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One of the most surprisingly difficult parts of pregnancy has been my mental state.
Seriously…I did not expect this!
Before I got pregnant I just assumed that it would be this magical time in my life. Little did I know, that your mind actually goes through almost as many changes as your body during pregnancy.
So for those who have experience mental health issues before (or even those who haven’t) new issues might crop up!
What helped me the most? Hearing that other women go through it too. Because then a little click happened in my brain and I was able to see these problems not as problems with myself, but as just another strange, and or even debilitating pregnancy symptom.
0:54 Going into "research overdrive"
2:32 Morning Sickness Depression
8:15 Postpartum Depression
When I first found out I was pregnant…the first time around…I was overjoyed. The kind of joy that immediately has you looking at cute baby clothes on Etsy.
But after my chemical pregnancy (a very early miscarriage) the whole thing came crashing down on me. I was devastated…even though people say, “it’s just like a heavy period,” for me it was a lot more than just that and I went into a tailspin of grief.
We got the immediate go ahead to continue trying from my doctor, and that’s when my research went from cute to obsessive.
I looked up a million things, tracked every single piece of data from my cycle, and bought crazy expensive stuff to try and improve our chances.
And honestly I just drove myself crazy because we conceived naturally just 3 months later.
“When I found out that I was pregnant, I went into research overdrive. I wanted to know anything and everything about pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, breastfeeding, newborns, all of it,”
For me it was the same way, but when you’re trying to calm your fears with a ton of research let me save you some trouble…it’s not going to help!
Morning Sickness Depression
A.k.a. first trimester depression was not ever something on my radar before pregnancy.
But it hit me hard.
After weeks of hardly being able to get up from the couch for the amount of nausea I had, trips to the toilet every few hours, and not resting fully at night…my mental state took a turn for the worse.
One mama, shares her experience here,
“I fell pregnant and had severe morning sickness. I was exhausted and felt like I was letting my toddler down as I wasn’t able to do the things I would usually do. So many times I had wished that I wasn’t pregnant and cried over that thought as I knew how lucky I was to be pregnant at the same time,”
This thought honestly went through my head, even though in my heart it wasn’t true, the amount of suffering brings you to think things that will surprise & devastate you.
Before I even fell pregnant, anxiety was part of my life. I was even on medication for it (I talk more about this in a bit). But once my pregnancy began, it took on a whole new life of its own.
I think a lot of this had to do with experiencing a pregnancy loss…but my mind was thinking a million thoughts a day like…
…”this baby probably won’t make it, prepare yourself for another loss”
…”maybe sitting too close to this heater is bad for my baby”
…”I’m going to go to the doctor’s appointment and I’m not going to hear the heartbeat”
Well you get the idea. My subconscious mind, was just doing its job: to protect me from experiencing the pain of loss again. But the damage was terrible, and I spent a large amount of the first trimester worried about one thing or another.
Since I can feel the baby kicking, I have a stronger connecting to him, and I can relax a little knowing that evey day I’ll get a reminder that he’s alive…
Another mom who has experienced anxiety during pregnancy had this to share…
“I would do this thing (ANY time of day) where I would only focus on my heart beat & realize it was beating so fast & hard then I would think something is wrong & it was just a circle of freaking out about everything at once to having to calm myself”
Anxiety never has an easy solution, but my favorite way to help is through mindfulness. In this article I talk about How to Start Mindfulness & Stop Your Mind’s Tailspin, even if you haven’t ever started before (or have started and stopped).
As promised here’s my experience. Before we started trying to get pregnant I was taking an antidepressant. I made the decision to come off of it because I hadn’t been on it long, and felt capable of managing my mental state without it.
But deciding to stay on or come off of an antidepressant is a conversation you must have with your OB. Don’t let anyone else’s opinion influence you! You know what your body needs, and your doctor can handle the rest.
Here’s what two mamas have to say on the subject:
“I take an SSRI, Lexapro, every single day for Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Chronic Depression….When I became pregnant this past fall, we immediately had to make decisions about staying on the meds or weaning off. I was so afraid of weaning off because I never want to have to feel how I used to feel. I also worried about how my body would handle the hormones and pregnancy without my meds….So, with my doctor's guidance, we made the decision to keep me on the meds,”
“I was taking antidepressants still from my first post natal depression although was ready to come off them, I fell pregnant and had severe morning sickness….Finally after the sickness started to subside and I was properly medicated for it, I was able to start enjoying my pregnancy and have come off my antidepressants ( stopped taking them at 16.5 weeks, am currently 17.5 weeks) I still have good days and bad days,”
Being as I’ve never given birth, I have never suffered from, nor even had the opportunity of suffering from postpartum depression, but a couple of brave ladies have shared their experiences below:
“I was extremely depressed this entire time I didn't want to see/talk to anyone, I didn't do anything. I cried a lot. I cried every morning when my husband left for work, which made him feel helpless because he had to go to work or we didn't eat. I didn't go to my doctor's appointment because I was afraid if I talked to someone they would take my baby away,”
“I got to the point that I was angry. Every day, typically for no reason. I would get angry about something small and completely blow up about it,”
“And I even struggled with this in the beginning stages, as a new mom and mental health professional….I felt like a caged tiger. I felt trapped and unable to shake the feelings of doubt, guilt, and inadequacy for the job ahead of me...I looked at my beautiful new baby and three healthy sons and longed to feel happy and content. The only thing I could feel was desperation. They would be better off without me. And thoughts of my own funeral swirled in my mind. I knew I wasn’t far from the edge. I couldn’t go on like this,”
Tell us in the comments sections below…what did you think of these stories? Have you experienced something similar?