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Postpartum Psychosis and Beyond: Exploring Mothers’ Experiences of Postpartum Psychosis and Recovery.

Chotai, Shivani (2016) Postpartum Psychosis and Beyond: Exploring Mothers’ Experiences of Postpartum Psychosis and Recovery. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.


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Abstract or description

The aim of this thesis is to provide an understanding of motherhood and the mother-infant relationship within the context of postnatal distress. To facilitate this, it is necessary to understand universal experiences of motherhood as well as mental health difficulties following childbirth. Part of this understanding includes mothers’ experiences and management of distressing, repetitive thoughts of infant harm. Therefore, paper one consists of a literature review in which 10 empirical studies regarding thoughts of intentional infant harm (TIIHs) were critically appraised and synthesised. These thoughts were experienced in clinical and non-clinical samples. Common themes were found in terms of cognitive, emotional and behavioural responses to TIIHs and understood within the context of the parenting role. This review differentiated TIIHs between psychotic and non-psychotic difficulties and identified the need to understand such thoughts within mothers’ experiences of postpartum psychosis (PP).
Paper two is a qualitative study exploring mothers’ experiences of PP and recovery. Purposive sampling was used to interview eight women across the United Kingdom. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009) and four super-ordinate themes were identified: ‘becoming unrecognisable’, ‘mourning losses’, ‘recovery as an ongoing process’ and ‘post-traumatic growth’. These themes demonstrated the need for physical and psychological space to facilitate recovery following childbirth.
Paper three provides a personal reflective account of completing this thesis. The dynamic process of transitioning to a qualified psychologist is likened to the transformative process of motherhood. Ethical issues and the recent surge in perinatal mental health awareness are presented.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Health Sciences > Psychology, Sport and Exercise
Depositing User: Jeffrey HENSON
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2016 15:32
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 13:42

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