Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Postpartum depression has only recently been understood to affect individuals other than the biological mother (1). In such cases, postpartum depression has been attributed to the enormous psychological and social stress of the caretaking role, with its demands to nurture in the face of what may be the sense of having been insufficiently nurtured oneself (2). A growing number of grandparents, especially maternal grandmothers, are being asked to serve as primary caretakers for their grandchildren, due to circumstances which include adolescent childbearing, single parent families and substance abuse. A case report of a new grandmother with significant caretaking functions who developed major depression one month after the birth of her grandson will be discussed. It will be argued that a combination of hormonal, psychodynamic and social factors contributed to the development of what can best be conceptualized as postpartum depression.

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