Yep you've read the title and I will guess you are still reading this for one of three reasons
- You can't understand how anyone could feel depressed during pregnancy
- You've suffered from feelings of depression, emptiness and loneliness in pregnancy and you want to know you aren't alone.
- You know me and you think 'she never seemed depressed' and now you are curious.
So when I was pregnant with Peanut I wanted children soooo much and I was sooooo happy that spending days sobbing silently came as a big shock, I felt so lonely and sad but I had so many reasons to be happy. Baby on the way , fab husband, great job, great house! But still the feelings of sadness crept in followed by feelings of guilt then feelings of panic. It got so bad one day that the husband had to turn the car around on the way to a shopping trip and bring me home so I could literally curl into a ball and sob that I was awful horrible and didn't deserve to have children if I was so sad during pregnancy. My stress levels were through the roof.
Things were slightly better with The Golden Child at first but half way through it all started again. With Termite mostly it was just stress with only small amounts of the sadness.
Here's the thing though, apart from the Mr I've told no one about this until yesterday when I got this message
'Is it ok to just want to stay in bed all day, completely alone and crying?
I feel like a shit person, shit wife, shit mum, shit everything.
How can I feel so low and sad when I should be so happy?
What should I do?'
I should say I've had this post written for months but never could bring myself to publish it,I feel guilty admitting I was ever anything but blissed out when I was growing my baby. I'm publishing it today to help my pal feel less alone but also to help anyone else who's been keeping it to themselves.
I sent my pal a long message I've taken bits out but this is part of it ...
'I don't tell many this but whilst I love pregnancy being a slave to my hormones means sadness and emptiness are common feelings for me followed by guilt for not being filled with joy!'
And we chatted more she asked what I did, I said I talked to my man who's answer is always 'you'll be fine', oddly frustrating but it always really helps me to hear him say it. Lord help me The day he meets my stress with 'oh my god what the heck are we gonna do' I may explode!
So here's the thing, ages ago I was told by someone I knew that they were refused their adoption application because the wife suffered from Bi-polar.She hadn't come off her meds or been non compliant in over 15 years but that tag on her medical file stayed with them. Because of that and because adoption is something we had talked about so I felt a huge pressure to never tell anyone how I was feeling during my pregnancy especially not my midwife! I didn't want that on my records, I couldn't be the person who spoiled our plans. The truth is I'm not sure it would have had any bearing on an adoption application but the fear gets to you.
But more than that I felt guilty and ashamed, how could I possibly say that I felt depressed when there are people in the world desperate for babies, is that not like rubbing salt in their wounds, and if I say out loud that my pregnancy isn't all I expected and for no reason at all I want to shut the door and stay inside some days then will someting bad happen to my baby?
Yes these were the thoughts in my head! And a quick request on facebook to see if anyone else felt the same saw me recieve plenty of messages from people who had. Claire from Emmy'sMummy worried so much during her pregnancy because of previous miscarraiges that she didnt feel able to enjoy the pregnancy, but also felt so guilty feeling like that especially in light of all the extra help and support she had had from medical staff that she never said anything, lots more messages and the theme is always the same 'I felt guilty and ashamed'. I even heard 'My midwife put it down to hormones' more than once, if you feel like its more than that you must say so, there is no gain from suffering alone. It turns out that between 8-20% of women suffer pre natal depression, now I figure thats the women who admit to it and actually that number is larger
There are so many reasons you can feel depressed, maybe like me you willsuffer crippling SPD and spend your time stuck in alone feeling more and more isolated, or you are a slave to your hormones and cant shake of those blues, perhap previous miscarraige casts a shadow or you just cant pinpoint any reason. Because there sometimes aren't any. The thing is no amount of reasoning discounts the importance of talking about it, tell someone, speak to your midwife or health visitor and if they don't help see a doctor, talk to your family and friends. We will never break the taboo surrounding depression, at any time of life, unless we start talking about it and shaking off the shame.
Being depressed does not make you ungrateful or undesserving of your pregnancy and it doesnt make you a bad parent, saying out loud 'this isn't how I thought it would be' will not mean something bad should or will happen to you, but talking about it is the first step to feeling better and getting help
So if you feel like this please talk to someone and if you have a pal who feels like this let her know you are there to listen, you arent judging and she is not alone. We need to stand together to feel stronger
While researching Prenatal depression I found these websites helpful and I hope they will help others too PANDAS and TOMMYS
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and any experience you have.