Postpartum Depression: Questions to think about when seeking therapy

Here are some questions I frequently ask clients who come to me for treatment of antepartum (during pregnancy) or postpartum (after delivery) mood disorders. These questions are NOT diagnostic of a postpartum mood disorder. Only a consult with a licensed mental health professional can confirm a diagnosis. But these questions cover many issues that can make you sad, interfere with your functioning and cause a despair that could lead to a mood disorder. In addition, by reviewing these questions before you meet with your provider, you can be guided to the areas that you find most troubling to help prioritize treatment goals.

Read the questions and think about the answers to those which most apply to you.

1. How have you been feeling the past several days and weeks?

2. How is your sleep, appetite and mood? Are you crying or very sad much of the time?

3. Have you noticed that you are agitated, irritable and unable to calm down?

4. Are you angry at those around you and feel they are not supporting you?

5. Do you wish your partner would do more to help you? Or are you compulsively attempting to do it all yourself? Are you staying up late to clean the house or do the laundry?

6. If you are breastfeeding, is it going well? Was it your personal choice to breastfeed?

7. Are you excessively worried about your baby’s health?

8. Do you check on your baby all the time, even though you know he is okay?

9. Are you afraid to leave the house, take public transportation or other activites that didn’t bother you before?

10. Do certain situations, foods, smells (even the smell of your baby) that you didn’t mind before now bother you?

11. How is your relationship with your mother, partner and family? Are they supportive? Do you have trouble refusing or accepting help?

12. Do you like being a mother? Did you want to have a baby or was this pregnancy to please your partner?

13. Are you happy with the health, sex, disposition of your new baby?

14. Do you sometimes wonder if your baby is trying to annoy you?

15. Do you think your baby does not like you?

16. Do you think you are a good mother? If not, why?

17. Do you constantly put yourself down? Do feelings of guilt overwhelm you?

18. Do you ever wish you could give the baby away because you feel helpless to care for him?

19. Do you ever think about running away? Do you wish someone else could raise your baby?

20. Do you ever think of harming yourself or the baby?

21. Is parenting not at all what you expected? Is it too much?

22. Do you long for your pre motherhood life?

23. Are you eating much more or less than you used to?

24. Do you feel like you could jump right out of your skin?

25. Do you have racing thoughts that will not allow you peace of mind?

26. Do you have panic attacks when your heart races, or you feel like you could faint or choke?

27. Do you feel like something bad is about to happen?

28. Do you think people are out to get you?

29. Do you ever have the feeling that someone is watching you?

30. Do you hear voices telling you what to do?

31. Do you have trouble remembering the time of day the day of the week or other things?

32. Do you sometimes feel like you aren’t really here or that you are removed from reality?

33. Do you feel like you are in a dream from which you cannot awake?

34. Is anyone hurting you or your baby or making unreasonable demands?

35. Is there a custody dispute or legal action being taken against you?

36. Do you or anyone in your family have a history of anxiety, depression or another disorder?

37. Have you ever had an eating disorder or substance abuse issue?

38. Do you find it hard to be patient and get along with people including your baby?

39. Are you a veteran of any war? Are you currently facing deployment?

40. Have you been subjected to traumatic experiences which continue to bother you?

41. Do you have a history of sexual or physical abuse?

42. How was the actual birth experience of your baby?

43. Was there a life threatening event or unexpected emergency that arose?

44. Are you very angry at someone? Your doctor? Your partner?

45. Do you feel you are not getting enough help at home but feel guilty asking for more?

46. Are you experiencing financial or legal issues? Are you in excessive debt?

47. Do you have a chronic health problem? Are you in pain right now?

48. Have you sought therapy in the past? Was it helpful?

49. Have you been on medication in the past or now?

50. Are you using illegal substances or abusing prescription medication?

51. Are you drinking alcohol excessively? Do you smoke?

52. Are you harming yourself in any way?

53. Did you have a previous fetal loss, stillbirth or infant death?

54. Did you have treatment for infertility, or IVF?

55. Do you feel guilty because you don’t want to be with your baby all the time?

56. Do you feel guilty because you do not want to have sex, because you need more help or because you aren’t contributing more financially to the family?

57. Have you recently moved to a new location?

58. Have you changed jobs, separated from your former partner or has your financial situation worsened recently?

59. Did you lose a friend, a family member or end an important association in the last year?

60. Do you have constant negative thoughts about yourself? Are you overly critical of everything you do?

61. What is the number one reason you are seeking help?

62. What would you like to see happen as a result of therapy/treatment?

You may have different issues that are not covered by these questions. It’s a good idea to make a list of those which trouble you the most to discuss with your provider. Reach out and find help today!

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One Response to Postpartum Depression: Questions to think about when seeking therapy

  1. Lisa says:

    I love these questions! They go so beyond what is usually asked by therapists and are so specific to a vulnerable PP woman

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