Open Journal of Nursing

Volume 7, Issue 8 (August 2017)

ISSN Print: 2162-5336   ISSN Online: 2162-5344

Google-based Impact Factor: 1.03  Citations  h5-index & Ranking

Lost in a Nameless Chaos—Women’s Experiences of Postpartum Depression: A Meta-Ethnographic Study

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DOI: 10.4236/ojn.2017.78071    804 Downloads   1,515 Views  Citations


Postpartum depression is a common complication related to childbearing with an estimated prevalence of 10% - 15%. The aim of the study was to explore and synthesize qualitative empirical studies published between 2005 and 2016 that describe women’s experiences of postpartum depression. Ten qualitative studies describing different perspectives on women’s experiences of postpartum depression were summarized and synthesized using Noblit and Hare’s 7-step meta-ethnographical method. Four central metaphors described women’s experiences of postpartum depression: Feeling trapped by reality, Experiencing a nameless chaos, Struggling to find a way out and Being seen as a normal but suffering person. The findings resulted in the following synthesis: The women expected the transition to motherhood to be a joyous experience. Instead, they found it painful, lonely and experienced losing themselves in a nameless chaos. Motherhood is challenged when women experience losing themselves due to depression rather than building a new identity as a mother. Such a situation causes chaos, shame, anxiety and isolation. When seeking professional help, it is essential that the woman is encountered with empathy and professional knowledge, rather than a pat on the back and an underestimation of her problems.

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Dahl, B. , Hermansen, M. and Severinsson, E. (2017) Lost in a Nameless Chaos—Women’s Experiences of Postpartum Depression: A Meta-Ethnographic Study. Open Journal of Nursing, 7, 962-977. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2017.78071.

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