Pregnancy and Depression

My Depression during Pregnancy was a Recipe for Major Guilt

For me, the larger part of both of my pregnancies was miserable. I was nauseous, not just in the morning, not just for the first trimester, but most of the day, every day, for nine months. Never has a term been as sadly inaccurate as “morning sickness.”

During my second pregnancy I was sent to the emergency room multiple times by my doctor to be re-hydrated from constant – well, you know. In addition, I had to go off of my fibromyalgia medication, which meant pretty much constant back and body pain, and very little sleep. Mid-way during my second pregnancy, the constant pain, nausea and lack of sleep triggered a steadily deepening depression.

Now add to this the fact that I spent an increasing amount of time beating myself up – here I was, a relatively healthy, privileged woman, during what was purported to be one of the most magical times of my life. What was wrong with me that I dragged while other pregnant women glowed; that I wallowed while they nested? While being on anti-nausea drugs normally reserved for patients undergoing chemotherapy, I read that other women cured their stomach upset with “a little ginger” or “some chamomile tea.” When I heard about women who “felt the most amazing surge of energy” during their second trimester, I wanted to cry. And I did. Repeatedly. It wasn’t until I asked my OB during one of my then weekly visits (where I would immediately burst into tears when she asked how I was doing) if any other of her patients ever felt depressed during pregnancy, that I realized I was not alone. That it is, in fact, not unusual for women to suffer some degree of depression during pregnancy.

This conversation was such relief to me, because it allowed me to at least to ease up on some of the guilt I had been carting around. It didn’t take care of the physical misery, but it freed me up to see that I could love the child I was carrying, without having to love the experience of carrying it. So now, with my children beautifully on the outside where they belong, I think it’s important to share my experience with others. Bless those pregnant women that never have a day of nausea and feel better than they ever have before; but it’s okay if you’re not one of them.

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