Psychological, sociocultural, and coping experiences of women with infertility using traditional healthcare services in Harare urban, Zimbabwe: A qualitative study

Thokozile Mashaah, Exnevia Gomo, Julita C. Maradzika, Mugove Gerald Madziyire, James January


This study focused on the psychological, social, and cultural dimensions of infertility among women with infertility in Harare Urban who have utilised traditional healthcare systems to address their infertility problem. It also emphasises their coping strategies for dealing with the challenges encountered along the infertile journey. This was a qualitative study using a phenomenological approach, focusing on the experiences of five women. Data from the interviews was analysed using a simplified version of Hycner's (1985) five-step explication process. The study produced three main themes: psychological experiences, socio-cultural experiences, and coping experiences, along with seven sub-themes. The results showed that women experienced intense distress, sorrow, and self-blame because of their inability to have children, further compounded by the stigma they faced from their families and communities. Women with infertility are subjected to derogatory labels, social contempt, ridicule, and being undervalued, which leads them to develop coping strategies to endure the adverse encounters. These coping mechanisms can have either positive or negative effects on their overall welfare. The exploration of psychological, socio-cultural factors, and coping mechanisms of women with infertility problems' presents a chance to co-create interventions that empower them.

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