Year of Publication

2021

Date of Thesis

02-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Occupational Therapy

Subject Categories

Occupational therapy

Abstract

The transition to motherhood is a significant life event that oftentimes comes paired with changes to one’s emotional state. Some mothers experience an episode of major depression either during pregnancy or shortly following childbirth that significantly impacts their ability to fully participate in life, known as postpartum depression (PPD). There is a gap in the literature exploring the impact of PPD on the lived experience of mothers. The purpose of this thesis study was to provide three examples of the lived experience of mothers with PPD, including how participation in routines and roles may be impacted. This qualitative study utilized narrative inquiry to collect data via two semi-structured interviews held on a virtual conferencing platform with three first-time mothers diagnosed with PPD living in the United States. Two themes emerged that represented the impact of PPD on a mother’s daily lived experience: disruption of daily occupations due to PPD symptoms and role conflict. Three themes emerged that described aspects from the participant’s stories that supported recovery from PPD: the healing aspect of reintegrating routine, redefining leisure, and the importance of social support. Results demonstrated how PPD may affect one’s ability to fully participate in life through engagement in meaningful occupations and roles, which has implications for overall health and wellness. Additionally, examples of what mothers felt was most supportive for their recovery may help inform professional intervention. Further research is needed on this topic to achieve results that are generalizable to the whole population of mothers with PPD.

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