After The Pregnancy High, A Dip Into Depression
Romper's Trying project follows five women with very different stories through a year of trying to conceive. Where discussions about fertility often focus on the end goal, they'll document what it's like emotionally, physically, and spiritually before you get there — the anxiety, the hope, the ovulation kits, the tests. How do you function when getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term isn't a given? Read on for one woman's answer to that question.
Ambreia has a 2-year-old son and has been trying for a second child for a year and a half. This is the fourth installment of her Trying diary. You can read the previous entry here.
Physically, things started feeling a lot closer to normal this month. I felt a million times better than I had since finding out I was pregnant! It was awesome to feel like a human again, but that relief was undercut with prenatal depression.
Chub and I went to Texas to stay with family for about a month while my husband was away on a training. It was great to see everyone, and to escape the alternative of single-parent loneliness. My favorite parts about the trip were seeing my mom, eating tons of delicious food, and making it to the second trimester. My least favorite parts were dealing with the Texas heat, having basically no clothes that accommodated early pregnancy bloat, and trying to muster the energy to chase a 2-year-old around the house.
I started to “look pregnant” this month. A few people saw my pudge and made comments. Little did they know it was just the annoying effects of bloating. It didn’t really help me feel any more pregnant. All I felt was tired. I battled depressive feelings pretty hard — it’s kinda hard to explain to people that something you were extremely excited about left you with unexpected discomfort. I don’t want to feel sad or ungrateful that our wishes were granted. I just didn't feel like me.
Have you ever gotten ready to drive to work in the morning on a foggy day? Even if you’ve lived in the same place for years and have everything about your street memorized, the fog makes you doubt everything. Most of that doubt is because you can’t see what you know has always been there. More often than not, depression makes me feel like I’m surrounded by fog. I’ve been here before, and I know the rational way to process the symptoms I’m experiencing. Yet I feel trapped and afraid to act or move because I can’t see anything that isn’t right in front of me.
I wish we each had to carry the baby for half of the pregnancy.
There were many moments I wondered why I wasn’t just grateful with my life the way it was before. Two is a challenging age and stage by itself. Chub loves exploring, learning, and communicating. It’s hard to do that when you need two naps a day. This month, I’ve been thinking about how the energy I lack due to pregnancy is making me a worse mom to our son. I spent a good amount of time crying about it and feeling like I betrayed him. He deserves much better than what I’m giving him right now.
The first half of the month I didn’t get to speak to my husband too often due to training. When we did talk, I found myself confrontational and defiant. I missed him but I was pretty upset that as the mother I was also the default burden carrier. I wish we each had to carry the baby for half of the pregnancy. Then he might better understand what I was going through.
My birthday came and went while we were in Texas — I did nothing to celebrate, but Chubs' obsession with singing "Happy Birthday" when my mom baked a cake gave me something to smile about.
I could almost tell the exact day the placenta took over — I could eat and move again! I was functioning a heck of a lot better by the time we had to head back home a week after my birthday. It was great having an extended visit with my family but I was really excited about McChub and I having our own space again.
Once I stepped foot into my air-conditioning-free home, I realized that optimism would be much harder to come by than expected. In a few days, I have a doctor's appointment. Maybe I’ll finally get to process some of these feelings. For now, I'm looking inward for the feel of my pregnancy, and trying to find my way back to happiness.
If you are experiencing prenatal or postnatal depression, you can call 800-944-4773 to reach a counselor at Postpartum International. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24 hours a day.