The Dark Cloud Descends: Prenatal Depression

I am so sad to be writing this post, but the time has come to really lay it out there.

For as long as I can remember I have battled some sort of depression or anxiety. I have always said that my natural state of being is just slightly depressed, and I have combatted it with medication over the years and then eventually figured out how to overcome this slight depression with physical activity, yoga, and eating well.

In the years before having children , my depression and anxiety were completely in check.  Anytime I would feel myself slipping back into that state I would battle it the best way I knew how, with a good run or a few days of good clean eating.  It worked every time.  Then I had Ella and battled baby blues, and eventually went on medication for Postpartum Depression (PPD).  The medication gave me the boost I needed and the better I felt, the more I did, so the better I felt.  I am not ashamed of my battle with PPD anymore ,  and only wish I had recognized and accepted it earlier in my motherhood journey so I did not lose that time with Ella.  I feel that it took me 11 months to truly fall in love with her, and I have come to accept and honor that.

Ella

When I became pregnant with Addy, I had a plan.  I would go on medication the minute she was born.  I wanted to completely avoid the debilitating feeling of PPD.  I kept trucking along throughout my pregnancy, encountering major morning sickness, kidney stones, and everything else that comes a long with pregnancy.  For the most part I was incredibly excited to be pregnant again and could not wait to welcome my new little girl into the world.   I kept up my physical activity and ate really well, only gaining about 1/3 of the weight I gained when I was pregnant with Ella.

36weekbelly

About two weeks ago I felt what I call the “dark cloud” descend on me.  I was irrationally angry and sad ALL THE TIME.  I cried and yelled.  I was so tired during the day, only craving my bed, and then when I would finally get to fall into bed, I could never fall asleep.  I would toss and turn for hours, getting mere minutes of sleep at a time and then Ella would wake up at 5:30 AM and the entire cycle would start again.

depression

I felt exactly like I had when the dark cloud of PPD had descended on me.  I knew what I was feeling was beyond the realms of what is normal, and decided to do some research.  I had never even heard of Prenatal Depression before, and had no idea it was something that could be an issue.  As I learned more I realized this was exactly what I was battling, and I needed to take action.

I combatted this depression the exact opposite way I did PPD.  I really cleaned up my eating, I committed to getting on the elliptical at least twice a week.  I told Stephen right away, I told my closest friends, at my next doctors appointment I will tell my doctor.  I will not hide this, and I will not shy away from it.  I will completely embrace it and battle it head on.  There will be no telling myself it is normal and I will be ok, and just put one foot in front of the other, and tomorrow will be better, and all the jazz.

eliptical

cleaneats1

This is my reality.  I will be forgiving with myself, and I will TALK about it.  As soon as Addy is born I will start medication, and for the first time ever I will not worry about how long I am staying on it.  Eventually when I am done breastfeeding and my hormones regulate, maybe I will be able to wean myself off and go back to physical activity and organic foods as a solution to this problem, but if I cannot I will not worry about it.  I need to be the best me I can be for my family and for my girls.  And if that includes being on antidepressants for the rest of my life, then so be it.  It is only a small part of who I am, it does not define my entire being.  It has taken me 15 years to finally come to this place, but man, it feels good.

Did you battle PPD or prenatal depression?  Tell me about your experience!