The lifesaving app every new mom needs (that's a literal use of "lifesaving")

The largest study ever on postpartum depression is launching now, as reported by Kelly Wallace for CNN, and researchers need 100,000 new moms to sign up to make inroads on the mood disorders that are estimated to affect (conservatively) 1 in 7 mothers.

Here's what's so genius: All you have to do to participate is download a free phone app. It'll take you through the 10 questions of the classic Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and give you a score (along with referrals and resources if you need them). Women with symptoms deemed moderate to severe will then be asked if they'd like to be a part of the genetic study for which they'll be sent a saliva sample collection kit.

I have to add here that, while researching my book, I took the Edinburgh test and found some of the language to be confusing. Here's Question 4:

I have been anxious or worried for no good reason
- no, not at all
- hardly ever
- yes, sometimes
- yes, very often

It's the "no good reason" part that gets me. Because, while I'm sure some lovely Scottish scientist, years ago, meant well, I can tell you when you're in the throes of postpartum anxiety, every reason that has to do with keeping a newborn alive-and-fed-and-breathing feels like a good reason. That might have led me to underrepresent my anxiety in my answer. When I complained about this to Wendy N. Davis, PhD, who runs the awesome Postpartum Support International, she gave this great perspective: "It's translated from the British!" she says. "You don't want to overthink it. If you are even tempted to take a quiz like this, that in itself is a sign to seek further support and help."

In other words: Get the app. For your sake, for your friends' sake, for your daughter's sake one day. 



The case against "fake it 'til you make it" for new working moms



This little "shark" is super cute, but I kind of hate everything he stands for (sorry, fishy). Coming back to work during my Fifth Trimester after the birth of my first son, I heard this advice a lot: "Fake it 'til you make it. Just pretend you have it all together, and eventually you will!" While I agree that nothing gets you through a tough transition better than just putting one foot in front of the other and letting time tick on, the idea of faking okay-ness bugs me. Only by owning our struggles do we get to own our successes. Here's why I don't think you should fake it 'til you make it.

BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT A FAKE If you put on lipstick, you are not faking beauty or faking having your act together enough to spend 20 seconds on lipstick. You actually are beautiful. And you did find the 20 seconds. Likewise, delivering an amazing client pitch after a night when the baby was up four times is not "faking it 'til you make it." It's knowing your stuff well enough to succeed—even under crazy pressure.

BECAUSE HIDING THE STRUGGLE GIVES THE NOT-YET MOMS FALSE EXPECTATIONS The postpartum mood disorder experts I interviewed for my book agreed that we are living in an epidemic of outlandish expectations. "Mothers with high expectations are really at more of a risk for developing postpartum issues," says Wendy N. Davis, PhD, executive director of Postpartum Support International. Don't contribute to that by setting an impossibly high (and fake) bar for the coworkers who may follow you into motherhood. It's not reassuring for them to see you be perfect. It IS reassuring for them to see you be IMperfect—and stay, and grow, and succeed anyway.

BECAUSE YOUR WORK SUCCESS ISN'T SOME FLUKE Why credit your success to some head-game when you can simply credit yourself: Your talents, your skills, your level-headedness, your organization, your moxie. Realizing you've harnessed all those great qualities lets you keep drawing on them again and again.


AND BECAUSE POLICIES WILL ONLY CHANGE IF OUR NEEDS ARE VISIBLE Bosses aren't mind-readers! If you come up with some creative lie every time you leave work to take your baby to the doctor, how is your manager going to know that that's something s/he should help accommodate? By displaying your need for flexibility (and still getting your job done), you are helping yourself and the company. The majority of millennials agree that work/life flexibility is high up on their list of priorities while job-hunting. If policies don't evolve, your workplace will become Jurassic, quickly. Help yourself and your employer. Be real.

Secret work weapon: New mom humor

Shout-out to my favorite coffee shop, Macaron Parlour

Shout-out to my favorite coffee shop, Macaron Parlour

In a recent New York Business Journal article about the new ways "executives and companies embrace the funny," the CEO of Peppercomm, a marketing and communications firm, predicted: "Joy will be 2016's new black." That is really excellent news for new mothers returning to work.

Life, when you're under-slept and overworked, and hormonal, can make you cry, sure, but it can also make you laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Go with that, even if it means exposing your weaknesses, because...
1) Humor makes you better at work: One survey by finance and accounting firm Robert Half showed that nearly 4 out of 5 CFOs, "said that an employee's sense of humor plays an important role in how well he or she fits in with a company's corporate culture." And, 
2) Laughter is good postpartum therapy: A 2011 study out of Korea found that laughter therapy (sign me up, please) helped alleviate postpartum fatigue and stress in new mothers.

Bottom line: Life just handed you a whole bassinet full of material. Don't be afraid to use it.