October 15, 2018

Depression While Pregnant

I had an experience at the bottom of the wave about a week or so ago that was pretty rough that I wanted to talk about.

After someone has a baby, the doctors are very concerned about the mama's mental health. Each time you go in for a check up they ask you a series of questions about how your doing emotionally. What they are looking for is signs and symptoms of postpartum depression.

When I was pregnant with Bubba, I struggled with depression. Andy knew about it, but he was really the only person who knew. I was embarrassed and ashamed to feel depressed while pregnant. It seems as though when you're pregnant there is this expectation that you should be elated and happy all of the time, this wasn't the case for me. 

While in the hospital one of the nurses read through my file and said that she recommended that I get on an antidepressant. She told me that she had been on one for 17 years and that is helped her a ton. I'm not one who likes to pop pills and I declined.

Thankfully I didn't struggle with postpartum depression, I just struggled with depression while pregnant.

Several months after I had Bubba, we took him in to see the chiropractor. The chiropractor asked all kinds of questions about my pregnancy, labor and delivery. When I mentioned that I struggled with depression during my pregnancy, he asked if I had taken fish oil. I told him no- I hate sea food. He informed me that a lack of fish oil while pregnant can cause depression. I began taking fish oil supplements that day and have been taking them ever since.

This pregnancy the depression has thankfully been almost non-existent. The other day though, it hit and it hit hard. It was probably the worst experience with depression I have ever had. I felt so completely worthless and empty inside. I recognized the depression for what it was and kept looking at the clock, I knew I had to make it just a few hours and then Andy would be home. As soon as he walked in the door I asked him for a blessing. Instantly, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me.

We went to the park as a family and stopped to talk to a few neighbors on the way home. They asked how I was doing and I told them. Both neighbors gave me the biggest hugs and talked with me for a little while. When I finally made it home, I felt a lot better.

Each time the depression tried to creep back in, the words of a hymn entered my mind, "Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace? When other sources cease to make me whole." and the feelings of depression would fade.

I am so grateful for a husband who holds the Priesthood and who is able to give blessings in time of need. I know that the Lord is aware of each and everyone of us. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses as well as our struggles. If we turn to Him, He will help us.

I know that depression is something that a lot of people struggle with on a regular basis, my heart goes out to them. Hang in there, there is hope. Please let someone know of your struggle, you don't have to suffer alone. I'm grateful for fish oil and that the only times I seem to struggle with depression are while I am pregnant-- and that it is for such a short season of life.

On a side note. When I was in the OB office this past week, there was a sign that said that something like 16% of women struggle with depression while they are pregnant.