a group of mothers, who had given birth 4 to 6 weeks earlier, not having the feeling of living a psychological disorder or depression (group 1);
a group of mothers, who had given birth 4 to 6 weeks earlier, showing a psychological disorder or having the impression of living a depression (group 2);
a group of mothers, who had given birth 10 to 14 months earlier, not having the feeling of having experienced a major psychological disorder after childbirth and for whom postnatal depression had not been diagnosed (group 3);
a group of mothers, who had given birth 10 to 14 months earlier, having experienced a major psychological disorder after childbirth (undiagnosed) or for whom postnatal depression had been diagnosed (group 4).
Group 1 (n = 10)
Group 2 (n = 5)
Group 3 (n = 2)
Group 4 (n = 5)
Total population (n = 22)
Age (years; mean ± SD)
33.3 ± 5.27
30.6 ± 4.56
27.5 ± 0.71
29.4 ± 3.21
31.3 ± 4.70
Marital status (n (%))
First pregnancy (n (%))
Gender of children
EPDS score after 1 month (/20; mean ± SD)
7.40 ± 2.32
13.6 ± 3.51
11.5 ± 6.36
19.5 ± 9.85
11.6 ± 6.61
EPDS score after 6 months (/20; mean ± SD)
10.0 ± 0.00
10.0 ± 6.48
10.0 ± 5.02
EPDS score after 1 year (/20; mean ± SD)
8.00 ± 1.41
6.50 ± 4.65
7.00 ± 3.74
Identified needs & needs’ sub-categories
Description / Examples
Need of information
-Reimbursement system available
-“What should I do?” (In case of fever, jaundice, colic, constipation, for growth spikes, breastfeeding, first teeth ...): “when should I worry and consult?”
-Need for regular medical visits: especially at the beginning of the return at home
-Furnishing of the room
-Teat or not?
-Couple and sexuality management
-Nursery: how it happens?
Social idealization of the motherhood vs reality
-Be forewarned of the difficulty of adaptation
-Variable adaptation time
-Feeling outdated could be normal
-Variable time of taming of her child
-Declaration of birth
-Reimbursement system for some services
-Legislation (e.g. for to work)
RELIABILITY of the information
-Reliable, coherent and real information
-Recommended by professionals
Need to share experience
Need to compare their own experience with other experiences and to be reassured
Different source of sharing:
-Other Mothers (friends, social networking, discussion group, organised group session): some mothers prefer to talk with Experienced mothers and other mothers prefer to talk with woman in the same situation (baby of the same age)
Fight against the loneliness feeling
-Feeling of isolation and abandonment of a lot of mothers (especially for the first baby)
Activities / leisure
-Unpack / blow
-See other people
-Activities between young mothers to discuss the experience
Need of psychological support
-Need to be surrounded (experiencing social isolation ± strong)
-Need to be reassured
-Need to hear that they are doing well, that they are good mothers (skills/self-esteem)
-Need to be understood: empathy of the entourage and the professionals
➢Mother’s psychological distress and/or Pathology revealed in children
-Need of psychologists, psychiatrist or other professionals if necessary; medicines (e.g. antidepressants) ...
Need of practical and material support
-Domestic help: cleaning, ironing, cooking, shopping ...
-Involvement of the father is required
-Help to have time to take care of her baby (not the opposite: help to take care of the baby while the mother cleans!)
-System of “service vouchers” reimbursed in the first weeks after childbirth
Need of information
“Although we know that it may be a bit difficult, they (the mothers) are there with their photos, with their baby. On the photos, everything is peachy ... we finally believe that it’s all true! I thought it would be just like on TV, I would go walking with my baby, we would almost have discussions; almost like a little friend! But in fact, not at all! The first 3 months, there is really no exchange” (Interview 13).
“Beware of misconceptions: we’re not in a heavenly thing, it is hard!” (Focus group with mothers).
“Even so during pregnancy, we are in something else and we’re probably not ready to hear it, we would like to be prepared, in late pregnancy, about what will happen after (first baby)” (Focus group with mothers).
“For a second baby, we know how to do but for a first baby, no one ever tells you! In fact, the phrase I heard the most during my pregnancy was “you'll see when the baby will be there”. What do you want me to see when the baby is here? You have to anticipate a little!” (Interview 2).
“We do not give a lot of credit to mums. For the first baby, I wasn’t listening to myself because I was listening to the “white blouse” (Author’s note: corresponding to health professionals). I took their advice as if it was an exact science but I should have listened to me. I was so stupid! I'm the mother. This is my child. I know better anyway ...” (Interview 11).
“I would have liked to have information about growth spurts, colic ... explanations about baby care: what can I give or not, additional water or not, pacifier or not ... There were times when he drank nothing: what should I have done?” (Interview 6, 1 st baby).
“I would have liked if someone had talked to me about infant acne and about the weird sounds that a baby makes because sometimes it's scary” (Interview 15, 3 rd baby).
“I think we do not have enough information on the babies’ food evolution (Authors’ note: meaning “introduction of novel foods”): if you don’t ask questions, you don't have information” (Interview 16, 2 nd baby).
“We would have liked to be told what activities we could do with the baby, when we could go out for the first time with him” (Focus group with dads).
“I think we are told a lot of things when on maternity ward but we don’t remember them. We need it to be more practical; perhaps medical or technical “How-to” sheets” (Interview 16).
“We didn’t know any osteopath who takes care of babies; nobody around us, we were the first to have a baby” (Interview 13).
“There is a lack of information on what exists: we have to look, ourselves, for a physio although it is prescribed by the gynaecologist! By chance, I’ve discovered physio group sessions, it was very good but you have to know that it exists!” (Focus group with mothers).
“I can’t return to work either morally or physically: I work far away and I don’t have a childcare solution. So I looked into the decrees to find a solution, I’m still waiting ... I would have liked to receive advice!” (Interview 5, high risk of PPD).
“[…] We need some administrative information: when and where do we register the birth, information on the possibility to do things in advance (during pregnancy) ... I didn’t even know that childbirth allowance existed” (Focus group with mothers).
“The Internet is really nice. It's pretty easy and it allows you to do some research when you have questions. But you can’t be sure to find reliable information” (Interview 7).
“We have lots of reading, I don’t really have the energy to read everything so I select some of them. I realized that from one booklet to another, different things are told. The ONE and the hospital where I gave birth do not say exactly the same thing either...” (Interview 11).
“Someone passed me some books: I read, month by month, what’s going to happen, it is interesting” (Interview 19).
Need of psychological support
“Mums should have a reference person, even already during pregnancy. Plus, mums would at least have a few visits and they would actually be less isolated” (Interview 11).
“We have a couple of friends who do not want children. I think it bothers them. We felt a gap already during pregnancy. I think it bothers them because we are no longer available” (Interview 18).
“I was really happy when she (ONE’s medical-social worker) came home; happy to have someone who comes and looks if everything goes well, just gives me confidence” (Interview 8, 1 st baby, she’s a midwife).
“For monitoring breastfeeding, a midwife came home and weighed my baby. She said “so, you see that it works well!” Then I told myself that I was not doing so bad. At the beginning, I would have liked that someone had come more regularly because to wait one week is sometimes too long” (Interview 6, 1 st baby).
“Mom, Dad, understand that I don’t want you to come now: not because I don’t want to see you but because I'm exhausted!” (Interview 1).
“Depression, we are never far away!” (Focus group with mothers).
“Leaflets on maternity wards speak about babies not about mums ... Mothers are forgotten!” (Focus group with mothers).
“I had a lot of help from the dad; it helped me a lot to be able to rely on him” (Interview 10).
“My husband supported me but he should have told me the truth: he saw that it was hurting me, I really wanted that damn breastfeeding, I wanted it at all costs ...” (Interview 2).
“I tell myself that I didn’t have any luck with their dad. I would have liked to have someone who was there with me ... It’s hard” (Interview 21, absent father).
“If I had a normal family, I would have wanted advice, but I have none! I can’t count on them” (Interview 5).
“I told everyone that it was a bad delivery. Nobody was listening when I was explaining that it was wrong, that I wasn’t well. I would have liked that someone told me that I was losing control, I was falling ... (into depression)” (Interview 2).
Need to share experience
“Is it normal to have the baby blues? Is it normal that I am still tired? Is it normal that one day, I'm very well and the next day, I’m in pain? Should I take a painkiller?” (Interview 11).
“Breastfeeding is sometimes very guilt-inducing because I do not always know if she (the baby) has eaten enough, for example. It's nice to have people around: friends who are already mothers, midwives, ONE medical social workers, paediatricians ... all contact-persons who helps you to stop feeling guilty” (Interview 7).
“I was lucky because there are some mums around me: either mums who have had several children and who reassured me (“it is normal, don’t worry about that”); or mothers who gave birth at the same time as me and who are going through the same nightmares” (Interview 5).
“I am the first to have a baby among my friends but I think they will only realize that they were little present when they’ll have children of their own” (Interview 8).
“Different friends come to visit almost every day probably exactly because they’d experienced this isolation too” (Interview 11).
“I think that social networks can be good because sometimes there are things that women are embarrassed to say and that they dare to write on the Internet (because of nicknames). They can share their true feelings or what really happened” (Interview 15).
“I'm on a webgroup of mums. We have children of all ages. Simply saying “how is it going with you?” It helps a lot” (Interview 5).
“Just to go out for an hour, that would be good!” (Interview 9).
“Just to take a breather, I miss that. I’m thinking about it but I still don’t know how to do it. It would be good to have someone who could look after your baby to enable you to have some leisure” (Interview 6).
“It’s difficult as long as I’m breastfeeding” (Interview 10).
Need of practical and material support
“We should have a family support worker during the first months, to get the time to get organized” (Interview 20).
“I would like him (father) to help a bit when he gets home from work or when he’s on holiday” (Interview 1).
“[...] My mother or my stepmother told me they were coming, but they were coming to take care of the baby while I was cleaning; I would have liked it to be the other way round” (Interview 1).
“I would like someone to look after the baby so I could sleep one hour” (Interview 5).
“In the beginning, an adapted service would be good; the time to settle” (Interview 1).
“A service voucher system reimbursed like for twins” (Interview 6).
Comparison between maternal needs and the perception of professionals and fathers
“In maternity ward, there is some control, that’s reassuring. After, women are left on their own, there is a loss of control and a lack of supervision” (Focus group with professionals).
“They have to gain confidence in what they do. There is no need of information for that: you don’t read about it, you just need confidence” (Focus group with professionals).
“We count the number of hours of sleep (Author’s note: to make sure each of them sleeps the same amount of time) and we divide daily tasks: I take care of the car and manual things; she takes care of the cooking, clothing, baby’s bag, …” (Focus group with fathers).
“We understand the stress of breastfeeding: it is a lot of responsibility. If she doesn’t do it well, the baby is not well”. (Focus group with fathers).
“All dads should do a workshop of house dad (Author’s note: to better understand their wives)” (Focus group with fathers).