I've been thinking about writing this post for a very long time, but it didn't seem like it would be interesting to anyone. However, chatting with a friend over the weekend as well as my doula has convinced me that it's time to open-up and share.
This pregnancy has been really hard on me and Working Dad.
I don't say that lightly, nor do I think that pregnancies aren't hard. But this pregnancy has been different. There are lots of things that change and are annoying/difficult when you are pregnant. From your abs splitting (mine have) to headaches and backaches and everything in between.
And then there are real problems.
One of those real problems that people don't talk about enough is pre-natal anxiety/depression.
And it's what I'm suffering from right now.
It's been really hard to admit that there is a larger problem. And that it's something that is beyond my control. Right from the beginning we knew that this pregnancy was different. I didn't have a lot of the physical problems that I had with EG. I wasn't as nauseous, I didn't have almost any issues eating and cooking food, and I didn't throw-up as much. On the flipside though, I was an emotional roller coaster.
I've always been a person who feels things on the tips of my sleeves. That lays it all out there, and goes from crying to fine in about 3 minutes flat. I had a lot of emotions when EG stopped breastfeeding (especially since it was so sudden) but I worked through those feelings. Something about this was different. I would get into a mood and not be able to get out of it. I would spend all day being angry, or sad, or despondent with the slightest of provocation.
It seemed to start that way the moment I found out I was pregnant. Not only did my body seem to change instantly (good bye short lived regular t-shirts and bras, hello larger sized maternity items!), but it seemed like I instantly went from regular me, to someone else- someone crazy.
When I was pregnant with EG I had some emotional meltdowns. We refer to one incident as the 'pizza/Thanksgiving' event. After Thanksgiving dinner I needed pizza. So badly that I ended up in a fit of tears in the middle of the kitchen floor bawling...
But this time, it seemed like these moments were not the outliers, but rather the norm. Chatting with my doctor (who I totally love!) as he tried to reassure me that all of this was totally normal. And some of it is. There are new hormones, changing emotions, and lots and lots of things going on. Add in a toddler, a full-time job, and you've got a lot on your plate.
Then came our doctor's appointment in February. It had been a really rough month. I wasn't sleeping, I had unusual bruises on my legs and felt like everything was tension. Things continued to seem like they were spiraling out of control, and when I arrived at my doctors office I was practically bawling already. We chatted for a few moments, he took a look at me and a look at my numbers and decided I needed a two-week break from work. Luckily Working Dad and I had already had similar thoughts and I had booked myself a week of vacation for a mommy/daddy babymoon already.
Luckily for me getting rid of the stress of work did wonders for me. By Thursday (my appointment was on Monday) I was sleeping through the night again. After my vacation things were looking up, and I seemed to be better balanced, and better at balancing all the demands I needed to get through. Then came the end of April. Work had been cooking up a storm with 7 events in a one month timespan. I found myself back on the edge-three times in two weeks I was hysterical.
One day I remember being so angry at Working Dad, when he did nothing really wrong. He had said he would get up with EG, but he didn't, and I did. We had a lovely morning, but when Working Dad finally got out of bed something happened. I was angry beyond myself. I remember sitting in the bathroom, bawling my eyes out and being in a bear hug by Working Dad. Poor EG cuddling up to her parents, asking Mommy if she's okay.
So, another two weeks off that just concluded a few weeks ago. And thankfully I've been able to find some balance. But it's getting harder. Each day is a minor struggle, and each day is a minor victory.
I'm lucky in that my doctor is talking with me seriously, and though he's a little to quick to push the medications for my mind (I don't have any qualms against it if you need them, but I think I'm better at balancing with talking/exercise/time) at least he acknowledges the problem. He's given me some resources, and I've been taking advantage of what's available to me through my employer as well.
My doula has also been wonderful. Talking with her about the issues, and about how Working Dad and I can partner together to get through things, that's been great. She's also helped me shed light on why it might getting worse- the impending birth and my negative birth experience with EG.
But it is time for more people to talk about it. So here I am, standing up and saying that pregnancy isn't all rosy. I love my daughter and I love the baby inside of me, but that doesn't change the fact that depression/anxiety is a real thing. I hope you don't have these issues, but if you do, know you aren't alone.