Postnatal depression : the significance of social contacts between mothers
This article explores an aspect of women's experiences of postnatal depression that has remained largely invisible within research in this subject area - namely, depressed mothers' social contacts with other mothers with young children. Evidence from a recent qualitative, empirical study of how and why some women feel depressed following childbirth indicates that the extent and nature of these relationships are critical to mothers' feelings of psychological and emotional well-being. Feelings of isolation from other mothers through depressed mothers' own social withdrawal from these women were associated with the onset of their depression. Conversely, the mothers linked their journeys out of depression to the renewal of these relationships. The article concludes by outlining some of the implications of these findings, both for further research and for policy issues related to postnatal depression.