When I first started this blog I thought about what kind of blog I wanted this to be. I knew I wanted to talk about motherhood, but there are so many aspects of motherhood, and so many angles you can take. I decided that I wanted to have a lighthearted, fun kind of blog. I never planned on talking about my experience with depression, in fact I specifically planned on not talking about it here. I’ve been reading many blogs since starting mine, and Honest Mom really inspired me to share my story with depression and motherhood. It is not something that I really talk about much with anyone. My immediate family knows, but no one else does. My husband and I rarely talk about, usually just a quick update after a doctor’s appointment. I’ve never really been comfortable sharing this part of my life.
I was first diagnosed with depression during my pregnancy. Around 17 weeks I was bawling in my Ob Gyn’s because I was not excited about being pregnant, in fact I hated it, and I was worried about postpartum depression. She didn’t wait for me to get postpartum depression, and immediately referred me to a psychiatrist who specializes in working with pregnant and postpartum women. I was started on an antidepressant that was safe for pregnancy and put into a weekly group therapy session with other pregnant women who had depression. By the time I was able to join the group I was nearly 30 weeks pregnant, and by far the furthest along. The other women were less than 20 weeks in their pregnancy, and we had nothing in common. Many had complications in their pregnancy, while others had relationship problems which were the driving forces in their depression.
And then there was me, I just hated being pregnant. I was so far disconnected from the fact that soon a little person would be here, all I could focus on was how miserable I felt, and the negative parts of having a baby (no sleep, no freedom, strain on my relationships etc). Intellectually I knew there was a baby, and he would be cute and cuddly but emotionally I felt nothing but dread. I had no connection to the baby. If I think about it for very long, I start to cry when I think about the things that would come out of my mouth when I was pregnant. It wasn’t uncommon to hear me say “I hate this baby” or “why do people have such a hard time putting babies up for adoption? It would be so easy”. It sounds horrible, and at the time I didn’t really think I had depression, I just thought that I was not the type of person who enjoyed pregnancy. Looking back it was much more than that.
The second L was born and I got to hold him I instantly fell in love with him, and felt connected to him. He was my baby, and I loved him more than I ever thought possible, but that was not the end of my struggle with depression. A few weeks after L came home I had one particularly bad week. I would have random thoughts of ways I could die or kill myself. I never had any desire to follow through on these thoughts, but I couldn’t stop them from popping in my head. After a week it stopped, and I brought it up at my next appointment. My doctor decided to switch meds, and I haven’t had it happen again, but it scared me at the time.
I’m feeling much better these days, it’s slowly gotten better, but I don’t think I’m there yet. Sometimes I wonder if I’m lazy, or if my depression is getting the best of me. I had big plans of going for walks daily, and playing outside with L. We’ve gone for 2 walks, and have played on a blanket for about 10 minutes twice in our backyard. Most days the most we go outside is to stand on the front step for a minute or two to check the mail. I use the fact that we’re a one car family as an excuse for why we never go out, but there’s a bus that stops right outside my door which will take me to the mall, or to a mommy and me group without needing to transfer or anything. We went to the mommy group once, and the mall maybe 3 times in 8 months. There’s a park across the street that we haven’t even been to.
When my husband is around I get a little antsy and want to go do something all together, but when it is just me and L I can’t seem to convince myself to go. I guess this is why I sometimes wonder if it’s laziness or depression. Even if I have a car at my disposal for some reason going out on my own just seems to overwhelming.
I’ll keep chipping away, and one of these days maybe I’ll feel like my old self. I know it’s not an overnight thing, and it will take time.
Any other moms have any experience with dealing with depression? Any tip or advice?