Courteney Cox, Amanda Peet , Lisa Rinna, and Kendra Wilkinson experienced Postpartum Depression. Brooke Shields wrote a book about it called Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression; and Gwyneth Paltrow is quoted as saying “I felt like a zombie, I couldn’t access my heart. I couldn’t access my emotions. I couldn’t connect ... I just thought it meant I was a terrible mother and a terrible person. ... I thought postpartum depression meant you were sobbing every single day and incapable of looking after a child. But there are different shades of it and depths of it, which is why I think it’s so important for women to talk about it. It was a trying time. I felt like a failure.”
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a real illness caused by changes in psychology, environment, biology, and hormones. PPD is the most common complication of childbirth. Although many women get depressed right after childbirth, some women don't begin to feel depressed until several weeks or months later. Depression that occurs within 6 months of childbirth may be postpartum depression.
The symptoms of postpartum depression affect your quality of life and include:
· Have mood swings
· Feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed
· Have crying spells
· Lose your appetite
· Have trouble sleeping
Please note that these symptoms are not severe and do not need treatment.
If you think that you may be experiencing PPD, there is a method to be certain. The Edinburgh Scale test can be taken to determine if you may be suffering from this illness.
Edinburgh Scale Test (If you are looking for a PDF version of this test you can find it BELOW.)
Take this simple test and use the scoring system provided below. You (the mother or expectant mother) should complete the test yourself. You are asked to check the answer that comes closest to how you have been feeling in the last 7 days.
In the last 7 days:
1. I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things:
2. I have looked forward with enjoyment to things:
*3. I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong:
4. I have been anxious or worried for no good reason:
*5. I have felt scared or panicky for no good reason:
*6. Things have been getting on top of me:
*7. I have been so unhappy that I have had difficulty sleeping:
*8. I have felt sad or miserable:
*9. I have been so unhappy that I have been crying:
*10. The thought of harming myself has occurred to me:
1, 2 and 4 without an asterisk (*):
Answer number 1 is valued at 0 points; number 2 at 1, answer 3 at 2 and answer 4 at a value of 3 points
3, 5-10 with an asterisk (*):
Answer number 1 is valued at 3 points, answer 2 is 2, answer 3 is 1 and answer number 4 is valued at 0 points.
Maximum Score: 30 points
Possible Depression: Score of 10 or higher
If you have a score of 10 or higher, be sure to contact your medical provider as soon as possible. If you scored answer 1 to question 10, seek help immediately.
Sources for Edinburgh Scale, directions and scoring:
Cox, J.L., Holden, J.M., and Sagovsky, R. 1987. Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. British Journal of Psychiatry 150:782-786.
If you find that you are indeed suffering from PPD, please see you doctor immediately. Be sure to get assistance from friends and family as needed; And remember that you are NOT ALONE.