Why Prenatal Depression Ruined My Pregnancy
Like most women, I was deliriously happy when I discovered I was pregnant.
The thought of becoming depressed while I had this beautiful life growing inside me seemed so far-fetched that it never even occurred to me that I might get prenatal depression.
My pregnancy started off relatively normal. I was one of the unlucky ones to have prominent morning sickness. This lasted until I was around 18-weeks. Some days I would be folded over a toilet at work, waiting for my toast from breakfast to make its appearance.
Besides feeling like a train wreck, I was still beaming with excitement. My husband and I couldn’t wait to have our first child. Everything seemed perfect.
Around the 22-week mark that all changed.
For some unknown reason, my hip started playing up. That pain progressed to something that can only be described as sharp, shooting, and piercing.
Like most injuries, I figured I’d hurt myself and that the pain would disappear within a few weeks.
I had no idea it would last my entire pregnancy… and that it would eventually put me off wanting to get pregnant again.
A few weeks passed and I broached the subject with my midwife. She told me she’d seen a client with a similar pain before. She explained that the pain was unbearable and the poor lady ended up in a wheelchair for the remainder of her pregnancy.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I left the appointment, got into my car, and cried. I couldn’t fathom having this pain for the next 15-weeks.
This was meant to be one of the most joyful experiences of my life, yet the simplest movements were excruciating.
It hurt to get out of bed.
It hurt to get out of the car.
It even hurt to walk up a couple of stairs.
It got to the point where the pain intensified tenfold, and there I was one morning, unable to move.
I knew I couldn’t go on like this so I sought out a second opinion. I went to my osteopath – he’d known me for years and I knew I could trust his opinion.
After a consultation, my osteopath believed that I had sacroiliac joint pain. He performed a few manipulations and then assured me that they would get me feeling better in no time.
The pain intensified and was so bad that my Dad wanted to take me to hospital.
I declined. There had to be another way.
I needed a third opinion. I made an appointment with my GP.
My GP requested that I have an ultrasound on my hip. The results later revealed that I had bursitis and that there was nothing I could do except limit my movements and have cortisone injections for the pain. No thank you.
The thought of injecting something into my body while I was carrying a life inside of me didn’t sit well. I decided to make do with the pain.
As summer arrived and I entered 32-weeks, I found it hard to get through a full day. My GP explained that I needed to take care of myself and to cut back my hours at work. If not for me, for my baby.
I felt terrible. Work needed me and here I was, letting them down.
I also wanted to save and contribute to our finances as much as I could before our baby arrived, and now I was affecting our income. I felt guilty.
Everyday, normal actions, were painful.
I couldn’t vacuum, I was advised not to do any bending and lifting, and I found myself becoming more and more housebound.
I put on more weight than necessary because of the lack of movement and exercise.
The weight piled on.
Stretch marks scarred my body like rabid scratches.
My thighs felt like the size of small tree trunks.
People would make comments like “are you sure you’re not having twins?” And they’d even comment to my husband about my ever-growing size.
My mental state changed.
I sank deeper into a depressive state. I had no idea that this downward spiral I was experiencing was prenatal depression.
My moods were all over the show. I knew I was hormonal but this felt like it was more than that. I was easily irritable, and I would snap at my poor husband over the simplest things.
I stopped doing the things I enjoyed. I felt physically and emotionally drained.
Anxiety took control of me and I didn’t want to go out in public. I became a recluse and made excuses as to why I couldn’t leave the house.
I started to count down the days till my baby girl was due. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to get pregnant again.
This pregnancy had taken its toll.
The strangest part was that at the time I couldn’t understand that something was wrong. It wasn’t until 6-months post pregnancy that I realised how bad things had been.
Now, I feel incredibly lucky to have a beautiful baby girl as my daughter. I love her more than life itself so it’s hard to even contemplate the feelings I had when I was pregnant.
Looking back, I wish I had talked to someone, anyone, to let them know how I felt. If I had of, it might have changed my pregnancy.
I understand I still would have been in pain physically, but my mental state needed help as well.
It’s for this reason that I wanted to share my story; to help other women realise that prenatal depression doesn’t discriminate.
It can hit any one of us, at any time during pregnancy.
If you, or someone you know, have any of the symptoms I’ve experienced, please seek professional help.
You might have the chance to enjoy the remaining time during your pregnancy, rather than begrudging it like I did.