Depression, Anxiety and Pregnancy

images

I know this blog is supposed to be about the life of a coach’s wife.

I know I haven’t written anything in a while.

I know, I know, BUT I have something equally as important to write about.

Earlier this year, my husband and I found out that we are expecting our second child. Exciting right? Well, it wasn’t at first.  Not for me anyway.  I started a new job with a new company a few months before we discovered the news.  We knew we wanted another baby, but both agreed “not now” and I began taking birth control. A few months in, I kept finding myself exhausted and nauseated. I knew something wasn’t right and I had a pretty good feeling I knew what it was.  After taking the test and saying a few choice words and many tears, we started the new adventure of a second pregnancy.

After having such a difficult time conceiving our first child, I never thought I would be devastated to discover a second pregnancy– Especially when that pregnancy happened without trying and the difficulties that can come along with it. I hated people who got pregnant on birth control, and now I was one of them.  Please don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be having a second child. The timing isn’t what I wanted, but this child is. I have my reasons; I am enjoying our first child and the stage he is in, I don’t qualify for FMLA at my new company so I will have a short maternity leave, and I am a little scared to be having children so close together.

I thought my sadness and anxiety would eventually go away, mainly because I have accepted all of the fears I originally had, but after much time (I am closing in on 23 weeks) I am still struggling. It has been incredibly difficult. I struggled with depression at the end of my first pregnancy, but it was caused by the death of a close family member along with 3 other deaths that occurred during that time; the last one being the hardest. I had postpartum depression for a few months also. This time, though, it’s different. It started from nearly the beginning and it is wreaking havoc in my life.

What I find interesting is that up to 33% of pregnant women can struggle with depression, 14-23% can struggle with major depression during pregnancy.

I want to talk a little bit about how it has affected me:

My depression is typical of any other mild case, I can’t concentrate, I have feelings of sadness and guilt, most of all I have anxiety.  I’m not surprised that I had these feelings at first; especially since we found out I was pregnant after the holidays, which are always hard on my relationship with my husband.  I am even less surprised that they stuck around because the private school my husband work for is currently on the brink of closing the doors, leaving him without a job with a pregnant wife and child. I have faith that the school will be fine, but I am human so I worry. It went from a stressful time to an uncertain time, and it has been hard.  Despite my knowing that everything will be fine, I feel the way I do.  It stinks!

My biggest problem is that I can’t get out of my own head. I am typically not a quiet person, but I could go all day without saying much right now. It’s because I am thinking. It’s because I have feelings of impending doom. It’s the panic attack that is getting ready to make me hyperventilate.  My hands will feel numb, and I will likely get frustrated and have to take a walk to calm myself. It feels better not to talk, especially if I know you won’t understand. I wish I didn’t feel this way.  I pray nightly about it.

Throughout this difficult time, my family has been so helpful. My husband listens intently during my mood swings. My son smiles sweetly all the time and I can’t help but smile back. We have managed to make sure he is unaffected by my anxiety. In fact, it is nearly non-existent when they are around. The rest of my family is supportive, kind, loving and sympathetic. They don’t take it personally when I am not myself. Did I mention I pray a lot about this? I mean a lot. I pray for me to feel better, I pray for my husband who is in an uncomfortable position, I pray for my support system, I pray for those who take it personally and I also pray for those who feel hurt by my anxiety.

I have done a few small things that seem to really help. I stay off social media as much as possible. I try to put my phone away once I am home from work. I focus my attention on my husband, my son and me. I take good care of myself by eating healthy and exercising when I can (my husband might laugh at that one). We go to the park a lot; the sunshine makes me feel wonderful.  I cut down on my chores, which makes my house look like a mess, but my husband does take care of many.  I purge my material goods, a lot. I know that sounds silly and like a chore, but every time I get rid of something I feel relieved. It’s the little things, right?

I am not looking for pity. I am not a person who likes to draw attention from others. Many coach’s wives and friends read my blog and it would be exhausting to relay this message over and over again.  Please know how difficult it is to discuss and blog this struggle.

My goal is to bring attention to an issue that pregnant women can struggle with. Pregnancy depression is not only postpartum; it can also be antepartum.  It’s a real issue. You are not alone, you are not crazy. Talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you find light therapy, or whatever you may need. Hang in there!

If you know someone who is struggling with this or think they are, do the best you can to be supportive and help them find the assistance the need.

It’s really going to be okay!