All my life I have considered myself strong, ambitious and optimistic. I always thought I could ‘pull ‘myself out of any negative feelings and generally I could. (This is something, someone who never actually had depression would say.) I obviously had weak moments when my emotions got the best of me. I found that those generally come around ‘that ‘time if the month or times of extreme stress and pressure.
That was until I was pregnant with my first born. At the time I blamed the excessive morning sickness (basically 6 months of non-stop nausea, and vomiting) a new job and all the other delightful pregnancy symptoms and emotions I was trying to process. I realize now that I was severely depressed and should have gotten help. I didn’t and the depression continued after my son was born however it never really seemed as bad as it was during pregnancy. I know now that Depression during pregnancy is a real thing and is normally referred to as pre-natal depression. This kind of depression less spoken about far less than his ugly twin, post-natal depression. There is a very big difference between feeling a bit off, because of the pregnancy hormonal imbalance and have a chemical imbalance in your brain. According to womansmentalhealth.org a mom that has Hyperemesis Gravidarum like me, is much more likely to develop pre-natal depression than someone that doesn’t have the condition.
Sings Of Pre-Natal Depression To Look Out For
Here are some of the top signs to look out for:
- Persistent sadness
- Lack of interest in things that you would normally enjoy
- Disconnect from your baby
- Trouble concentrating
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Feelings of failure and worthlessness
- Too much or too little sleep
- Extreme overeating / under-eating
When you struggle with two or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks, it is time to get help. This is where I feel off the bus a bit. I realised that I had many of these symptoms and spoke to my partner, but I never actually saw a professional. I really should have. I should have listened to my husband who suggested it time and time again!! I see it now but at the time I thought self-diagnosis of exercise, massage and deep breathing would sort me out. I am sure these things helped but I needed therapy too! Once my son was 6 months old, I started going to Clamber Club classes. They become my therapy. My way of seeing that was the same as everyone else. No one else was sleeping. No one had it all figured out and those classes, those ladies were real, they were honest, and they helped me more than they even know.
I went to a talk recently by a psychologist and again these words hit me like a ton of bricks. I had no idea that the stress I was feeling could have affected my unborn baby. At the time, I was feeling guilty enough, that I wasn’t enjoying my pregnancy. I had this idea that it was going to be a magical time in my life and somehow, I was to blame for the way I was feeling. I now know that 14-23% of moms feel this way according to The American Pregnancy Association. I also know that if one mom gets help because of this post, then it was worth sharing. If you are feeling this way YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!, please get help. Don’t be embarrassed, we don’t make excuses for our body not working but I see many people including myself being scared to talk about depression.
My lesson, you can be strong, ambitious and optimistic mom and ask for -help 😊