How Prenatal Depression is very real
For most, pregnancy is a happy, life changing experience. The prospect of bringing up a tiny human fills them with nerves and excitement as the newest chapter in their lives begins.
For some, pregnancy can bring on a spur of emotions, often despair, loneliness and that awful feeling, like the world is well and truly on their shoulders.
Prenatal depression is something not to be taken lightly. And it is most definitely NOT a sign of weakness. Some of us, need an extra bit of support to get us through these seemingly daunting 9 months.
I have suffered with depression for years. And I make no secret of that, I am not ashamed of it either. When I found out about our little’un I was over the moon, but hyperemisis set in and my world felt like it had been turned upside down. I could no longer take my anti-depressants, I could no longer spend an hour at the gym every night and on some days, I couldn’t even get out of bed.
It doesn’t take much…
It doesn’t take much to flick that switch. One minute you feel like tackling Mount Everest, the next you feel as though life isn’t fair and that it would be far better if none of this was happening.
It’s ok to feel this way….
And no one has the right to tell you it isn’t.
What to do…
The first thing you need to do is tell someone. Whether that’s your partner, mum, sister, a friend or your GP make sure you tell someone.
Then you can discuss where to go next.
You probably won’t feel like it, but try your best to talk about how you are feeling. You might feel more comfortable writing it down and handing it to someone to read. Whatever works for you.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your mind busy and your body active. When I was bed bound with the sickness I couldn’t do any of it. Even getting to the loo was a challenge. But on the days that I was able, I took the dog around the block, watched TV or did some washing. You might find joy reading or writing. Again it’s your choice.
As time went on…
The sickness eventually fizzled out. I think it was around 16 weeks, and I felt really good. In fact, I felt amazing, I remember thinking
I can do this, not long to go, our tiny baby will be here, I can do this.
Within a week or so, this feeling began to dissipate, I became very low, very weepy and very irritable. I hated everyone. And some people took it personally, which is understandable.
Telling the midwife…
I knew that I was likely to start feeling this way. So when I attended my first appointment with the midwife, I told her about my history with depression, and how I was feeling at this point. She referred me to mental health and to a consultant, within a couple of weeks I had my first appointment.
Again when I attended I felt really good, so explaining to her how I had been feeling prior was a must. She needed to know that I had a tendency to fluctuate between being really high and really low.
The second visit I had had an awful couple of weeks, I hadn’t stopped crying, I felt stressed at work, stressed with wedding planning and stressed with pretty much everything. Doing the dishes was a challenge, brushing my teeth, doing my hair, all of these usually simple tasks felt like the hardest tasks in the world.
It’s not all doom and gloom…
Although it may feel that way, I promise you, you won’t feel bad all the time. All those hormones raging around your body, keeping it topped up to ensure the growth and development of your little human. Is there any wonder we feel a bit crappy sometimes?
I don’t want to sit here and tell you everyone is the same, because they aren’t. Some women may feel awesome all the time. But those of us who are prone to episodes of depression need to know that help is out there and you need not be scared to ask for it.
My advice to anyone who feels they may be suffering with pre-natal depression is to please please please tell someone. You don’t have to do this on your own. There are so many amazing support networks out there.
Try and surround yourself with people. I know this can be hard, I live 50 minutes from my family and sometimes I just want to lay in bed all day with my pooch. But I never regret going out, my mum, my sister and I always have a laugh and I feel great coming from there. Bonus is, I can take Idris too.
Try and keep yourself active, walking will do you the world of good, even popping to the local shop to get a pint of milk will be beneficial to you. Perhaps swimming is your thing? Or dancing! I love dancing (though I wouldn’t do it in public ha!)
Keep your diet as good as possible. I’m the first to admit I love cakes, crisps and chocolate. But as with anything, balance is key. It’s so important you get the nutrients required for your baby to develop. Eat your greens, eat your fruit and you will feel awesome.
Don’t over do the house work. Take it easy, do your usual tasks, but perhaps slow the pace a bit. Take your breaks and enjoy yourself. I seem to have found a new love of washing and ironing. Who knew? My piles of washing are at ZERO and boy does that feel great.
Lastly, listen to your body. Your body knows better than anyone what it needs. My cravings have consisted of mashed potato and broccoli. Something tells me I’m missing some of those important C vitamins! But, I feel great after eating, because 1 its low calorie and 2 the stuff is bloody good for me.
Bottom line is, look after yourself. Relax and try to enjoy the experience. Soon your tiny baby will be here taking your life nicely into the next big adventure.