Surviving postnatal depression: The male perspective
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Aim The study aim was to hear the male voice describing the experience of postnatal depression (PND) and to develop a conceptual framework, which would explain this experience. Background Given the relatively large body of research on the nature of PND from the woman's perspective and the general movement towards family-centred practice, it seemed timely to undertake a study that concentrated on the male experience of having a partner with PND. Method Seven men whose partners were currently experiencing, or who had recently experienced moderate to severe PND, participated in unstructured interviews. Grounded theory methodology was used to explore the male experience of living with a partner suffering from PND. Results Data analysis revealed four categories in the process of living through the experience of a partner's PND: "out of control", "coming to the realisation", "making sense of it", and "the road to recovery". The core variable, "surviving PND" integrates the categories and encapsulates the process of transition experienced by the men. Conclusions The consequences of "surviving PND" are explained by the men as both losses and gains. For some men there was a sense of vulnerability and emotional drain because they had poured so much energy and self into the women and their needs for recovery. "Surviving PND" also had significant impact on the relationship, both in a positive and negative way. In addition, all men developed an increased understanding and gained personal insight into themselves, their partner and people in general. Implications for clinical practice This research increases our understanding of the male experience of PND and may be drawn on to inform the practice of nurses and other health care or early parenting professionals.
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