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As two moms and a researcher, our work is firmly grounded in the theory of perspective taking. We believe that perspective taking-or authentic storytelling-through visual or performing arts, cultivates social change and expands humanity’s capacity for empathy. As a research team, we utilize PhotoVoice — a research and intervention methodology rooted in participatory action research that relies on photography, narrative sharing and the creative, collaborative group process, to implement individual and systemic change.
We know that limited research focuses specifically on how mothers of children with medical complexities understand and identify themselves, their role in coordinating care, and how they maintain their mental and physical health. As such, our study utilizes PhotoVoice (a photo elicitation research method) to gain a better understanding of how mothers navigate the day- to- day psychological, social, and physical realities of having a child with medical complexities. Our work aims to highlight mother’s voices, increase empathy through perspective taking, and inform policies and programs that impact mothers of children with medical complexities.
Our Research Approach
A group of mothers of children with medical complexities (0-6) will be using photography to document their lived experience and capture an image that relays themes and messages that can be relayed to their desired or chosen audience. This method creates a collaborative partnership with participants by using visual arts as a means to implement individual and systematic change. Using photography to present the experiences of mothers of children with medical complexities can help mothers find their voice in the complex medical systems in which they interact. Through a photo exhibit and social media campaign this project aims to increase awareness and inform policies and practice that will support mothers as they care for their child with medical complexities while recognizing and highlighting their personal strengths and social assets.
Our Research Aims
While research has identified that families of children with medical complexities have high needs that are not being met, there is little research that focuses specifically on how mothers of children with medical complexities understand and identify themselves, their role in coordinating care, and how they maintain their mental and physical health. Many care professionals only encounter mothers of children with medical complexities in the clinical setting which ultimately limits their insight into the social context of their lives. As such, this study aims to gain a better understanding of how mothers navigate the day- to- day psychological, social, and physical realities of having a child with medical complexities (age 0- 6) in order to increase empathy, support, and resources within the communities that serve them and their families.
You are Invited to Attend our Art Gallery and Sponsor our Work
We would love to involve you, and your community, in our research process and art gallery. If your organization’s mission and vision align with our research aims, please contact our researcher to request an invitation to our art gallery, host a traveling art exhibit, or receive the research findings. To follow our research process you are welcome to follow Two Moms & A Researcher on Instagram and sign up for updates here. We look forward to meeting you!
Researcher Contact Information: Melanie Sonsteng-Person firstname.lastname@example.org