Coping with Depression During Pregnancy
I still remember the excitement I felt when I saw my first positive pregnancy test. We couldn’t wait to tell all our friends and family! Off we went to purchase a copy of “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” and to spread our happy news. That’s the kind of thing you see in the movies, and for some women, exactly what happens. One thing you don’t hear about much, is depression during pregnancy.
What? How could ANYONE have depression during pregnancy? I mean, it should be an exciting wonderful time knowing there is a child growing inside of you, right?
I knew about postpartum depression after the baby is born, but no one warned me about “first-trimester blues” growing up. Let me assure you that they are very REAL. I experienced them a little with each pregnancy. I mean who wouldn’t get a little down when they are feeling sick for 2 months straight, right?
What I wasn’t prepared for was this pregnancy, my soon-to-be 5th and last child. I’m currently 11 weeks along and it’s been a rough one to say the least. We recently moved across the country to a new home which I completely love. It’s in the country and it’s beautiful! As soon as I found out I was pregnant and the sickness set in, my beautiful surroundings suddenly disappeared. I found myself not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to take care of 4 other children, not wanting to be in this new house anymore, and just not being able to experience JOY!
I felt like I was trapped in a bubble. Inside was miserable and dark, but outside I could see my friends and family going on with their normal lives. I felt trapped and alone, and could not find the words to describe to anyone exactly what I was going through. All I knew was that I wanted OUT and I wanted to be happy again…like the people on the OUTSIDE of this bubble.
I finally hit my worst day and I screamed out loud to God,
“Why do I have to do this?? I just can’t handle it anymore!”
…and then I cried myself to sleep next to my husband who probably didn’t have a clue of how to console or help me.
I’m not sure if it was an answer to prayers or just my determination not to ever feel that way again, but the next morning I awoke feeling better enough to function. Then, the next day, I had a semi-normal day, then 2 days later again. I could tell it was gradually getting better because I starting feeling small amounts of joy again. I noticed how beautiful the trees were outside of my windows and then how amazingly cute my 3 yr old was being.
It was like I was gradually being spoon fed a little bit of joy at a time. I still have hard days and I’m sure I will continue to until well after this baby gets here, but the dark bubble has been broken through and I feel like I have joined more of the happy crowd.
I write this because I know I am not the only pregnant woman out there experiencing depression during pregnancy and that sometimes it can be hard to talk to others about. If you are putting on a happy face when you leave the house, but crying on the inside and feeling very alone, please know that you are most definitely NOT. It feels like it, and it feels like it will never end but it eventually does.
My sister, Karine, has experienced this in her pregnancies and wrote the most amazing article about it here. I encourage you to read it!
Some of the things that helped me to get through this tough time were:
- Getting out of the house! When you’re at home, it’s easier to feel trapped and want to just lie on the couch and be miserable. Getting out, helps to alleviate that feeling a little.
- Friends. I had no desire to call friends or spend time with them, but when they called or showed up to visit, it ALWAYS helped me to feel better emotionally and get my mind off of my miserable little bubble.
- Exercise. I know you REALLY don’t want to do this one, but the positive endorphins from even a short walk help immensely.
- PRAY constantly! Especially when you feel alone. I assure you that there are unseen angels surrounding you just waiting for you to ask for help. I had an experience one night (after crying myself to sleep) where a beautiful woman came to visit me and comfort me. I could not remember what she said, only her name. When I told my mother about it, she reminded me that that was the name of my great great great grandma. When I researched more about her, I found that she had experienced much hardship in her life but that even through it all, she was well-known for her ability to remain positive and comfort others during hardships.
You really are not alone. Be strong and have courage, because eventually this too will pass.