"I thought I knew what it meant for patients to hear a diagnosis of postpartum depression," writes family physician Tara Frankhouser, DO. After the birth of her first child, however, she found that the reality of the condition was much different than she anticipated. In a qualitative study using autoethnography -- a method of self-reflection and analysis of personal and cultural experiences -- Dr. Frankhouser identifies issues that shape the experience of postpartum depression, including standards of intensive mothering, feelings of guilt, and the stigma of mental illness. She encourages physicians to let patients know that postpartum depression does not define them, that there is healing ahead, and that, as her story exemplifies, they are not alone.
An Autoethnographic Examination of Postpartum Depression
Tara Lynn Frankhouser, DO, et al
Piedmont HealthCare Family Medicine, Statesville, NC