Informed by a mothering-disruption framework, our study examines the illness narratives of women cancer survivors living in Southern Central Appalachia. We collected the stories of twenty-nine women cancer survivors from northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia using a multi-phasic qualitative design. Phase I consisted of women cancer survivors participating in a day-long story circle (n=26). Phase II consisted of women cancer survivors who were unable to attend the story circle ; this sample sub-set participated in in-depth interviews (n=3) designed to capture their illness narratives. Participants' illness narratives revealed the presence of: (1) mothering-disruption whereby cancer adversely impacted the mothering role ; and (2) mothering-connection , whereby the cancer experience motivatedmother-survivors. Participants' illness narratives reflected thatthe role of mother was the preeminent role for mother-survivor and whenever there was oppositional tension between the roles of mother and survivor , the women-survivors seemed to linguistically relocate away from the survivor role and toward the mothering role. As a result , women-survivors seemingly rejected medicalization of their identities by emphasizing their mothering responsibilities , something we term motherizing.
Dorgan, Kelly A.; Duvall, Kathryn L.; Hutson, Sadie P.; and Kinser, Amber E.. 2013. Mothered, Mothering & Motherizing in Illness Narratives: What Women Cancer Survivors in Southern Central Appalachia Reveal About Mothering-Disruption. Journal of Appalachian Studies. Vol.19(1&2). 59-81. http://appalachianstudies.org/journal/ ISSN: 1082-7161