After developing depression during my pregnancy with Gibson, one of my biggest concerns about getting pregnant again was having the depression return. Having antenatal depression was awful, and as someone who is generally pretty “upbeat” it took me by surprise and caused me a significant amount of distress. (You can read more about that here).
So of course having that happen all over again was pretty high on my list of concerns (aka things that I looked up on Google). I desperately wanted to find some resources of women who had experienced either antenatal or postpartum depression during one pregnancy but not in a subsequent one. I didn’t find a lot of reading material on this, and knowing that I had/have a 50/50 chance of developing it again (according to the statistics), I started getting my support system in place
Getting My Supports in Place
1. I found a health care provider who I love, a midwife who helped me immensely throughout my previous pregnancy.
2. I found a Doula who I connected with immediately and told her about my experiences. I asked her to check in with me specifically regarding my mood (and she has been doing so diligently I might add).
3. I shared my concerns with friends and family and they are all aware of the signs of symptoms to look out for.
4. I am aware of the local resources, such as the Perinatal Mental Health Program here in Sudbury and the MOMS (Moms Offering Mutual Support Group) at NISA.
5. Found some fabulous online resources such as Postpartum Progress, which is a website dedicated entirely to helping moms who are/have experienced a Perinatal Mental Health concerns.
So Far So Good (Knock on Wood)
I am happy to report thus far my mood and anxiety have stayed at a pretty stable level. That is not to say there aren’t days when I am more anxious than others or that I don’t have normal highs and lows in my mood. It does mean that so far neither my anxiety or my mood are interfering with my ability to function and for the most part I am having a much more enjoyable pregnancy. My fingers and toes are crossed that it continues this way.
I will admit however that I am hyper-vigilant about both my mood and anxiety. I do get nervous on days when my anxiety may be heightened or my mood is lower for whatever reason. But I am trying to accept and appreciate that fluctuations are a normal part of life, and do not automatically mean that my depression is returning. I am only human after all, and given my experience I can’t help but worry at least a little.
Beyond My Control
There are steps that I can take to help reduce the likelihood of my antenatal depression from returning or from getting as severe as it was previously. However, I am acutely aware that its development could very well be beyond my control. It wasn’t something I wanted, or expected during my previous pregnancy, but it happened, just like it could happen again. Truthfully that scares the crap out of me. However, I will simply take it a day at a time and hope that I don’t need to access my support system, while at the same time being grateful that they are in place if needed.
Perinatal Depression/Anxiety is awful, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. But if you or anyone you know is in the depths of it now, know that there is help and it gets better. I am always here if you want to reach out and talk about it, or if you are looking for resources. You don’t have to be in this alone, its ok to ask for help mama <3.
You can email me at email@example.com or find me over on Facebook at The Blissful Doula Sudbury.
To read more about mine and other’s experience with antenatal or postpartum depression click here.