The past two years are a general fog with a sprinkling of clear, bright patches. I am in a place now where I can see things clearly. I feel like “me” again. I feel cheerful and ambitious most days. Unfortunately my cyclical hormones can pull me down pretty hard for a couple of days each month, as can the angry outbursts of my oldest son, but other than those days, I feel happy, genuinely happy again.
It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been wanting to write about my experience with prenatal and post partum depression, but there is so much to say that I’m going to do it in installments. (Doesn’t that sound peachy? A whole series on depression?!) I’ve written before about struggling through my fifth and final pregnancy. When I found out I was expecting it was a hard time in my life. My best friend had just moved. My oldest son was struggling more with his emotions. We got incredibly sick over Christmas. Because of those other factors, it took me a while to realize what I was experiencing. My once passionate, ambitious self felt utterly flat, completely apathetic, and darkly negative. I became anti-social, avoiding group get togethers and church activities. When I did interact with people I had trouble making eye contact. I couldn’t cook or keep up with our home, and I didn’t care. I couldn’t create. I was often short and harsh with our children. I awoke each morning with no desire to open my eyes and get up. On my worst days I was utterly irrational. I would say to my husband, “I’m no good at this job. I am ruining my children. You would all be better off without me.” I had ZERO confidence in myself.
None of these characteristics are me. I didn’t feel like myself at all. I was cognizant of that but could understand no way to do anything about it.
One afternoon while the older boys were at school and the little ones were in front of a movie, I stopped short on my way up the stairs. I dropped down to my knees and sobbed uncontrollably. Something was wrong with me. I knew it. I was not myself. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and into google’s search bar I typed: prenatal depression.
Turns out: it’s a thing! Tons of articles came up about ante partum depression. Why did no one ever tell me about this? Post partum depression is a big thing doctors and society now discuss and treat women for but why not this?!
Just identifying what was happening was really helpful for me. It helped me feel slightly less crazy to know it was an actual thing. As I neared the end of my pregnancy, things began to look a little brighter, but by in large I took my instability with me right into post partum depression. I’ll pick up with that in the next post and some of my tips for dealing with that.
Let me just conclude by saying, I have yet to really figure out how to make any money from blogging. Mostly it’s a hobby that costs me money! But writing is hugely important to me. It helps me self reflect and heal. I also blog because I feel compelled to share my story. If I can help one woman feel less crazy, then it is worth my time! That is to say, if you’re pregnant and struggling mentally, talk to someone about it. You’re not alone and you don’t have to bear the weight of it alone.