Postpartum Depression Test, Steps and Checklist
Postpartum Depression Help and Steps to Cure It
If you have a read over my previous article for Postpartum Depression Help, then you will see my definition of what it felt like for me.
For anyone struggling with PPD, I want you to know that there is help out there, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and with some hard work and dedication you will get through this.
PPD for me, was not going to go away on its own. After the initial apparent “PPD phase” was supposed to be over (after the first year) I still continued to struggle. What is wrong with me? Is this just how I will feel forever now? The answer is that this is not your fault, it is common and you can get help.
Depression and Anxiety Checklist
Here is a checklist I have created to try and get you headed in the right direction to start feeling like your badass self again!
1. Postpartum Depression Test
Again, I am not a doctor, but I am a mom that severely struggled with PPD. Here are the links to the exact tests that my doctor had me fill out when I had my first PPD appointment. It will give you an idea how deep into it you are and if you should seek help.
This test is out of 27, with 27/27 being severe depression. Remember, it is normal to score some points as you are human and have just gone through one of the biggest stressors in life (having a baby)!
This test is out of 21, with 21/21 being severe anxiety. Again, having some points in only human!
2. Make A Doctor Appointment
Now that you have taken the tests, the second step is to please make a doctor appointment and share your results. You and your doctor should set up an action plan to begin recovering.
3. Talk To Someone
Talk to someone. Your doctor may refer you to a psychologist or therapist. In my case, because I am a military wife I received counselling through the military support system. This is where you can work through any trauma from your pregnancy or labour and delivery. Tell them your fears, worry’s and concerns. The more transparent you are, the better they can help you.
4. Self Care
Once you and your doctor have a plan and you find a professional to talk to, what can you do from your own home to help?
Daily Practices to Battle Postpartum Depression
-Avoid isolation. If you feel like you do not want to leave the house, that’s ok for now. But FaceTime, call a friend, join a mom forum, just interact with other humans.
-Stay hydrated. It is easy to neglect yourself with a newborn demanding your attention. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink a glass of water every 2 hours throughout the day.
-Work on your hygiene. When baby is sleeping, or in the swing, or husband is home, etc. brush your teeth, wash your face, better yet...have a shower! Blow dry your hair and get dressed. Now look in the mirror and congratulate yourself on how well you clean up!
-Eat something. Some good advice out there is during your pregnancy to freeze already made meals for when you don’t want to cook or don’t have the time. Now is the time to dig through that freezer. PPD may make you feel not hungry, but find a way to nourish your body. Sip on a smoothie, order pizza, whatever! Just eat.
-Do some skin to skin with your baby. Turn on a good TV series and strip off those clothes. Grab baby and a blanket and snuggle up chest to chest. Get those love vibes flowing and hopefully you can both drift off to sleep in each others arms.
5. Create A Plan
Create a plan to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Write down things in your daily life that cause you to feel overwhelmed and start tackling them one by one. Is the thought of cleaning your house giving you anxiety? Consider hiring a maid once a week to change the sheets, wash the floors and tidy up. If you cannot afford a maid, consider asking a loved one to make this your baby gift instead of more diapers!
6. Do You Need Medication?
Do not be afraid of medication. If part of your doctors plan of attack for PPD is to start you on an anti-depressant, it may just be exactly what you need. After having been on birth control for a long time, then an anti-depressant in my 20’s, then through the hormonal changes of pregnancy...my brain chemistry was so out of whack that I needed medication. I was not going to come out of depression without it. My medication saved my life and I do not regret starting it one bit.
If you have questions about what medication I am on, please do not hesitate to email me!
Are you noticing a difference now?
Now you have seen your doctor, found someone to talk to, practiced some daily self care habits and have a plan to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Curing PPD can take awhile. For me, it was 2 years. However, the first year I made no attempt at helping myself and suffered through it, not knowing that life did not have to be that way.
Once you have taken the above steps, continue through this list to make sure you get yourself to a place where you like (or maybe even love) life again!
7. Me Time
Have “me” time. Enlist your husband to be mom for a day, or an hour, or 20 minutes. Leave him a to do list so that you feel like your me time isn’t taking away from the time it takes to maintain a house or your baby. Have a bath, go shopping, read a book with headphones on, just do something that does not involve your husband or your baby.
8. Find Your Passion
Remember the old you? Ya, me neither. You need to dig in to your brain a bit and possibly do some research. This one was very important for me. Once I was a mom, I forgot that I used to like “stuff”. Like who has time to think about their own interests when they have a newborn!
Take your "me" time, babies nap time, or that awesome skin to skin time, and brainstorm. What is something you would like to do (or used to do) that will bring you pleasure? For me, it was writing. I started this blog firstly to help new moms, but also as a way to release all my brain activity in one spot. I thoroughly enjoy writing, and feel a large sense of accomplishment after having posted a new article.
This Too Shall Pass...if you work at it.
Remember to follow the instructions of your doctor and therapist first, but also print this page and put it somewhere you will see it. How far have you come on your recovery journey? How much effort are you putting in? I promise my beautiful friend, you are not alone in this.
If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment with helpful advice or your own experience, please do so in the comment box!