O Mother, Where Art Thou: Exploring the Terrain of Postpartum Psychiatric Disorder

Dossi, Dolora (2009) O Mother, Where Art Thou: Exploring the Terrain of Postpartum Psychiatric Disorder. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


Download (1MB) | Preview


Postpartum psychiatric illness has been pondered since Hippocrates referred to a postpartum fever in 460 BC. During the 19th century, a systematic approach to identifying postpartum psychiatric disorders was developed. This research advanced theories regarding the etiology, classification, and treatment of postpartum psychiatric illness and promoted the idea that postpartum psychiatric disorders warranted a distinct diagnosis from general psychoses or mood disorders. Since then, progress diminished for nearly 100 years. As of 1980, a resurgence in the study of postpartum psychiatric disorders has emerged. However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fails to recognize postpartum psychiatric disorders as a distinct entity. This Clinical Case Study explores the on-going therapy of a young woman who was a first-time mother experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD). The literature on postpartum psychiatric illness fails to generate consensus regarding the biological etiology or treatment protocol for postpartum disorders. This lack of agreement lends opportunity for alternative deliberations. Therapeutic methods in this case study included the use of ritual, hypnosis, art-making, embodiment, and cognitive and narrative techniques. The client fully engaged in therapy and found working with images and hypnosis helpful. She benefited from exploring her life as a mythic narrative. This study’s major learning explored postpartum depression as a voice of soul. The shift in emphasis from cure of a symptom to care enabled a broader search into the meaning of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is viewed not only as a personal pathology, but also as one with cultural and archetypal implications. Tracing the Great Mother myth’s gradual decline throughout history provided a mythic parallel to the modern experience of motherhood. The emphasis on postpartum depression as a distinctive entity accentuates the need for the psychiatric community to reconsider PPD as a separate classification replete with the understanding of the unique circumstances of motherhood.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Dolora Dossi
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 21:49
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 21:49
URI: http://scholarship.meridianuniversity.edu/id/eprint/112

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item