I am SO excited to share this post with you today. Have you heard of the blog “A Good Mom” If you haven’t you should head over there and give it a read. Her name is Elise and when I found her blog i was captivated by her honesty, tips, view points and just over all simplicity. Something that Elise talks about on her blog is overcoming anxiety’s and depression. I contacted her to see if she would be willing to write a guest blog talking about antepartum depression and what she has done to get through those really hard times. Working in the birth world I feel like this specific need is often lost in the hype and excitement of having a new baby and everything should be super happy and nothing but. However Its not sometimes all happy and joyous. Join Elise on her incredible blog post as she shares her incredible story and the things she’s done to help her through this next pregnancy.
If you’re experiencing antepartum depression it is OKAY. To seek for help click Here.<<<<
This has been one of my deepest, darkest secrets that I have been keeping to myself for several years now.
I am terrified to be sharing this with the universe, but I’m writing this because I feel that it needs to be said, and I need to help bring more awareness to antepartum depression.
When I found out that I was pregnant with my first, it was as beautiful as I ever imagined it would be.
I cried happy tears. I fell to my knees and thanked God. I was glowing for days!
Over time, my emotional state began to deteriorate.
Any time that I would make mention of the things that I was experiencing, I would hear things like “That’s normal.” “Pregnancy is hard for everyone.” “You’ll get through it.”
I never truly confided in anyone, not even my OBGYN at the time, about the intimate details of my emotional state for two reasons.
1. I was very embarrassed. And to be completely honest, I still am…
2. I downplayed it hard core thinking that it was just a normal part of pregnancy.
I WAS DEAD WRONG!
I was so physically sick that I lost 20 pounds over a period of 2 months. Keep in mind that I was already very thin and in shape.
That should tell you just how sick I was.
I was too sick to eat.
Most women eat, and then throw up. I was throwing up before I could get the fork to my mouth.
That’s not normal either.
My physical state was at it’s absolute worst.
Just to be brief- I was blacking out and passing out frequently, among other unpleasant things…
I just remember begging and pleading with God to spare my child!
I just wanted her to live!
Now I know that it is nothing short of a miracle that my fetus survived when I myself was hanging by a thread. Literally.
Now for a little science lesson of the day- your physical state is directly linked to your emotional state.
When you are suffering physically, you will also suffer emotionally.
But it was more than that for me.
I already suffered from depression prior to my pregnancy.
So to take my current (untreated) depression, and couple that with physically dying- it was a very ugly combination.
As much as I don’t want to go into the details of my emotional state at the time of my first pregnancy, I will.
I was suffering emotional breakdowns on just about a daily basis.
I would curl up in little corners, or in the shower, or on the floor and just felt like my spirit was perishing.
I had thoughts of harming myself
I had thoughts of suicide and death
My marriage was suffering gravely
I felt guilty. Oh so guilty for feeling the way that I did when I had so many friends and family members struggling with infertility. I thought that I should just be happy and grateful to be able to be pregnant!
I felt guilty that I hated myself and had such violent thoughts towards myself.
I felt that I wasn’t worthy of my child and that she deserved a better, stronger woman to carry her to birth.
I feared that my emotional state would never improve and that I would utterly fail as a mother.
The amount of hopelessness and worthlessness that I felt was overwhelming. And “overwhelming” is an absolute understatement.
I was one of the unfortunate women that was physically ill until I reached my 8th month of pregnancy.
Which means that I was suffering emotionally for those 8 months!
Once I started feeling better physically, I was finally able to follow a normal diet again.
I finally got to experience what a “normal pregnancy” would feel like.
For the last 2 months.
That was when my emotional state improved DRAMATICALLY!
Like I said, there’s a direct correlation between the physical and mental state.
And I am very happy to report that my postpartum depression only lasted a week. ONE WEEK, PEOPLE!
And just like that, I was back to being me again!
So if you are feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, there is.
Here’s what I learned from this incredibly dark, lonely, and terrifying time of my life:
1. I can clearly see that I was not thinking straight. I should have consulted with my doctor about every grueling detail of my emotional state. Without reservations.
2. What I went through was NOT normal, and listening to other people say that it was- was the STUPIDEST thing that I have EVERRRR done to myself.
3. I will never put myself, or my unborn child at risk like that again. This will never be repeated. And I am happy to say that with this current pregnancy (I am 7 months pregnant currently), I was prepared. My doctor and I have been proactive about treating my sickness, and nipped the physical and emotional sickness in the bud before it ever even got close to getting out of hand! Hallelujah!
4. I don’t care about anybody else’s opinion. I will do WHATEVER it takes to keep myself healthy, and therefore my child healthy (and ALIVE). Even if that means taking medication while pregnant. Yep. I said it. And if you are judging me for that, then count yourself blessed that you are not one of 20% of other women that experience what I did during pregnancy.
5. What I went through, and what you may be going through is very real. It is serious. It is not in your head. It is not just part of pregnancy. It needs to be treated immediately, and if your current doctor is not validating you, then you need to find a new doctor who will.
6. I wish that I would have educated myself at the time, on the resources that were available to me! For instance- Doula Services!!!! Which is basically a source of emotional support- which would have been incredibly beneficial to me during such a fragile time.
Some women’s bodies handle pregnancy like a boss.
Other women’s bodies do not.
It is not my fault that my body hates being pregnant.
It is not in my control.
If you are one of those women too, then accept that you are not at fault and rid yourself of your guilt immediately.
Everyone reacts to pregnancy differently.
And in many, many cases, each woman’s body reacts differently to each pregnancy that she has!
Isn’t that awesome?
For a person like me with severe anxiety to have to deal with that much unpredictability is just great. (Not!)
There are resources out there for you.
If you are struggling with antepartum depression, or even postpartum depression-
Seek help IMMEDIATELY!!!
You are NOT weak!
You are NOT failing!
You are NOT doing anything wrong!
Your body is making the shots, and you are suffering the consequences.
Seek advice from a medical professional, or emotional support from another source such as a Doula.
Do NOT be afraid to try different things…even if it’s medication.
Especially if it means saving your life, your unborn child’s life, and/or your marriage.
For your sake, and your child’s sake, and your marriages sake, and for all of the sakes!
And remember…This too shall pass.
You WILL make it through this.
YOU GOT THIS, MAMA!!!