Suffering in silence: a qualitative meta-data-analysis of postpartum depression

J Marital Fam Ther. 2009 Apr;35(2):145-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2009.00112.x.


In this article, we apply a relational lens to a grounded theory meta-data-analysis of qualitative studies on postpartum depression (PPD) conducted between 1999 and 2005. Women in all studies report feeling that they have failed to live up to cultural standards for a "good mother." Central to this experience is a sense that these negative feelings could not be spoken. The analysis shows how constructions of motherhood and the reactions of others combine with feelings of incompetence to precipitate isolation from others. Women survive depression through support that validates their experience and promotes eventual reconnection with others. Conclusions emphasize the need for persons trained to facilitate relational connection to develop interventions that address the interpersonal contexts of PPD.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Depression, Postpartum / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Self Efficacy
  • Stress, Psychological*