Evidence about anxiety in the postpartum is sparse and contradictory. Our research expands this knowledge by using a qualitative methodology, the Feminist Biographical Method, to explore first time mothers’ experiences of postpartum anxiety. Data collection included 1.5 to 2.0 hour interviews with six women about their experiences of anxiety in their transition to motherhood. We transcribed the interviews and used an iterative hermeneutic coding process to develop themes and subthemes over the course of four coding cycles. The findings include five major themes: (a) experiences of anxiety, (b) expectations of a new mother, (c) issues of support, (d) societal scripts of motherhood, and (e) the transition. One conclusion that we draw is the need for healthcare professionals to provide improved support and validation to new mothers facing postpartum anxiety, by expanding the definition of postpartum distress, especially anxiety, and by better understanding women’s anxiety through culturally - embedded contextual and relational lenses.


Anxiety, Biographical, Feminist, Hermeneutics, Interpretive Methods, Mothers, Postpartum, Women’s Health

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