The aim of this study was to explore and synthesize the experience of maternity care by female asylum seekers and refugees. The approach was a longitudinal exploratory multiple case study that used a series of Interviews, photographs taken by the women, field notes and observational methods to contextuallze data obtained during 2002 and 2003. Data was collected in the women's home and a hospital trust. Four women agreed to participate, three women were asylum seekers and one woman was a refugee. Three key themes were generated: the perception of 'self; understanding in practice, and the influence of social policy. The women perceived 'self as a response to social interaction. At times, 'taken for granted' communication in practice created a barrier to understanding for the women. Social policy related to seeking asylum, dispersement, housing and health directly affecting the lives and subsequent maternity experiences of the women. The theory of symbolic Interactionism and transformational educational theory was applied to the findings, highlighting that self-awareness is of paramount importance in care delivery. The strength and resilience of migrating women is acknowledged and should be used as a starting point to develop partnerships in care and to build the woman's self-esteem during their maternity experiences.