We finally realize that prenatal depression is a valid condition that deserves attention. Don't be ashamed or guilty if you're struggling during your pregnancy. This page is here to help, because I've been there, too.
It helps your baby and you to work on these feelings, even if you're not sure you're truly “depressed.”
Many think that depression doesn't occur during pregnancy because of pregnancy hormones. This isn't true. Studies show depression in pregnancy to be surprisingly common – around 10% of all pregnant women experience it.
How can you know if the feelings you have are depression or not? Sometimes feeling down is a normal pregnancy feeling – especially if you're dealing with morning sickness and fatigue in the first trimester.
Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, however, are not normal. All women feel a little anxious about bringing a new baby into the world (even if their pregnancy was planned and hoped for). But if you find yourself battling to get out of bed in the morning or lacking energy for living, it's time to take steps to recover. Even if you can get yourself through your routine every day you might realize that you are having hopeless, sad feelings much of the time.
Depression during pregnancy doesn't mean you're a bad mother or a bad person. As I noted above, prenatal depression is surprisingly common! If you're struggling, find someone you can safely talk to. It may be your doctor or midwife. You'll probably find your midwife especially willing to help you work through any issues troubling you.
You can also talk to your partner or a trusted friend. If you try to talk to someone close to you and they don't understand or seem to brush you off, find another person you can talk to. People don't mean to be cruel, but sometimes they do brush off depression as “pregnancy hormones.” Sometimes men want to simply “fix everything” and get frustrated when they can't – talk to your doctor or midwife instead. It may be helpful for your husband to talk to them, too.
How can you treat pregnancy depression? Speaking to someone that you trust is often a first step. Further steps include ensuring that your pregnancy diet is excellent and that you're getting enough exercise. Even though it may be hard to motivate yourself to take these simple steps they will greatly benefit you (and your baby).
If you need more help don't hesitate to ask. Your normal care provider may be able to refer you to someone who can help. If you want to talk to a professional, many counselors will adjust or waive their fees based on income. You can also explore medication, herbal, or other alternative therapy options with your care provider.
You don't need to suffer through prenatal depression. I have many practical steps for you to take in my Walking Through Shadows Series – Click here to read now. Please check out the series – I wrote it after overcoming my own prenatal depression and detailed out what really works to get you to the place you want to be so you can be the mama you want to be.