Associate Professor Robert Keefe, PhD alum Rebecca Rouland and colleagues publish article, "I Gotta Carry the Burden Myself": Experiences of Peripartum Depression among Low-Income Mothers of Color

Published November 26, 2021


Robert Keefe

Robert Keefe.

Congratulations to Associate Professsor Robert Keefe, PhD alum Rebecca Rouland, and their colleagues on the publication of their article, "I Gotta Carry the Burden Myself" in Advances in Social Work.

Keefe, R. H., Rouland, R. S., Lane, S. D., Howard, A., Brownstein-Evans, C., Wen, X., & Parks, L. (2021). “I gotta carry the burden by myself:” Experiences of peripartum depression among low-income mothers of color. Advances in Social Work, 21(1), 176-198.


Despite prevalence estimates indicating that upwards to 38% of new mothers of color will experience perinatal depression, little research has been published that investigates how they cope with the stressors in their daily lives. This article presents the findings of semi-structured in-depth interviews with 30 low-income new mothers of color about parenting their children despite the burden of ongoing depression. Narrative analyses revealed three themes: feeling alone, isolated, and overwhelmed; feeling misunderstood, betrayed, and judged by others; and having to carry their burden alone. Despite having depression, the mothers spoke of ways they were able to persevere even with the enormous burden of raising their children while living in high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. Recommendations include the need for social workers to recognize low-income mothers’ inner strengths; recognize why mothers may not trust professionals to be of help; and take the time to build strong therapeutic relationships with mothers who perceive their families, friends, partners, and often social service professionals as being of little help.