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Silencing the Self Across CulturesDepression and Gender in the Social World$
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Dana C. Jack and Alisha Ali

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195398090

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195398090.001.0001

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“I Wasn't Being True to Myself”: Women's Narratives of Postpartum Depression

“I Wasn't Being True to Myself”: Women's Narratives of Postpartum Depression

(p.459) Chapter 21 “I Wasn't Being True to Myself”: Women's Narratives of Postpartum Depression
Silencing the Self Across Cultures

Natasha S. Mauthner

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the contrasting ways in which postpartum depression has been conceptualized based on varying theoretical and methodological approaches. The author presents an overview of cross-cultural, medical, social, and feminist perspectives on postpartum depression. She then discusses two qualitative studies she conducted in Britain and the United States to highlight the use of feminist relational theory and methodology. Drawing upon this research, the author concludes that women experiencing postpartum depression are engaged in struggles of attempting to conform to culturally derived and interpersonally upheld expectations of motherhood, but in doing so feel disconnected from parts of themselves, from other people, and from the surrounding culture. The chapter argues that this sense of disconnection results in a silencing of the self and ultimately in feelings of depression. The chapter also discusses implications for the prevention and treatment of postpartum depression using approaches that acknowledge these psychological and social factors.

Keywords:   postpartum depression, self-silencing, cultural factors, feminist perspectives, methodology, relational theory

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