Until now, research into the effects of domestic violence on the formation of relationships between women and their babies has been from an attachment theory perspective. The research reported in this article takes a different approach. Innovative qualitative research methods are used to uncover knowledge about the formation of such relationships from the lived experiences of sixteen women who have mothered babies while enduring domestic violence. Analysis of the findings in this study identifies domestic violence constitutes an environment of sustained hostility where women respond with maternal protectiveness to maximise their babies’ physical and psychological safety whether or not they had attained a secure relationship. However, women recognize domestic violence constricts space to form close mother/baby relationships. Supported by these findings, this research suggests policy and practice concerned with relationships between women and babies subjected to domestic violence address protectiveness and space to attach. The article concludes with suggestions for further research.
- Domestic violence