Postpartum depression is hardly a hushed-up matter these days (and about damn time!), but what about prenatal depression? Well, let me put it this way: Until I came across writer Jessica Grose's piece on the topic, it never even occurred to me that I myself might have suffered from prenatal depression, though I clearly did -- and my children are now 11 and 6 years old. That's because, as Grose points out, nobody ever talks about prenatal depression. Not really.
Oh sure, you get the occasional sympathetic mention of "baby blues" from your mom or a comforting pat on the back from some old lady who finds you sobbing over a particularly moving sympathy card in the convenience store, but for the most part, this potentially serious condition is shrugged off as nothing more than just another hormonal mood swing.
And that's a bad thing. That's a dangerously bad thing.
Because if we can't even recognize the existence of prenatal depression, how are we supposed to treat it? Serious questions need to be asked. Important issues need to be examined, then re-examined, and examined again. Such as whether or not the risk of using anti-depressants during pregnancy really outweighs the risk of, well, NOT using anti-depressants during pregnancy. (In my opinion, it's a lot riskier to leave depression untreated, but that's just me.) Not to mention the question of whether or not women really need to go off anti-depressants while trying to conceive (apparently this results in an almost 70 percent chance of relapse during pregnancy).
Dealing with depression during pregnancy is hard enough. Being treated like your struggles are just par for the course, nothing out of the ordinary, a case of the good old "baby blues" ... that's just too much to bear.
Did you experience prenatal depression?
Image via Chris Michaels/Flickr