Pregnancy Depression

Believe it or not, I'm a private person. I tweet, facebook, and blog, but each post is carefully evaluated to make sure I don't "reveal too much." It comes down to this: I just don't like talking about my problems. If I put it out there, people will ask questions. Then I might show emotion, and that could get too intense.

I'm a sensitive person. Once I open the floodgate, it is hard to stop. That's why for most of my adult life I've struggled with anxiety issues. It peaked in college, and reared it's ugly head several times in my work and married life. But through it all, I was able to acknowledge the feelings and work through it.

Then I had a miscarriage.

Derek and I were trying for baby #2 and after 8 months I was pregnant. With Van, our reaction was pure shock. This time, it was pure joy. I was so excited.

After 8 weeks, in the middle of a business meeting, I started bleeding. So bad, I had to go to the emergency room. I knew. Despite all the medical advances, if you have a miscarriage, or what they call a "threatened miscarriage," there is nothing to do but wait. And get lots of blood tests.

The body is really an amazing thing. Most natural miscarriages are your body's way of telling you something was wrong. Mentally, you can understand. Emotionally and physically, it is a really horrible process. There is nothing worse than knowing you are losing a life – and then you get to sit in a OB/GYN waiting room full of pregnant people while you wait to get follow-up tests. And more tests.

Low hormones.

It's hard to cope with loss. Maybe I don't have much experience with it. My grandfather passed away last year. The experiences closed me up – I didn't want to try again until I had at least six months to grieve. I begged my husband to take me on a vacation, we went to St. Louis. My heart was heavy, but our family had a lot to look forward to.

Shock, I'm pregnant. Eight weeks after the miscarriage. Too soon. More tests. Low hormones. Drugs. They make me so sick. There is no joy.

Here's where the story gets even more difficult for me, because it involves a decision that could be controversial to some readers. But, several months into the pregnancy it becomes very clear that I'm in a deep depression. I can't take care of my family. I cry. I wake up in the middle of the night to cry. I cry during the day. I cry when my family is home. I just want to sleep, then work, that's all.

Sure, Brooke Shields publishes a book about postpartum depression, but what about pregnancy depression? Is it even possible? Shouldn't you be joyful? Guilt.

Actually, pregnancy depression is very common when someone has just experienced a miscarriage. Exacerbated by artificial pregnancy hormones. Intensified with a family and personal history of mental illness. It isn't pretty.

For the first time, I have to pursue true medical intervention. My OB puts me on Zoloft. I don't like it, especially when pregnant, but things look very dark without it.

It helps. Slowly, I regain some control of my life and feelings. I can cook dinner, watch after Van. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm better, not cured. Yesterday was my first due date. My dear friend had a baby. What an occasion to celebrate life!

Just a little sadness.

I do have a lot to look forward to. I'm excited about baby #2 (I guess, #3). I just need a cleansing of this experience. Perhaps this post will help... public acknowledgment of a difficult time... "talking" about my feelings... we'll see...

This post was inspired by the courage of my blog-friend who talks very openly about her postpartum depression. I can relate.



Michelle said...

Why oh why didn't you call me??? You know I went through a miscarriage two years ago. I have suffered with a lot of anxiety and depression issues and I've been on the meds. You do what you have to do to get through. That was my little saying. I got through that dark tunnel and every once in a while I look back at it. I can feel it creeping up on me, but I am so aware of it all, that I do things to prevent going back there. Seriously, if you are struggling, you have GOT to reach out. So many people have been there and you don't even know until you talk about it. I started talking about my problems so I could help others. I believe God allowed me to go through such pain to reconnect with Melinda before she died and so I can help others get through it and know they are not alone. CALL ME!!! Love you!

Andrea said...

Brooke, Thanks for putting your heart out there for us to share with you. It is so crazy how it is exactly what I needed to read today.

Depression is scary powerful. I've been there and although I don't understand the emotions of a miscarriage, I understand the helpless feeling of not being able to move, physically and mentally, because of depression. I have been there in my past and have made it back out.

More friends than I want to count have lost babies. I've held many hands and heard many stories, but the sorrow is always the same. And it's so real. You are so brave to tell your story and you should be so proud for doing what you needed to do to save yourself and maybe help another woman going through the same.

You can't be a good wife or mom unless you're a good you. But, you already knew that. Your boys are so lucky to have you.

Cary said...

Thank you so much for sharing the real you.

Elizabeth said...

Well, Andrea said it way better than I could put into words. You writers tend to do that.

I appreciate your honesty and candidness. You should be proud of what you have done for yourself and your family, especially during a difficult time and in your loss.

I have learned so much in the past several years about severe depression and other mental illnesses. It's sad that so many people feel like they have to hide their needs or illness because of the negative connotation society has placed on them.

I know my life is often like an open book and everyone pretty much knows all there is to know about me - good or bad. But, I can also understand how for some, it may be more difficult. I hope you know that I would always be there to talk with you if you need me. Love you and admire your bravery, friend.

Alli said...

Your post really touched my heart. Thanks for sharing.

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