Though this particular assessment is not meant to diagnose (by tallying your score) I do provide you with valuable information after each question, helping to clarify whether or not you might be depressed and/or having a difficult time adjusting and could benefit from some support.
1. Are you dreading waking up to the day?
Caring for a baby day in and day out can lack reward and meaning, especially if a bond has not formed. I remember not enjoying my role as mother and feeling dread to begin another day of caring for my baby.
2. Were you happier prior to having a baby?
The role of parent is often described as the hardest job you’ll ever love, but for me it was the hardest job and I hated it, leading to some pretty tough days. If you were happier prior to having your baby, it’s normal to feel regret, but this can also lead to depression.
3. Are you overwhelmed in caring for your baby?
There are so many new things to take on in caring for a baby that it can be very overwhelming. If you’re overall feeling is that of overwhelm and not joy than depression may have a hold on you.
4. Are you feeling regret or like you made a mistake?
There was no joy for me in the beginning and this left me wondering if I had made a mistake. I now know many mothers feel this way, but let’s face it this is not talked about openly. This can leave you feeling vulnerable and lead to depression or the regret itself could be a symptom of postpartum depression.
5. Do you feel inadequate or under-prepared?
Sure, every mother may have a moment of feeling inadequate, but if this is a constant feeling it may be a sign of depression. Depressed mothers often feel that their baby would be better off with someone else as their mother.
6. Are you feeling shame or embarrassment for what you’re feeling?
I felt like a monster for not wanting my baby and not wanting to be a mother. I kept it to myself like a secret. This was not healthy and led to even more depression. Know that you are not alone and that support is available including opportunities to connect and hear from other mothers in a local support group.
7. Are you grieving your previous life and freedoms you had prior to having a baby?
I couldn’t have predicted just how much I would miss my old life including the freedoms I had to live my life the way I wanted. This can lead to resenting the baby or resenting your mother role. The grief I was experiencing for my old life led to depression.
8. Do you feel guilty a lot of the time?
Guilt showed up with a vengeance after having a baby. Guilt for not enjoying my baby, guilt for not doing enough, guilt for wanting to run away… Excessive guilt can lead to depression.
9. Does it feel like everything is going wrong or is too difficult?
I describe my postpartum journey as the perfect storm in which too many things went wrong all at the same time. I was in a state of overwhelm and had little capacity to handle even the smallest of challenges.
Postpartum adjustment varies widely from mother to mother, but unfortunately a lot of new mothers do not know this including me pre-baby. I thought having a baby was what I saw in the movies. When I ended up caring for a colicky baby that I did not bond with and experienced challenge after challenge I found myself regretting my decision. I desperately needed support, validation, and solutions from someone who had been through it.
Whether you’re having a difficult transition, experiencing regret, or feel you have postpartum depression/anxiety support is available. I offer therapy and coaching for moms, focusing on getting you feeling like yourself again and increasing your overall happiness.
Please reach out to me to receive a free 15 min consultation.
Marissa Zwetow, LMFT 949-424-3034