The Best and Worst Time of My Life: The Lived Experience and Meaning of Pregnancy in Women with Mild to Moderate Depression
Publication Date:March 2010
The notion that pregnancy can, for some women, be a time of unhappiness and depression has only recently been recognized in media and by the general public. Although researchers and clinicians have begun to study antenatal depression with regards to prevalence, associated factors, and treatment approaches and outcomes, less is known about women?s lived experience of this phenomenon. A hermeneutic phenomenological study was conducted with six pregnant women who scored 10, 11, or 12 on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, indicating mild to moderate symptoms of depression. Participants were interviewed individually regarding their experiences of depression during pregnancy. Data generated in the form of transcripts were analyzed and five themes emerged: disconnection vs. new connection and/or reconnection; loss of identity vs. new identity; fatigue and illness vs. vitality and wellness; anxiety and insecurity vs. confidence and security; and sadness and hopelessness vs. joy and expectation. The overarching shared meaning of these experiences was ambivalence. Findings provided rich, thick descriptions of the lived experience and meaning of antenatal depression. Future research and implications for counseling practice are discussed.Keywords: Pregnancy, antenatal depression, ambivalence, lived experience, lived meaning.
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