There is a lot of information out there regarding post-natal depression which is fantastic because as we create awareness, we can help the many mothers out there who suffer from this mental illness.
But we do not hear much about depression or anxiety during pregnancy even though it is thought up to 10 per cent of pregnant women actually have antenatal depression. Is it because we are scared to admit that even though we are told it’s meant to be the happiest time in our lives, sometimes it’s just not?
For me this was the case.
I suffered pretty badly with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) when I was pregnant which eventually led to me being diagnosed with antenatal depression and anxiety.
My sickness started from before I even knew I was pregnant at only three weeks. From then on, it got worse and worse with many, many trips to the hospital and weeks and months on end in bed. There were days where I was so deliriously sick that I couldn’t walk and would sleep on the toilet floor for hours until my partner would come home from work and carry me back to bed. I think this is where the depression started as I never really got to experience the “joy” of finding out I was pregnant and getting excited about the future.
In the first 12 weeks I lost nearly 10kg from not being able to eat and then throwing up anything I did consume .
My body got a short break from the intensity of HG when between 20 weeks to 24 weeks when I travelled overseas. And by a break, I mean I would only throw up three to five times a day instead of five to 15 times.
However, at around 28 weeks the HG worsened again and I was then diagnosed with antental depression – even though now I can see it was there long before this – and was prescribed pregnancy safe anti-depressant medication. I eventually stopped working all together and started become disconnected from the world.
Due to my severe HG I had weekly OB appointments, and every appointment I would cry and beg my OB to help me. By week 36 after yet another hospital visit, he could see in my eyes and body that I couldn’t cope any more and decided it was time at 37 weeks to perform my planned c-section.
Anxiety and depression were nothing new to me. I have suffered with both in the past but this was different.
Pregnancy was meant to be the most happy, exciting time of my life and a time where I was meant to be connecting with my unborn baby. But for me it wasn’t. Here are some of the truths of what it was like for me to experience this type of depression and anxiety:
In my first trimester I actually found it hard to want to connect with my baby partly because I wasn’t sure if my body could or would cope with what it was going through. I was worried that I could loose the baby so I didn’t want to get attache, but also, part of me was angry that I felt this sick and ruined.