Do you . . .
- Have trouble sleeping?
- Find you’re exhausted most of the time?
- Notice a decrease in your appetite?
- Worry about little things that never used to bother you?
- Wonder if you’ll ever have time to yourself again?
- Think your children would be better off without you?
- Worry that your partner will get tired of you feeling this way?
- Snap at your partner and children over everything?
- Think everyone else is a better mother than you are?
- Cry over the slightest thing?
- No longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy?
- Isolate yourself from your friends and neighbors?
- Fear leaving the house or being alone?
- Have anxiety attacks?
- Have unexplained anger?
- Have difficulty concentrating?
- Think something else is wrong with you or your marriage?
- Feel like you will always feel this way and never get better?
Many new mothers will experience some of these feelings. If you answered yes to more than three of these question, you may have postpartum depression. PPD affects approximately 20% of all postpartum women. It is a real illness. It is very treatable. Do not deny yourself the opportunity to feel good again. Do not let misinformation, uncertainty, shame, finances, embarrassment, or denial get in the way of you getting the help you need. Talk to your doctor. Talk to your husband. Once you decide to seek treatment, you will be on the road to feeling better.
The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)
The EPDS is a 10-item, assessment tool that takes about 5 minutes and is simple to score. This scale has been validated with a number of research studies which have shown the tool to be a reliable measure of depression during the postpartum period. A score of 10-12 is considered the cut off for PPD. Most doctors are now familiar with this screening tool. If you are worried about the way you are feeling, it might be helpful for you to complete this assessment and bring the results in to your doctor.
The Postpartum Distress Measure (PDM)*
This measurement is a new development and has not yet been validated. Clinicians are free to use it to get a sense of a constellation of symptoms. Women are also free to use it and bring the results in to their doctor and their therapist. One of the advantages of this newest screening tool is that it incorporates anxiety symptoms. “Previous measures of postpartum distress have focused on depressed mood despite evidence that postpartum anxiety is just as prevalent. The purpose of this study was to develop a new, brief screening measure to identify postpartum distress, defined as symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
*Kelly C. Allison, Amy Wenzel, Karen Kleiman, and David B. Sarwer. Journal of Women’s Health. April 2011, 20(4): 617-623.