To identify factors that women who have recovered from postnatal depression consider to be important in the recovery process and to measure the consensus among recovered women regarding the importance of those factors. A two-panel, three-round adapted Delphi exercise supplemented by a user-led interpretation work-shop. Panel one consisted of ten women who had been treated by a health visitor for and recovered from postnatal depression. Panel two consisted of 158 women who had recovered from postnatal depression who were London based members of a national support group for postnatal depression. There was a strong consensus among the participants about the 37 success factors that were identified. Factors that were identified as 'essential' in recovery from postnatal depression included: emotional support from partner; sleep; improved communication with partner; the diagnosis; practical support from partner; emotional support from friends; time to bond with the new baby; and prompt assessment by a health visitor. An interpretation group, made up of seven women who had recovered from postnatal depression, condensed the 37 factors into seven categories: diagnosis; positive action (or reaction) to intervene in the recognized problem; provision of support by people you know; professional or outside agency input; relationship between mother and baby; returning to work and continuity of care. There was a strong level of consensus among recovered women regarding a wide range of recovery factors. While all of the factors were considered to be, at least, 'important', social support from family and friends was generally rated more highly than support from health care professionals.