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 only legit way to conquer "Mom Brain" (which is real, BTW)

photo by Ryan McGuire

photo by Ryan McGuire

Holly Madison is E! News' latest celebrity blogger. Admittedly, I had to Google her to remind myself what exactly she was celebrated for (dating Hugh Hefner, and having a couple of reality shows). One of her first posts is about her embarrassment from having so-called Mom Brain following the birth of her daughter (she's now pregnant with her second baby). Quite eloquently and honestly, she describes how disruptive and upsetting it was to be obviously forgetful, especially at work.

The research is split on Mom Brain, with some studies suggesting that mothers actually have enhanced cognitive abilities post-partum, especially when it comes to protecting themselves and their babies. But anyone who's returned to work—hormonal, lactating, and with a darling bundle of up-all-night—is likely to side with the opposite research camp, which confirms: Your memory while postpartum, especially for words and phrases, sucks. That's the technical term, by the way.

So, let that be a comfort to you while you struggle to remember where you put your coffee cup (it's in the washing machine, with the burp cloths, naturally). But also stop and pinch yourself so that, like Holly, you can remember and share this particular struggle. Don't let it fade away into the sweet cotton candy haze of memory like your "really not that painful" birth. Other new moms at work are counting on you to warn them about this stuff. Pay it forward. Tell them about Mom Brain, before you forget yours.

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.