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Obstetrics and Gynecology International
Volume 2012, Article ID 593413, 6 pages
Research Article

Mothering Here and Mothering There: International Migration and Postbirth Mental Health

1Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 2A7
2Université Sainte-Anne, Pointe-de-l'Église, NS, Canada BOW 1M0
3Women’s Health Mission, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada H3H 2R9
4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Ingram School of Nurisng, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 2A7

Received 27 July 2012; Revised 11 October 2012; Accepted 15 October 2012

Academic Editor: Adrienne Einarson

Copyright © 2012 Stephanie S. Bouris et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Over 125,000 women immigrate to Canada yearly—most in their childbearing years and many having given birth before immigrating. We sought to (1) examine the background characteristics and mental health profile of women separated from their children due to migration and subsequently giving birth in Canada (“dual-country (DC) mothers”) and (2) contrast these with those of “non-dual-country” migrant mothers. Of 514 multiparous migrant women giving birth, one-fifth (18%) reported being separated from their children due to migration. Over one-third of DC mothers were living in poverty (36.0% versus 18.6%, ), and one in seven was experiencing household food insecurity (16.3% versus 7.6%, ). Over one-third had no partner (40.2% versus 11.4%, ), and nearly one-quarter reported no available support (23.1% versus 12.2%, ). Over three-quarters were asylum seekers or refugees (83.7% versus 51%, ). More DC than non-DC mothers had symptoms of postpartum depression (28.3% versus 18.6%, ), symptoms of clinical depression (23.1% versus 13.5%, ), and anxiety related to trauma (16.5% versus 9.4%, ). Results suggest that identifying DC mothers is a rapid approach to enable clinicians to target a subgroup of women needing special attention.