When giving life starts to take the life out of you: women's experiences of depression after childbirth Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To capture the missing voices of mothers who are suffering postnatal depression. DESIGN: Qualitative methodology using in-depth interviews. SETTING: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: 10 women who had been clinically diagnosed and admitted to a large hospital mother and baby unit in Australia. FINDINGS: Stigma is frequently attached to women who are unhappy after the birth of their child, because they are not coping with the demands of motherhood or do not instantly bond with, and love, their baby. As a result, postnatal depression can be a terrifying and isolating experience for women. It is also a complex illness with varying degrees, reasons for onset and medical treatments. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: In this study, we have captured the emotions and feelings of women first hand, allowing us and health-care practitioners who are treating women to truly understand this debilitating illness. It is hoped that, in making the wider community aware of depression after childbirth, fewer women will suffer in silence.

publication date

  • March 2007