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  1. English, Jill ANP, RN, ACNS-BC
  2. Quillen, Terrilynn Fox PhD(c), MSN, RN
  3. Colbert, Alison PhD, PHCNS-BC

Article Content

Heading off postpartum depression

In 2015, my son turned 3. It felt like forever since I'd experienced postpartum depression in the early months after his birth. I was off antidepressants, had changed jobs, and moved to a new home. I felt like myself again.


I was so grateful that I'd shared my experience with depression in an article published by Nursing ("Opening Up about Postpartum Depression," September 2013). Many women who experienced postpartum depression but were too ashamed to seek treatment shared with me their own experiences of feeling lonely and isolated.


The decision to have more children after experiencing postpartum depression is a difficult one, but my husband and I took a leap of faith. We delivered a healthy baby boy in January 2017. Instead of waiting to be screened, I told every healthcare provider about my prior experience. They listened closely and helped create a plan that started the day our baby was born. Proactively taking an antidepressant changed my postpartum experience. I also tried to minimize the stressors in my life. These techniques steered my life down a path of positivity that allowed me to enjoy my second newborn differently. I continue to encourage women to talk about postpartum depression, and I look forward to the positive developments and treatments to come.




Mt. Holly, N.J.


Acknowledging spiritual distress

Thank you to the Nursing editorial team for introducing the Ethics inAction department last year. I especially enjoyed "Moral Distress: A Case Study" (October 2017). The authors present their case study with great clarity, especially in making the distinction between moral distress and emotional distress. However, I wish their exploration of moral distress had included a discussion on the corollary concept of spiritual distress.


Spiritual distress is defined as a state of suffering related to an impaired ability to experience meaning in life through connectedness with self, others, the world, or a superior being.1 Spiritual distress must be counted among the consequences of moral distress.




Saint Louis, Mo.



1. Caldeira S, Carvalho EC, Vieira M. Spiritual distress-proposing a new definition and defining characteristics. Int J Nurs Knowl. 2013;24(2):77-84. [Context Link]


The author responds: Thank you for this response. Your letter prompted me to explore this topic further. The nursing literature includes a body of knowledge on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of spiritual distress in patients, but essentially nothing on the experience of spiritual distress in nurses. As the nursing profession continues to discuss the experience of nurses in our increasingly complex and demanding care environment, we'd be well-served to explore spiritual distress in nurses and other healthcare professionals.