I was ashamed of my prenatal depression



My wish for Moms is to know you aren't alone

pregnant and struggling with prenatal depression

Chrissy Tiegan asked moms around the world to make #MywishforMoms recently and I have seen the posts light up my newsfeed like a beacon of hope and inspiration for moms everywhere.

It isn’t just the inspiration though that lit up for me this week. The #mywishformoms posts sparked that little fire I had put out almost 9 years ago after the birth of my first son. A spark I had no desire of reigniting. A spark I spent almost a decade ashamed of.

Why I was so ashamed
I didn’t want anyone, especially my son to think I was ashamed of or didn’t want him. My dream of being a mom since I was a little girl was finally coming true. Before I became pregnant, I wanted a baby more than anything. I loved the idea of cradling and caring for a tiny human, of filling his or her room with itty bitty baby things. I wanted to paint murals and push carriages and plan playdates; the whole nine yards. I wanted to be a mom.

The first few months following my positive pregnancy test went smoothly enough. The exhaustion took over my life leaving me with little room to function. Everyone told me I would feel better soon. It was very quickly into the second trimester as the exhaustion began to lighten that my brain took over. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t going to be good enough. I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t deserve to be a mom. I was overwhelmed, terrified and overthinking. My life inside my head was crumbling.

How could I be feeling this way now? I wanted this baby more than anything in the world. What was wrong with me? My mom sent me photos of nursery ideas, my husband offered to put together a crib and I even bought a stroller one day in hopes of feeling something. I didn’t. I wanted to feel again. The sight of baby clothes or the room that would become his nursery sent me into a sleepless night on the couch alone and crying for reasons even I couldn’t comprehend. I couldn’t let anyone know I was feeling this way. I felt lost, hopeless, alone and shameful.

A struggle with prenatal depression
At my regular OB/GYN appointment I remember the doctor looking me in the eyes as she spoke about his growth, my cravings, my nausea and my weight loss. I was hiding a dark secret that I was terrified she would find if she looked hard enough. Then she asked me if I was okay. Just a simple “are you okay?” and I cried.

“I think you should consider talking to a therapist,” she said. I couldn’t. My life was supposed to finally be coming together, I was getting everything I had ever wanted. I had control of this I told myself.

But I didn’t.

I had no control. I was suffering from prenatal depression. The hormones were wreaking havoc on my body. My health was quickly deteriorating. Friends and family were so happy and excited for me and this new baby but I felt like I was dying inside.

Related: The Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

After that short conversation with my doctor that day I started researching a psychologist who specialized in postpartum depression (PPD). I was aware of PPD and knew it could effect a large percentage of new moms, but I didn’t know it could develop during pregnancy. I decided I would see the therapist and prepare for PPD after he was born just in case. Statistics were pretty high I would show some signs of it. I had no idea I already was.

Accepting the help was extremely hard for me. Almost 9 years later and my friends and family will probably be finding out about my struggle for the first time while reading this. I was so ashamed. I smiled through photos and baby showers and let my mom drag me through the store registering for all the baby things but I was hurting.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 14-23% of women struggle with symptoms of depression DURING pregnancy.

While prenatal depression is similar to postpartum depression in that they are both feelings of worry, sadness and anxiety, recent studies suggest that women who develop depression during their pregnancies suffer from a more severe version of the mental health concern.

Read More: Four Mother's Share Their Story of Postpartum Depression

My Wish For Moms
#MyWishforMoms is that there is less of a stigma around mental health issues. I wish that all women knew that they aren’t alone. If you have feelings of worry, sadness, are having trouble sleeping or are struggling in any way don’t blame yourself. You don’t have to be ashamed of your feelings. You don’t have to struggle, especially on your own. With a little help, I promise you will feel better.