But can we talk about pregnancy depression?
Why is it so taboo to talk about how hard pregnancy is or to admit that you hate it? I KNOW how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to experience a full term pregnancy that resulted in a beautiful healthy baby boy. I know that so many women would kill for a chance at what I got to have, I understand that 100%. I always wanted to be pregnant. I dreamed and prayed about it for years and when the time finally came I was thrilled. To be honest, I thought I was going to rock it. I am eternally grateful for the experience but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed every second of the process.
My mom and grandma both gave birth to 7 or more babies, (without epidurals). I figured pregnancy must not have been that bad for them since they chose to do it so many times. I can’t remember ever even hearing my mom complain when she was pregnant. I always thought I would be a champion at being pregnant, I mean I was born with wide child bearing hips that are ideal for pregnancy right? I also had a super strong stomach so I thought, no way I would be one of those girls who threw up for months on end.
Fast forward to October of 2018 when after six months of trying I was finally pregnant (I know that’s not very long in terms of TTC but when you’re trying to get pregnant every month it doesn’t happen, feels more like a year). I immediately had to stop taking a medication I had been on for five years because not only was it not safe for pregnant women to take but there also was no safe alternatives for me to replace it with. So on top of my body adjusting to all the new hormones that come with growing a human like being hungry and tired all the time- I also had severe ADHD that for the first time in years I was on my own to cope with. During my pregnancy I threw up everyday for about 14 weeks, I cried multiple times a week for 9 months, I gained 85lbs. which caused me to have stretchmarks from above my belly button to my knees, and I honestly felt like I didn’t know myself anymore. I couldn’t maintain all of the responsibilities I had easily manged pre-pregnancy. I fell behind at work, my house got messier than it had ever been, my marriage required more effort than usual, and I hated social situations. It felt like my whole life had turned upside down and pregnancy was nothing like I expected it to be. I never got that “glow” and I sure as hell didn’t feel beautiful, I felt huge (because I was). I tried my very hardest to enjoy as much of the process as I could. I loved the ultrasounds, feeling the baby move inside my belly, preparing the nursery, and having lots of fun dates with my husband before our family grew.
During my pregnancy I was often asked “Have you had a hard pregnancy?” and I never knew how to answer that because to me it was hard but I know people who have had WAY harder who have complained WAY less than me. Whenever I would open up even in the smallest way about how much I didn’t love being pregnant and couldn’t wait to have my baby to not be pregnant anymore I would be greeted by statements like: “Oh, soak it up while you can, you’re going to miss it”, “This is the easy part, having a baby is so much harder than being pregnant”, and my personal favorite “You better stalk up on sleep now, because once that baby comes you’ll miss being able to sleep whenever you want”. The truth was, I couldn’t sleep well when I was pregnant at all, for a number of reasons and I would way rather be awake at 2am with a baby than awake at 2am because I can’t get my brain to shut off or my bladder to stop needing emptied constantly. There was VERY few people who allowed me to vent about the struggles of pregnancy without making me feel guilty or judged.
After Avery was born though I had SO MANY people reach out to me to ask how I was doing, how I was feeling, etc. and it was clear every time that they were trying to make sure I was okay and not suffering from postpartum depression. The truth is, it wasn’t until after I had Ave that I realized how dark of a place I was in during my pregnancy and that I very well may have had pre-partum depression (idk if that’s a real thing or if it’s a word I just made up but it was real for me). I don’t have postpartum depression. Quite opposite actually, the second that sweet boy entered this world and we got to bring him home with us, it was like my whole world was exactly how it was supposed to be. Of course there was the usual hard parts like dealing with a painful recovery and trying to get the hang of nursing and soothing him but that all came pretty easy. The weeks following his birth, I felt like myself again. I began to actually like the things I enjoyed before I got pregnant again, like social situations and cleaning my house. I felt closer to my husband than ever before. I felt ready to return to work after a few weeks and knew I would be a far better employee than I was during my pregnancy. Above all though, I felt so overjoyed and blessed and honored that I get to be a mother to the most beautiful, perfect, amazing baby boy I have ever seen.
I KNOW that I’m not the only woman who struggled with pregnancy depression and was too scared or confused or ashamed to admit it or ask for help. I hope in the future it becomes just as socially acceptable as it is to have PPD, to admit that you hate pregnancy or that you’re struggling with it or that you never want to do it again. If you’re pregnant and you hate it or you’re in a dark place but are constantly being reminded of “how lucky you are” or how “you’re going to miss this”. Know that 1. I’m here if you need to vent. 2. You might not miss it, I don’t 3. It will be worth it and you can love your baby more than anything in this world without loving the pregnancy itself. You got this!