When pregnancy isn't a happy time


Pregnancy is expected to be a time full of joy and anticipation, excitement and planning.  Decorating nurseries and dressing the bump.

But what isn't mentioned, or talked about, and is overlooked is the other potential side of that pregnancy coin.  The side that can be bluer, harder.

Pregnancy is so often portrayed as nothing short of the best time in a woman's life, that I didn't expect anything less when I got pregnant.  And then when I got pregnant again.  I learned from my first pregnancy that I could potentially hit low moods, but never did I think pregnancy could be a trigger for worsening depression and anxiety.  I wasn't aware that a complex cocktail of family history, personal history, and hormones, could sway these 9 months from happily picking out paint samples to therapy sessions, anti-depressant prescriptions, and a whole lot of tears.

There are a few reasons for this.  I recently learned if you've suffered abuse, have mental illness in the family, have a personal history of depression, have had a miscarriage, have experienced fertility issues, etc., that you are more likely to experience depression and/or anxiety during the months of pregnancy.

When at my last doctor appointment I was handed a prescription for Zoloft and a list of local therapists, I thought I can't be the only one, do women really struggle with depression during pregnancy?  It seemed so weird, so awkward, so wrong.  So I went home, started Googling, and found result after result of women talking about their struggles during their pregnant months.  From feelings of isolation, to the deep and great fear of imperfection, I realized this is real.  And I quickly came to understand these feelings went far deeper than the typical what if my baby has three heads sort of fear. As I read and researched, I noticed a common theme.  These women felt bad for feeling the way they did, awfully down, because they felt like they should be happy.  Of course, their bumps would grow and people would share their elated spirits, because why wouldn't they?  But these women thinking they should feel a certain way only made them feel worse.  It seemed like a cruel cycle that couldn't be escaped.

I get it.  I'm one of these women.  For me, pregnancy is at best an emotionally uncomfortable time. I'm obviously excited for a tiny and cute dude or little lady, but the process by which that happens is taxing and exhausting in ways I've never experienced.  I work hard to simply get up in the morning, get ready, and go about feeling like myself.  On some days, all I want to do is hide in a hole until my due date in attempts to escape that inner battle of feeling happy, but not feeling happy thing.

Why am I writing this?  To simply share a story.  And to bring a drastically undermentioned topic to light.  It's hard to write about.  It feels awkward to almost say I'm "coping" with something that's inherently good and an ultimate blessing.  But life is all messy and complicated, so we get things like depression triggered by pregnancy.  It doesn't make the journey any less of a blessing or the baby any less valued and anticipated.

As for me?  I'm okay.  I hurt, but I'm not overcome.  I understand my reality, and I'm taking measures to ensure I feel the best I can.  And once again, I've been given a whole other perspective on moms.  We all know carrying and raising a child is hard work, but we never know what journey a woman, a mom, is facing.

Comments

  1. I have also struggled with mild depression before, during, and after pregnancy. I've seen a therapist who I really connect with for the past 4 years. I've never taken anti-depressants but have used St Johns Wort and Evening Primrose Oil. This past January I started meditating as part of a mindfulness practice and that has helped me leaps and bounds. Sharing our stories can help reduce the stigma and taboo. So thank you. I hope you're finding the support we all need. www.mindfulmemorykeeping.com

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    1. Thanks for your comment and sharing a piece of your story. I hope you're doing well.

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