Linnea Ytting & Lone Friis Thing
This article focuses on a qualitative in-depth study of fatherhood and family life in relation to the hospitalization of families with children suffering from heart disease. The purpose of the study is to unfold fathers and mothers’ experiences of living at a hospital, for a shorter or longer period, surrounded by treatment strategies and regimes that are shaping their lives. The article is based on individual interviews and focus group interviews with 34 family members. The interviews concern the families’ confrontation with the hospital’s ability to make space for sleeping, eating, socializing and embracing (regimes) families during hospitalization. The regimes determine how families can live their lives, and are in this sense theoretically important for understanding fatherhood and family life. The results of the research show that regimes in the hospital, affect families to such an extent, that family life changes towards a traditional gender division of tasks and towards a traditional distanced oriented fatherhood, which is contradictory to the fathers own stated desire to act as emotionally and present in their children’s life.