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Keywords:

  • childbirth;
  • depression;
  • emotional difficulties;
  • motherhood

Summary

  • This paper reports on an investigation of women's experience of motherhood as a possible factor in the development of postpartum depression.
  • Several aspects of the experience of motherhood were found to be associated with depression in a sample of 60 first-time mothers. These included:
  • the social impact of motherhood,
  • the extent to which expectations of motherhood were met,
  • the adequacy of support received from partners or from the mothers' wider social networks.
  • It is argued that these findings, while tentative, are consistent with a social model of depression.
  • Implications for health professionals and other care providers are discussed.