Researchers estimate that 10-15% of women suffer from postnatal depression to some extent. Psychologists from Loma Linda University in California analysed nine qualitative studies into the experience of women with postnatal depression to see what they had in common. They found that in all the studies women felt they had failed to live up to their culture's definition of a good mother and also felt that they could not talk about their feelings. Their idealistic ideas about what made a good mother and a lack of support from other people combined with their own feelings of incompetence to lead to them becoming isolated from other people. They got through their problems by getting support from people who knew what they were going through, support which helped them to reconnect to other people. The conclusions of the study suggested that the women needed help from relationship experts to build better relationships with those around them.
Knudson-Martin, Carmen and Silverstein, Rachelle - Suffering in silence: a qualitative meta-data-analysis of postpartum depression Journal of Marital and Family Therapy April 2009, 35(2), 145-158