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Three Black mother’s experiences of postnatal depression.

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This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of postnatal depression from the perspective of three Black African women living in South Africa. A large body of the present literature is from the Western perspective based on White middle-class women. Qualitative research on Black African women’s experiences of postnatal depression in South Africa is underrepresented. Quantitative literature currently available in South Africa focuses on identification and treatment of postnatal depression or on the relationship between postnatal depression and child development. While this quantitative body of research is important and highlights the context of motherhood it does not open the lived experience of postnatal depression up for exploration (Mauthner, 1998). The present research study aimed to open up the experience of postnatal depression for qualitative exploration from the position of Black South African women. Given the study’s exploratory position, the study explored how mothers experience motherhood and the factors that these mothers felt contributed to their postnatal depression. Three Black African mothers’ who were diagnosed with postnatal depression were purposively selected to share their experiences. Data was collected through the use of semi-structured interviews and analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis. Analysis of the data illustrates that, from the perspective of the participating mothers, wider social expectations of motherhood, adjustment to motherhood, social pressure and perceived fear of judgement contributed to women developing postnatal depression. It is recommended that mental health and public health professionals should consistently provide all mothers regardless of their circumstances and demographics with information on motherhood including childbirth and labor.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.