Preparing For Baby : Antepartum Depression
Being pregnant is an amazing journey and often described by most women as the happiest moments of their life. Pregnancy is certainly full of many exciting experiences, but studies show that 14-23% of women will fight depression during pregnancy.
Often overlooked as the results of raging hormones, antepartum depression is a very serious condition. No mother-to-be wants to admit to the feeling of hopelessness or resentment of their unborn child. Even having these thoughts may very well bring a mother-to-be even lower.
It is advised that you should always talk with your doctor, but there are several things you can do for yourself to help shift your pregnancy into a positive direction.
At 19 years old I became pregnant with my first son. I’ll never forget the thousands of emotions that ran through my head the moment I read that test. Though I was in an ongoing relationship, it was by no means healthy. Extremely weak and very sick, my first pregnancy as a whole was completely miserable.
Additionally, at 19 weeks it was discovered my son had Gastroschisis which deemed my pregnancy high risk. Always being a very self-sufficient woman, I felt totally defeated and fragile.
Stuck in an abusive relationship and unable to provide for myself financially, I felt completely unfit to bring this child into the world. I would love to say things got easier after my son’s birth, but the truth is that I felt horrible to feel so much resentment throughout pregnancy.
Now here we are, let’s fast forward 5 years later to this current day.
37 weeks pregnant with little boy number two, impatiently waiting for his arrival. I would love to say this pregnancy has been more enjoyable, but again I struggled with the same challenges I eventually overcame within my first pregnancy.
After the birth of my first son it took quite some time to let go of all my guilt. Eventually though, I was able to find strength and pull myself out of that depressed state. I was able to change the perception I had of my mothering abilities and embrace the new life I had started with this amazing little boy.
Antepartum Depression is a disheartening disorder that has the ability to rob joy and excitement from your pregnancy. It’s very important to be able to recognize when that line is crossed between raging hormones or something potentially more serious.
What is Antepartum Depression?
Antepartum depression is a disorder that affects 14-23% of pregnant women. Similar to Postpartum depression but certainly not given as much publicity, antepartum depression can leave you feeling completely hopeless.
Signs and Symptoms
- Constant sadness
- Inability to concentrate
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Strange sleeping patterns
- Thoughts of suicide or hopelessness
- Unusual eating habits
- Constant Sickness
Treatment for antepartum depression is similar to treatment for any other version of depression. Some physicians are uncomfortable with prescribing medication, but studies show that risk is minimal when taking depression medication during pregnancy. Most physicians opt for counseling, group therapy, acupuncture, or light therapy.
Within my first pregnancy I initially blamed my depressed state on many of the emotional challenges I endured. Within my second pregnancy I consulted my doctor during the second trimester.
It was advised that I go to counseling, but to be honest that wasn’t a route I personally was comfortable with.
These last 9 months have been a ridiculous emotional rollercoaster. With it finally coming to an end I would like to share some of the things I did do that helped me reach the finish line of one adventure and the starting line of another.
Keep Yourself Busy
Your wandering mind is your greatest enemy! I’m very much a goal oriented person, so constantly setting a new goal has helped me stay focused.
Find Ways to Clear Your Head
What is your passion? Is it reading, writing, painting, crafting, or cooking? Do whatever it is that makes your soul feel good.
During my pregnancies I turn into your modern day Susie Homemaker. I’m constantly baking an endless supply of cakes, cookies, and sweets. Additionally, I find tons of furniture to refurbish and I obsessively clean my house.
Focus On Today
Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Focus on what can be accomplished at this very moment and embrace that moment. You cannot worry about the bills you are unable to pay or how unprepared you are for the big day. Focus on what will make you feel better now.
One of my biggest challenges during pregnancy is being financially stable. My typical job is very physically demanding which makes it impossible to work while pregnant. So, I have to say not working for more than half my pregnancy has certainly put me in a financial bind.
….I constantly remind myself that I have a roof over my head and a car to drive. I’ll be able to dig myself out of debt when I’m financially ready. Until then there’s no reason to stress about Chase calling for the 100th time because I have yet to make a payment.
When we look good we feel good! Yes, when you’re feeling depressed the last thing you want to do is get all dolled up. But I promise you no matter how much effort it takes to grab that mascara or glue on those lashes, the feeling of accomplishment as you stare back into the mirror is totally worth it!
Remember Your Accomplishments
If you’re a first time mom focus on your strengths and everything you’ve accomplished until now. Focus on how much of that perseverance you would love to pass onto your unborn child. If this pregnancy is your second, third, or even fourth rodeo; look at the amazing children you are currently raising.
My 5 year old has been so helpful throughout my whole pregnancy, he’s my little sidekick. His passion for helping me around the house, and grabbing me pineapples from the fridge when I’m sick has shown me that I’m doing a pretty damn good job at this mom thing.
Remember this shall pass!
For some women antepartum depression can last for up to 6 weeks after birth. On average, 15% of women in the US suffer from postpartum depression, and it has been noted that 10% of women that suffer from antepartum will also suffer from postpartum.
Best thing to do is to stay focused and positive.
Do NOT compare your pregnancy to other mom-to-be’s!
Also check out – Pregnancy Without A Partner
Check Out Life Of Faith for Monday Mommy Link-ups