Until my diagnosis, I had never heard of prenatal depression. People don't really talk about mental health in our culture, and there's so much stigma surrounding it, that I guess it's not surprising. Pregnancy is romanticized, too, so the last thing you want to admit is that you aren't happy while you're pregnant. When I became depressed I didn’t know what to do, who to tell, or if there was anything I could do. Then, at a prenatal appointment, my OB-GYN asked me how I was feeling and said the things a person with prenatal depression needs to hear from their doctor, starting with the always-important, "You can talk to me."
So, I did. In fact, I let it all out. I sobbed when I told her how depressed I had been and how hopeless I felt. I was scared and vulnerable; so sure she was going to say that I was just going to have to tough it out until after my baby was born. Thankfully, she didn't. Instead, she told me that I had prenatal depression and there are actually quite a few treatment options that are safe during pregnancy.
I realized that I didn't have to suffer alone. We discussed options, including therapy and medications, and created a treatment plan that we thought would work with my lifestyle. It took a couple of weeks for my glorious anti-depressant to really kick in, but when it did I seriously started to feel better. It was like a dark cloud lifted from my life and I was finally able to enjoy my pregnancy (well, as much as anyone really enjoys pregnancy). I am so glad I told my OB-GYN what was going on, and listened to her advice that day. She really did say so many important things, including but certainly not limited to the following: