When we fall pregnant we are bombarded with ‘checklists’ – what to eat, what not to eat, what to buy for baby, what to do before baby comes, what to pack in your labour bag.
The checklists go on and on and on. But this one is different. It has nothing to do with buying things for baby. But it’s the most valuable new mum checklist of them all.
Why? Because it provides you with a way to tell if you’re doing okay. With pregnancy, with new motherhood, with everything.
Are you okay?
For one in seven expectant and new mums (possibly many more), the answer to this is No.
No. I am not okay. No. I don’t know what to do. No. I don’t have it all together. No. I don’t want to feel like this anymore.
We’ve been told that having a baby is supposed to be the most exciting time in your life. It’s supposed to make you feel blessed. It’s supposed to bring you and your partner closer together, to make you feel whole, to give you purpose.
But what happens when it doesn’t? What happens when, instead of feelings of joy, you’re left with unexplained anxiety, fear, guilt, anger and sadness?
For countless mums, this is what pregnancy and new motherhood brings – a whole slew of unwanted feelings that make you feel like you’re not cut out for this, like you’re failing, like you’re not worthy of this massive blessing.
Stop the stigma, it starts with a checklist
New and expecting mums don’t have to feel like this. They don’t have to suffer from PND, perinatal depression, postnatal depression, postnatal anxiety or any of the other names for this condition that make you feel like shit.
There are sooo many services available that can help but none of them are as valuable as this checklist. I know. Not another bloody checklist. But hear me out.
Launched by PANDA, the Mental Health Checklist is a unique and much-needed online tool that allows expectant and new parents to assess their emotional wellbeing. There are five different postnatal depression checklists – for expecting mums, for expecting dads, for new mums, for new dads and for carers.
It’s similar to the questionnaire that you will be asked to fill out IF you do decide to speak to a doctor about your mental health. However, for many of us, we don’t ever make this appointment to speak to a doctor. We assume the feelings are normal. We’re too busy. It’s just a bad week. We are just tired. The feelings will go away on their own.
The excuses go on forever. And the good thing about this postnatal depression checklist is that there’s no pressure to stop making excuses not to talk about it. Because you can check for yourself online, in your own time, for free and anonymously.
We know many expecting and new parents worried about the way they are feeling find it difficult to talk about their concerns with health professionals like doctors, midwives and child and family health nurses.
The answers it provides can also help these individuals and their loved ones discuss their mental health with their health professionals.” – PANDA CEO Terri Smith.
The postnatal depression checklist isn’t long and it doesn’t take much time or thought to fill out. The questions are generally about the changes in your behaviour, body, thoughts, feelings and relationships since falling pregnant or having a baby.
Just answer openly and honestly and you’ll get a Results Page which assesses your mental health.
If you do come up with a result that you’re concerned about, you can make that appointment. Although it can suck to know that what your feeling could be a sign of PND, it’s also so reassuring to know that it’s not your fault. And that help is widely available.
Where to get additional info
Check it out at the PANDA website. You can also find out more about PND through the following websites: