Perinatal Depression Assessment: Do you or your loved one suffer from Regular Depression or Perinatal Depression? If you are not sure, use this assessment to help you determine what type of depression you or a loved one suffer from. If you or your loved one is pregnant or recently had a child, ask yourself or your loved one the following questions:
- Do you experience extreme feelings? Such as sadness? Inappropriately guilty? High anxiety? Depression that seems beyond what the situation might call for? Do you feel hopeless? Confused?
- Are these extreme feelings something that you have felt before or does this feel different to you?
- Do you typically struggle with low self-esteem? Or is the daunting task of motherhood raising self-esteem issue for you?
- Do you feel a sense of inadequacy? Have you always felt this way?
- Have you experienced a loss of appetite?
- Are you physically agitated?
- Do you have less energy than normal?
- Do you experience an inability to make decisions?
- Are you having suicidal thoughts?
- Are you having homicidal thoughts?
- If you answered yes to at least five of the questions, then you, or your loved one are likely suffering from a perinatal (during and after pregnancy) mood disorder and would benefit from an evaluation by a professional.
- If you answered yes to having suicidal or homicidal thoughts, then you should seek immediate assistance. Contact the caregiver who delivered your baby and ask for help. If she/he is not available, go to closest emergency room and ask for a psychiatric evaluation.
Women who have a history of depression, or are undergoing stressful life events are at a higher risk for experiencing a perinatal mood disorder.
Just because women in all normal pregnancies experience exhaustion, appetite changes, poor sleep, which is similar to typical signs of depression, does not mean you are not depressed. Depression is real.
More On Depression
Depression is a common problem during and after pregnancy. Pregnancy is a life altering stage in life, both physically and mentally. Often depression is not recognized or treated because ‘healthy’ pregnancy cause women to experience similar symptoms: body weight changes, sleep disturbances (peeing throughout the night, crying babies who need food), exhaustion (your body is working double time while pregnant and then after the baby is born, you are catering to a child eats and sleeps in 2-3 hour increments.) Women who simply feel like they have the baby blues may benefit from the same resources as women who have postpartum depression. Consider joining a baby blues support group a postpartum depression support group or enrolling in some Mommy and Me classes.
To reduce mom’s experience of depression, we strongly encourage her friends and family to focus all of their energy on caring for “mom.” By catering to mom’s every needs, she is more able to focus on herself and caregiving for baby. What this looks like:
- Food shopping for mom
- Preparing meals for mom
- Doing all the dishes for mom
- Cleaning the house for mom
- Washing mom and baby’s clothes
- Screening phone calls for mom
- Caring for mom’s other children
- Talking with mom about her feelings and needs
- Changing baby’s diaper – so that mom only needs to feed baby
- Asking mom if she wants you to hold baby so that she can take a shower
- Doing all manual labor for mom
- Creating the room for mom to take mini-naps when her baby does
In summary: new mothers benefit tremendously when all of your attention is on mom so that she can focus all of her energy on caring for baby. Focusing your energy on mom may at first seem ironic because it may seem like it is the baby that needs the most help. However, in this scenario new mom's need all of your support as they embark on this new journey of motherhood. Learning to care for another is challenging. Your only job is caring for her so that she can care for her child. If mom is feeling struggling, she may need you to be with her 24/7 so that she is getting the support that she needs. If mom is suicidal or homicidal your job is to involve a professional so that mom and baby can get the help they need.