Written By: Kimberly Davis
The assumption: when you realized you’ve missed your period, or maybe your period is later than usual. Maybe you’re suddenly nauseous all the time. Whatever your symptoms may have been, something lead you to purchase that pregnancy test. And now, you’re staring at those telltale double lines, that digital ‘yes’; you’re pregnant. You should be ecstatic, overjoyed, and understandably a little nervous. You should be glowing, excited about your growing belly, cooing at babies on streets anxious to finally meet your own, you should feel strong at the fact you’re growing another human life. You should feel all those things and more, right?
The reality (for every one in ten women): prenatal or antenatal depression. Yes a pregnant woman's body is usually all over the place hormonally, and you can experience some mood swings or fatigue every now and then. But prenatal depression is much different, and it isn’t talked about as much as it should be. Prenatal depression is often brought on when the pregnancy is unplanned, met with an unsupportive partner or unsupportive family members and friends, financial stress, if you have a history of depression or anxiety, and if you are or were in a violent relationship.
While it is often hard for doctors to diagnose antenatal depression, it is always important to be completely transparent with your doctor at prenatal checkups. Your doctor is there to help you and the baby, not judge you. We need to talk more about depression during pregnancy, because once we start talking about it people will start getting the help they need. It’s okay to admit that you don’t feel happy about being pregnant, it’s okay to admit that you’re struggling. And always remember you are not alone.
While your doctor will be able to help with treating your antenatal depression, put self-care at the top of your to-do list in the meantime; if you’re taking care of yourself you are taking care of your baby. Read a book, go out for a walk, get your hair done, have breakfast in bed, do anything that’ll make you feel good and remember to slow down.