Does fatherhood change meaning in life for first-time fathers: A qualitative study using the "Sources of Meaning Card Method" focusing on existential perspectives in fatherhood

Christina Lange Prinds, Henriette Lærke Munk-Hansen

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


Transition into fatherhood can be experienced as a complex and challenging period and one of the greatest changes a man can go through in life. Existing literature describes the practical and relational perspectives of fatherhood in
relation to infants and mothers. However, a deeper existential perspective of fatherhood from the fathers’ point of view is missing from this literature. The purpose of this study was to explore how meaning in life changes or is affected by becoming a father.

The project was an explorative interview study using a phenomenological approach. Semi-structured interviews based on a new method “The Sources of Meaning Card” was used to facilitate perceptions of six fathers’ experiences and considerations related to especially sources of meaning in life.

The participating fathers did not experience a change in which sources provided meaning, but rather a change in the way they experienced and expanded their sources of meaning after becoming a father. They saw this as a consequences of how the sources adapted to the new circumstances of fatherhood where one’s time is no longer one’s own and focus is directed towards the child and the family as a unit. Furthermore, the new fathers experienced
feeling alone in fatherhood which in part was regarded both as an isolation from friends and being alone as an existential condition of life. However also emotional loneliness was found to be a new and radical change when
becoming a father. Isolation and being alone was considered as natural and mostly unproblematic consequences of fatherhood, whereas lonelinesswas experienced negatively.

Fatherhood seemed to be meaningful for the participating fathers and affected their experience of meaning in life.
Furthermore, fatherhood seemed to contain both a natural measure of being alone and a negative loneliness which future fathers should be aware of.
Publikationsdato2 maj 2019
StatusUdgivet - 2 maj 2019
BegivenhedNJF 19: Nordisk Jordemoderforbunds Kongres - Harpa Konferencecenter, Reykjavik, Island
Varighed: 2 maj 20194 maj 2019


KonferenceNJF 19: Nordisk Jordemoderforbunds Kongres
LokationHarpa Konferencecenter