Couples' Experiences of Maternal Postpartum Depression.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


To understand the processes that couples navigate as they cope with maternal postpartum depression (PPD) in early parenthood.


Qualitative, interpretive phenomenological study.


Community setting in the western United States.


A convenience sample of 10 couples (N = 20, 10 mothers and 10 fathers) who indicated they had maternal diagnoses of PPD after the births of their first children within the last 3 years.


Couples were interviewed together and then individually with the use of a semistructured interview guide. Narrative and thematic analyses were used to understand couples' lived experiences of PPD.


Participants cocreated their experiences of maternal PPD. Three primary phases in the pattern of coping with PPD were identified: Dismissal (couples attempted to normalize their experiences and protect the mother from judgment), Acknowledgment (couples revealed their concerns, the first step in the process of seeking help), and Accommodation (process of trial and error used to find a way to meet the needs of the mother).


Our findings suggest that practitioners must support the needs of the entire family, including fathers, when mothers have a diagnosis of PPD. Fathers support mothers during this difficult experience but not without an increased burden of stress to themselves.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • O'Brien, AJ; Chesla, CA; Humphreys, JC

Published Date

  • May 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 48 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 341 - 350

PubMed ID

  • 31034789

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-6909

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0884-2175

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jogn.2019.04.284


  • eng