I’m a happy person. Let me rephrase that: I use to be a happy person. Let me just say that while I’m writing this I’m thinking of not posting it. Why? Because it’s embarrassing, it’s personal and I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there ready and willing to judge me. But here goes…

 

I’m Pregnant But…

 

I’m pregnant but I’m depressed. I know it’s wrong and it’s frowned upon because how can you be depressed when you are so blessed? Please don’t get me wrong – This is not to dismiss the miracle of pregnancy but to address a very real condition. While it seems like postnatal depression is widely accepted and talked about it occurred to me that prenatal depression is frowned upon and most women keep quiet about it.

There is the expectation that a woman’s experience of pregnancy should always be joyous, but the truth is that pregnant women often put emotional and mental pressure on themselves to feel happy all the time.

I’m in the middle of it right now and it’s hard. It’s so damn hard.

Feeling Anxious…

 

It was a slow downward spiral for me since the first moment I realised I was pregnant. I was overwhelmed with fear, not joy because I could not imagine that I have to go through hyperemesis graviderum (extreme nausea) again. Read my previous blogpost about this crippling disease.

And the worst part? I tried. I really tried. I try every single day to be positive. To stop the constant worrying. To not be anxious. But it’s like an uncontrollable wave bursting over me and I’m drowning. I cannot control it. Nothing is funny anymore, I avoid my friends, I dread each day.

I cry a lot – out of desperation, fear, when I vomit, when I lie down, when I try to explain these feelings to those close to me.

 

Admitting The Truth…

 

It’s not something I’m proud of but it happened. And it happened to me. Bubbly, happy go lucky Helene. It just did. I got sucked in a big black hole and I miss my life. I look at photographs where I’m healthy and happy and I long for those days.

One morning I woke up with unbearable ear pain, a pain that shot down to my throat. I went to the doctor, thinking it’s an ear infection, but he surprised me by asking (out of the blue): “Are you very anxious about something?” Needless to say his kind tone was all I needed to spill the beans and I told him everything about my fear for nausea, my anxiety attacks, how I cannot enjoy this pregnancy because I’m constantly paralysed with fear. He just sat there, listened and then he said: “I would never wish HG on any of my patients. It’s a horrible, crippling disease. But the reason for your ear pain is because you are so stressed out. We need to find you help and you need to find a way to cope and maybe even start to enjoy your pregnancy.”

The Turning Point…

 

That visit was the turning point. My body was literally getting sick, because of the constant angst and fear. I realised then that I needed help and that I could not go on like this anymore.

After speaking to my gynea, we decided that I need to take a mild anti-depressant amongst other lifestyle changes (eat better, exercise more) and I’m not sharing this to promote anti-depressants during your pregnancy! I’m just sharing my story, because I’m sure that somewhere there’s maybe someone who’s feeling the same desperate feelings.

 

You Are Not Alone…

 

It’s such a cliché but you really are not alone: One in ten woman is suffering with the condition during some point in their pregnancy. At a time when everyone expect you to be glowing, I was down in the dumps and couldn’t’ deal with the stress and anxiety by myself anymore, my brain checked out.

 

The Way Forward…

 

I still have a long way to go, but I’m already seeing light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Thanks to my Mom, who had to console me endless times, my doctor Dad who puts me on IV drips to stop the nausea and of course my patient hubby, who just wants me to get back to my old self. My lovely little baby girl, suddenly so grown up, who just wants her Mommy to get better to play and laugh with her again.

I’m not there yet… but I’m on my way and for now that’s enough for me.

 

*’If you feel down at least every other day for a couple of weeks, see your GP to rule out pregnancy depression. Your GP will be able to diagnose your symptoms, and help you get the support you need. 

Until next time…

Helene

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