and girls in war and conflict;
  • the Maternal and peri-natal health impacts of trauma;
  • the effect of refugee experiences on the attachment process;
  • how trauma interacts with the maternal attachment figure bond;
  • building good working relationships with families from a refugee background.

People who work in the maternity, maternal and child health or early childhood sectors. Nurses, doctors, caseworkers, educators or therapists are encouraged.

For more information or to register for this online presentation, click here