Walking Through Shadows: Overcoming Depression During Pregnancy

Walking Through Shadows

Though I am at a much better place now, this pregnancy has been a completely new experience for me.  It has been challenging in ways my other pregnancies were not – both physically and emotionally.  I could list a bunch of reasons and speculate as to why it has been more challenging than the others, but in the end, it comes down to this – depression during pregnancy sucks.  The physical challenges of pregnancy, even when constant, are nothing compared to emotional ones.

Overcoming Prenatal Depression Banner

I have always really enjoyed pregnancy.  Even with my constant hip pain I really enjoy feeling my baby move and knowing there is a life growing inside of me.  Finally slowing down and doing what I needed to do to stop morning sickness took care of that problem completely within a couple of weeks.

But the emotional ups and downs of this pregnancy left me really struggling – even feeling like I didn't want to be pregnant.  This was distressing to me – I felt guilty, I felt like a fake every time I was asked about the pregnancy, and I felt more and more miserable.

Even now that I'm feeling a lot better, I still have some echoes of guilt.  I don't feel as happy and excited as I felt in other pregnancies.  I can look back at my previous pregnancy journals and see that even during those pregnancies I had times of stress and ambivalent feelings here and there – time tends to wash those memories away.  But I still find myself feeling a little more anxious and examining myself perhaps more than I did before.

I do find myself enjoying preparing for the baby – cleaning drawers, shopping for clothes here and there, and most especially sewing for the baby.  I greatly enjoyed sewing before Galen was born and I'm happy to see I enjoy it as much this time around.

Two friends have recently had babies and holding their newborns has made me look forward to mine.  I know that as I get closer I'll look forward to the baby's arrival even more – I often advise women that we have “9 months for a reason.”  You feel ready after 9 months of growing a baby 🙂  I just have to remember to step back and take my own advice!

Moving Away from the Shadows

Though I do still find myself feeling some ambivalence and having some harder days, on the whole I'm doing a lot better.  I thought I'd outline the major things that made a difference for me in the hopes it may help you if you struggle during a pregnancy.

Don't Analyze

First, as I mentioned above, I could probably analyze exactly why I felt down – there are several reasons, most of them revolving around my desire to have everything go “according to plan” and that not always happening!  But in the end, I found that dwelling on reasons didn't help me – in fact, it made me feel worse.

The one exception was in talking to my midwife – explaining what I was feeling to her, and why I thought I might be feeling that was helpful because she was totally accepting of whatever I felt and simply offered a listening ear and complete understanding.

Otherwise I found trying to analyze my feelings, or even share them with Scott, just made things worse.  They were complex and based on illogical emotions – which don't lend themselves to logical analysis or “quick fixes”

More practical steps: Click Here for Part 2.

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(3) comments

Noelle

Amazingly I found this very helpful.. I’m experiencing another step in the life of women- menopause and the emotional rollercoaster it brings… You’re right – analyzing makes it worse- this tumult of crazy thoughts and emotions defies logic … How vunerable we are to our body changes !! Looking forward to part 2!!

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Jen

Hello! I’m new to your email list but saw this article and followed the link. I just want you to know, you are not alone. I am 37 weeks with our 4th child and have struggled the entire time with unexplainable feelings. I have done alot of personal reflection and am seeing some improvement in myself. The things I am dealing with personally come from my own personal need to change somethings within myself (attitudes, humility, etc). Like you I have found looking at the “reasons” has provided little help. I do not know how you feel or exactly what you are going through or have gone through I just wanted to let you know there is someone else struggling to climb the mountain, but still pressing on and climbing. A bit of encouragement I guess. So, be encouraged, whatever you are facing can be dealt with and overcome. Peace and Joy be to you and your home.

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