(barely) Surviving Prepartum Depression

Being a Mom 21

My emotions tend to run from I Want a Nap -> Where's My People Magazine? -> I Want a Cheeseburger, so it's safe to assume that I'm as deep as a mud puddle. When I have these things that normal people call "feelings," I'm at a loss. I can barely identify them, let alone fix them.

I got pregnant with my middle son after months and months of trying and I finally had it all. A baby on the way. A house in the suburbs. A loving husband. I even had a dog.

I was Living La Vida Aunt Becky. It was all that I'd ever wanted and more.

So why was I so miserable that I could barely slog out of bed every day? Prepartum Depression.

I'd always suffered from a touch of situational depression, but my life kinda read like a bad country song, it wasn't that surprising. Months of being unable to conceive, a threatened miscarriage, and a job that I hated had taken a toll on me.

Finally pregnant, I'd expected to glow and radiate and maybe sit in a field of sunflowers wearing a big floppy hat.

When I found that I could barely leave the house, I was vexed. When I could no longer talk to my friends -- or anyone -- on the phone without bursting into tears or having an anxiety attack, I was perplexed. I'd never so much as had a single panic attack. While I'd often listed "napping" and "eating" as two things I excelled at, I could no longer do either. I was as confused as I was nauseated.

These were the months before I had a blog to confess this to, so I kept my trap shut. No one knew how utterly miserable I was.

I mean, I was creating a new life inside of me! What's more magical than that? And how could I possibly be a good mother if my only "glow" I radiated was from barfing?

Thanks to Andrea Yates, the world knows about postpartum mood disorders. I got a slew of packets about the signs, symptoms, and what to expect if I ever felt like killing my offspring after my first son was born. We studied postpartum depression in nursing school, too. But depression while pregnant? Antenatal depression? Well, that wasn't covered.

After my son was born healthy and pissed off at the world, it was like a veil lifted and the clouds gave way to the sun. I felt like myself again. I could take on the world.

It was then that I finally got a name for what had happened to me (and it didn't involve the words "bad mother"): antepartum depression.

It clicked into place: I wasn't a bad mother. I wasn't a bad wife. I wasn't a bad friend. I was simply suffering from depression. While pregnant. 

When I got pregnant with my daughter, I fully expected the depression to come back, and it did, but this time I knew what it was. I knew that it would pass. I knew that it wasn't my fault. Turns out, knowledge IS power.

And that's why I speak out about it. It's important to give these dark things a name. To bring them to light and tell the world about it in the hopes that someone, somewhere will read this and know that they are not alone. That being depressed and pregnant happens to some of us.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is beautiful.

Have any of you suffered from prepartum or postpartum mood disorders? How did you manage it?

complications, emotions, pregnancy symptoms, the pregnant life