The suffering associated with postpartum depression (PPD) has been well documented in both quantitative and qualitative literature. Inquiry into the experience of PPD as transformational or producing personal growth does not exist. The objective of this grounded theory study was to explain and describe the nature of transformation through PPD. Methods included 1 to 1.5 hour interviews with a theoretical sample of 20 women self-identifying as (a) having had PPD, and (b) considered the experience transformational. No definition of transformation was given to intentionally avoid bias. A total of 328 pages of transcribed interviews were coded in open, axial, and selective order using iterative constant comparison, and reflective coding matrices. Four core categories of transformation through PPD emerged: (a) Before / I was unprepared, (b) During / I was shattered, (c) After / I am a different person, and (d) Beyond / I was meant to have PPD. Women were unprepared for the onset of symptoms, shattered by the physical and psychological symptoms during PPD, including suicidal ideation. Despite care provider failure to screen, women acted as agents in accessing their own care. After cessation of symptoms women experienced increased self-confidence, compassion for others, and enhanced relationships. All women reported achieving new professional or vocational goals such as authoring books, returning to school, or changing careers. Women reported increased sense of purpose and meaning to life as a result of their experience of struggling to survive PPD. The theory discovered was that PPD can be experienced as a traumatic life event, through which post-traumatic growth can occur. Future research into the experience of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder as a traumatic life event expands the understanding of the mechanisms of human potential through suffering and provides insight into treatment, assessment, and prevention.
|Advisor:||McCaslin, Mark L.|
|Commitee:||Kendall-Tackett, Kathleen, Netzer, Dorit|
|School:||Institute of Transpersonal Psychology|
|Department:||Global Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Philosophy, Womens studies, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Grounded theory, Perinatal mood disorder, Postpartum depression, Posttraumatic growth, Transformation, Women's development|
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