Mothers have a lower status in society than street sweepers, making them feel unvalued, a Brit psychologist has suggested.
Oliver James said that women feel unvalued when they have children, putting them at higher risk of becoming depressed, especially poorer mothers as they have less fulfilling careers.
His comments echoed the results of a survey of 5,000 users of Netmums, the parenting website, which found that women with less money find bringing up babies less satisfying than richer ones.
About three-quarters of mothers on low incomes worried about money more than lack of sleep or their children's behaviour.
"That poorer mothers do not derive as much joy from having a baby as wealthier parents may be a matter of practicalities. It helps a great deal in enjoying babies if you can afford a cleaner, washing machine and nanny," the Telegraph quoted Dr James, as saying in response to the Netmums poll.
"Low income, relatively uneducated mothers are also less likely to look on their employment as a career and more as a job, for earning money and social contact.
"They may be happier giving it up and place higher hopes on the role of mother. Unfortunately, this has a lower status than that of street sweeper, so they feel unvalued.
"There may also be a bigger gap between their expectations of motherhood and the reality - they may have placed greater hopes in it. All the evidence shows that the greatest cause of depression in mothers is when expectation and reality are at greater variance," he said.
Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of Netmums, added: "The findings underscore how important it is that parents, and particularly those from lower income groups, get the support they need."