The author reports no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.
Enablers and Barriers to Seeking Help for a Postpartum Mood Disorder
Article first published online: 19 JUL 2011
© 2011 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Volume 40, Issue 4, pages 450–457, July/August 2011
How to Cite
Foulkes, M. (2011), Enablers and Barriers to Seeking Help for a Postpartum Mood Disorder. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 40: 450–457. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2011.01264.x
- Issue published online: 19 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 19 JUL 2011
- Accepted April 2011
- postpartum mood disorders;
- help-seeking behaviors;
Objective: To explore the barriers and enablers identified by women experiencing a postpartum mood disorder (PPMD) that preclude and facilitate their help-seeking behaviors for this often devastating illness.
Design: A qualitative study using a grounded theory approach.
Setting: Well-Baby Clinics offered through the Public Health Department, Early Years Centres, Mothercraft, and a Parent Resource Centre in a large Canadian city.
Participants: Ten women who had either been formally diagnosed as having a PPMD or who self-identified as experiencing a constellation of symptoms indicative of a PPMD.
Methods: Interviews that were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a grounded theory approach as described by Strauss and Corbin.
Results: The core category of “having postpartum” captured the essence of women's experiences in seeking help for a PPMD. Women identified four main stressors that contributed to their development of a PPMD, two barrier categories, and an enabler category that influenced their help-seeking behaviors. Through navigation of formal and informal help, women were able to begin to reclaim the mothering instincts they had lost to mental illness.
Conclusions: Pregnancy, birth, and becoming a mother collectively represent a critical period of physical and emotional upheaval in a woman's life. The need for a holistic care approach that supports the emotional and physical health of the dyad is imperative.