Get your snacks ready folks, this is going to be a long one…
Pregnancy & Mental Illness, where do I Begin? I guess I’ll start at the Mental Illness part. I struggle with Clinical Depression and Anxiety, on top of that I struggle with acceptance of such diagnosis. Is it real? Is it not? Do I need medication? No, Medication is for the weak…QUICK someone give me my chill pill! Its a constant battle, trying to accept the fact that I’m okay yet not okay. Trying to accept the fact that scientifically I do not produce that happy chemical while simultaneously listening to the constant opinion of others who incessantly shove their beliefs on me. Who do I trust? My gut or my family? Do I trust my gut because it’s telling me I need this medication, or is that the depression taking over and “altering my perception” Or maybe I should just take a walk like everyone suggests? I still cant answer that because I’m still trying to figure it out myself.
I spent most of my adult life lying to myself about said illness, chasing and searching for happiness trying to convince myself that it’s not real. Thinking maybe if i move here or buy this I’ll finally be happy all while drowning in a clutter-filled world of material things that have absolutely no meaning. This was/is something I struggled with CONSTANTLY and getting on and off medications. Knowing that I need them but desperately telling myself that it’s all a placebo, just get over it.
2016 came around and I landed the job of my dreams, I stopped the medications cold turkey, thinking I finally made it I’ll finally be happy. Truth is I was too distracted by 60 hr work weeks to notice the depression still lingering. My anxiety was at an all time high but I just kept telling myself that it came with the territory of having such a prestigious job. There I was again…Lying to myself.
September of 2016 I found out I was pregnant, at first it didn’t scare me. I was making enough money to afford a child and with my spouse by my side we had more than enough combined. Right around this time there were some major changes going on — for which I’ll save for another blog post — and with that change came added stress, but me being the clueless first time mom I had no idea the effects that stress have on the baby. Pile on depression, anxiety, physical labor and stress BAM a recipe for best expectant mom of the year. My body started shutting down, I felt like I was constantly in the hospital, oh and lets not get into the situation with my blood pressure. Doctor after doctor told me I needed to lessen my work load, that I needed bed rest. Me? bed rest? Psh, I wasn’t going to let a little pregnancy get in the way of what I worked so hard for..and that’s when God, life, and the universe teamed up-came in and knocked me back down. One last trip to the ER and I knew I was done, I knew that was it for me. I reluctantly resigned and I felt like I was demoted to stay at home mom (which I now see as such a beautiful promotion). With that “demotion” the depression showed it’s face again, mocking and suffocating me.
My ob quickly noticed and we talked for about an hour, our routine appointments usually took about 15 minutes. She explained to me that my depression was taking over and the negative effects it could have on my pregnancy. She showed me different options including medications that were safe for expectant mothers, I didn’t tell her about my struggle with taking the medications before but I didn’t have to as she could clearly read my “poker face”. She sent me off with a prescription and as I walked out she said something to me that’s stuck with me ever since. “If you cant be there for you, you cant be there for your baby and I know you don’t want that. She needs you…you need you.” I about died and my heart broke. What was I thinking putting myself through all of this? I felt so guilty and selfish. Those words saved me, my relationship, and Baby Olivia. Now taking the medication I can genuinely say I feel better. Of course not everyday is 100% but when is it ever like that? This whole experience opened my eyes to the beauty of pregnancy and being there for my partner. It’s showed me that when life is trying to change your path its best to just go with it. Or as they say “Keep Calm and Carry On”
If you feel like you’re struggling with depression don’t be afraid to talk to someone or your doctor. You are not alone. ❤