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POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: The Lived Experiences Of Middle Eastern Migrant Women In Australia

Authors

  • Violeta Lopez Nahas RN, NM, PhD,

    Corresponding author
      Professor Violeta Nahas, Room 305, Tsang Shiu Tim Building, United College, Nursing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong.
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    • Violeta Nahas is an associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She has extensive experience in maternal-child nursing in developing countries. Her area of expertise is qualitative research.

  • Sharon Hillege RN, CM, PhD Candidate,

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    • Sharon Hillege is an associate lecturer at the University of Sydney and is currently completing her PhD. She has experience in both pediatric nursing and midwifery nursing. Her focus of research is diabetes in adolescence and early adulthood. She is using grounded theory and symbolic interaction as a framework for her research.

  • Nawal Amasheh RN, CM Grad Dip. Community

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    • Nawal Amasheh currently works as a bilingual (Arabic-English) maternity liaison officer at Auburn Hospital and Community Health Services in Sydney. She has extensive experience in maternal-child nursing and midwifery. Prior to migrating to Australia, she worked as a public health officer with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) at the refugee camps in Jordan.


Professor Violeta Nahas, Room 305, Tsang Shiu Tim Building, United College, Nursing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong.

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study was to explore the lived experiences of postpartum depression among the Middle Eastern women living in Sydney, Australia. A phenomenologic research design was used to conduct in-depth, unstructured interviews with a purposive sample of 45 mothers who had experienced postpartum depression. The interviews were conducted in the mothers' homes. Transcriptions of these interviews were analyzed using Colaizzi's (1978) phenomenologic method. Five themes emerged that illustrated the Middle Eastern woman's experiences of postpartum depression: 1) loneliness due to feelings of isolation and lack of social support, 2) helplessness due to inability to cope with the overwhelming task of fulfilling her traditional role as mother and wife, 3) fear of failure and being labeled a “bad mother” by in-laws, 4) insufficient knowledge about postpartum depression and available support services, and 5) coming to terms with postpartum depression by undertaking diversional activities and learning new skills. The exhaustive description of postpartum depression as experienced by the women that emerged from this phenomenologic study will help midwives and other health care professionals to be more sensitive to and understanding of women from different cultural backgrounds so that appropriate interventions can be designed that meet their specific needs and beliefs.

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