1st Edition

Post-Natal Depression Psychology, Science and the Transition to Motherhood

By Paula Nicolson Copyright 1998

    Post-Natal Depression challenges the expectation that it is normal to be a 'happy mother'. It provides a radical critique of the traditional medical and social science explanations of 'post natal depression' by supplying a systematic feminist psychological analysis of women's experiences following childbirth. Paula Nicolson argues that, far from it being an abnormal, undesirable, pathological condition, it is a normal, healthy response to a series of losses.
    Post Natal Depression makes an important contribution to the psychology of women and feminist research and will be of interst to psychologists, social scientists, nurses and doctors.

    Introduction 1 Women’s experience of motherhood 2 Competing explanations of post-natal depression 3 The context of post-natal depression 4 Post-natal care and ‘maternity blues’ 5 Reflexivity, intervention and the construction of post-natal depression 6 Loss, happiness and post-natal depression: the ultimate paradox 7 Knowledge, myth and the meaning of post-natal depression


    Paula Nicolson is Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology at the Sheffield School for Health and Related Research, Sheffield University. Her previous publications include Gender, Power and Organization (1996), Female Sexuality (1994; edited with Precilla Choi), and Gender Issues in Clinical Psychology (1992; edited with Jane Ussher).

    'I would recommend this book wholeheartedly both to those working in the field, whether as researcher or practitioner, or for students. The book could also provide much food for thought for the more general reader of health and clinical issues.' - Deborah Biggerstaff, University of Birmingham, in the 'Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology'

    'Whilst written from a perspective of feminist research, this book provides a wide view of the social factors affecting mothers who experience post-natal depression . . . The subject of post-natal depression, as presented here, would be of interest not only to psychologists and social scientists but also to midwives and health visitors, as in these professions a broad view of childbirth as a normal, healthy life event is increasingly encouraged.' - Health Psychology Update