hands on pregnant stomach

What Really Happens When You Fail A Postpartum Depression Screening

By Kimberly Zapata

I was in the bathroom, enjoying a few moments of much needed silence and solitude, when my phone rang. I didn’t hear it. My cell is always set to silent. But I saw the number pop up on my FitBit.

It was my son’s pediatrician.

I should have answered. I knew why they were calling — I had been in the office earlier that day and, while there, I completed a survey: the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale screening — but I panicked. In it, I admitted I was anxious and frustrated. I checked off boxes which showed how sad I was. Which revealed my “struggle.” And I disclosed motherhood had taken a toll on my mental health.

I had had fleeting thoughts of “escaping,” suicide and self-harm. But writing these things and saying them were two different things. I wasn’t ready to speak to her or anyone. So I stayed put and let it go to voicemail. I took a breath and leaned back on the toilet, hoping the cool porcelain would help calm my nerves, and then I broke down. I shook. I screamed. I cried. Because while I knew my son’s two-month checkup would involve a lot of things — there would be a weight check, height check and several shots — I didn’t consider his pediatrician would see me, and want to talk to me. I never thought she would ask how I was doing, and what I was feeling, and I was overwhelmed by the moment.

The small, fill-in-the-blank style survey caught me off guard.

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