*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.
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Saturday, March 7 • 10:45am - 12:00pm
The Experience of Working With Native American Mothers with Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum Depression (PPD) occurs in 10-20% of mothers globally; cultural attributions about PPD differ. This study used qualitative, phenomenological methodology, interviewing six dominant culture caregivers, to investigate how Native American women in the Southwestern United States understand the transition to motherhood and caregivers’ experiences working with the mothers. Results indicate that many Native American women experience multiple life stressors, often PPD risk factors: poverty, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, sexual abuse, incarceration, gang activity, and domestic violence. Mothers are often overwhelmed and do not reflect on the meaning of motherhood. It is an expected life event. Results indicate that Native Americans define motherhood in broad, fluid terms. If a biological mother cannot care for her child, family may appoint a woman as the child’s mother. Most women accept the responsibility but the transition can be difficult. Helping both birth mothers and socially appointed mothers requires a broader perspective than the PPD diagnosis. Historically, Native American children were forcibly removed from their families and placed in boarding schools. The resultant loss of identity, family connections, access to traditional teachings, and exposure to trauma, have had lasting effects. Results indicate that the boarding school years continue to directly impact motherhood and parenting. Participants described a need for self-awareness about judgments and assumptions, and patience in rapport building. Consistency is key to building trust. Clients who miss appointments, the multiple needs of families, and challenges of systems work, create difficulties that may lead to burn out. Native American mothers may benefit from connecting to traditional elders and to other mothers, creating a circle of support. Advocacy and referrals can address life stressors. Direct exploration of historical trauma may reduce self-blame and build hope. Caregivers need self-awareness and good self-care to reduce burn out. Dominant culture caregivers can promote social justice for Native American people.

Saturday March 7, 2015 10:45am - 12:00pm PST