I vaguely remember my 6 week postpartum check-ups after my daughters were born. I remember a nurse running through a list of questions to determine if I was depressed. I don't remember what they were or even how I responded, I think because I was so exhausted and overwhelmed. I do remember, especially after my second pregnancy, crying, worrying about leaving my child to go back to work and juggling breastfeeding while caring for a toddler. My husband would often ask me "are you ok?" At the time, I remember thinking, I have no idea what "normal" is.
That 6 week appointment might be the first time women are questioned about their mental health before, during or after a pregnancy. However, today, a step in the right direction. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended women be screened for depression during pregnancy and after giving birth. I'm not saying it's a foolproof system. However, trying to erase the stigma and talking about such an important issue as the health of an expectant or new mother is crucial not only to themselves, but to their children as well. Check out Postpartum Progress. It's a great, supportive resource for moms who may be struggling with postpartum depression.
This New York Time article delves into the issue further.