Being a mother with leprosy: the experiences of separation due to compulsory isolation

Suellen Santos Lima de Almeida Leonardo Cançado Monteiro Savassi Virgínia Torres Schall Celina Maria Modena About the authors

In the twentieth century, women with leprosy could not carry on their maternity because of the statement of compulsory isolation of patients, adopted to control the disease. Their children were taken at birth to prevention centers and the contact of mothers with their babies was only visual. In order to understand the experience of maternity in the leprosaria it was carried out an investigated narrative research with three mothers who lived through the period of compulsory internment. The speeches reveal two distinct moments in the experience of motherhood: the separation of the children with their subsequent return to home and the adoption of other children to achieve motherhood. It is considered that the adoption has promoted the meeting with the meaning of existence that had been broken and allowed the experience of being a parent.

motherhood; leprosy; sense


Programa de Pós-graduação em Psicologia e do Programa de Pós-graduação em Psicobiologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte Caixa Postal 1622, 59078-970 Natal RN Brazil, Tel.: +55 84 3342-2236(5) - Natal - RN - Brazil
E-mail: revpsi@cchla.ufrn.br