depression

Before I begin, I feel the need to caution anyone TTC or having issues TTC. This post may seem cold and ungrateful since I’ve been blessed with one wonderful son and another on the way. I do know that I am lucky beyond measure – I just need to get this out, process it, and fix it.

I haven’t written in a while because things have been so hard lately. I have had a head cold for about 2 weeks and it is not going anywhere anytime soon, so it seems. Combine that with the aches and pains (and insomnia) of pregnancy, along with the demands of parenting an almost 3 year old, and you have a not very happy Mama. I really don’t want to go on anti-depressants during my pregnancy, but I’m starting to wonder if I’ll make it another 4 months without. For the record, my OB is totally fine with being on ADs while pregnant – it’s me who is resistant. Dr. Google tells me that doctors are split on whether they are safe or not, so I really want to err on the side of safety. But I also want to enjoy and be present for my family, so I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing. I hate my messed up brain chemistry.

I’ve been so tired and upset I’ve had thoughts of, “Why did we do this? I can’t handle the lack of sleep now, it’s only going to get worse once this baby arrives.” Isn’t that horrible? When I was PG with Monkey, I was so excited and happy waiting for his arrival. With the newbie, I’m mostly anxious and worried (and let’s not forget exhausted). I don’t want to feel that way. I’m sure a bit of that is normal, but I feel like what I’m feeling isn’t normal. It feels a lot like when I had a touch of the PPD after Monkey was born. Not debilitating, but not fun either – for me or for my family.

My OB gave me a couple of referrals to psychiatrists that specialize in treating pregnant women, but I’ve been reluctant to call because I really don’t think talk therapy is for me, and I’ve been trying so hard to stay AD free. If I start feeling much worse, I think I’ll need to call and see what can be done. I feel really defeated.

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “depression

  1. I think pregnancy while already having another is completely mentally and emotionally exhausting so it makes sense that you are feeling some imbalance. I am not even the one carrying and I can barely make it out of bed some days and much like you I remember we were both so happy and excited when pregnant with LM, but with this one we are, for lack of a better phrase, in survival mode and just trying to make it day by day. Talk therapy is not for everyone and I understand your resistance to ADs. Just know that you have to do what you have to do for YOU and your family, nothing else matters in the grand scheme of things. I am sending peaceful thoughts and good night’s sleep your way.

  2. Random stranger on the internet here. I wrote a very very long summary of the <a href="http://naturalscientist.blogspot.com/search/label/Antidepressants%20and%20Pregnancy: evidence on ADs in pregnancy a while ago, in response to a worried friend. (Er, scroll to the bottom to start.) You could also check motherrisk.org if you want more refs. Short version: There’s a ton of data on SSRIs and things like bupropion (wellbutrin) and they are very safe, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Also ‘weaning off’ two weeks before birth doesn’t effectively prevent respiratory distress, and its incidence is so low that in general this approach is not recommended. Of course, consult your own doctors, and I hope you’re able to feel better.

  3. Oops, sorry about the link. Brain not quite all there.

  4. sorry to read that you are feeling depressed. i can relate to this as i feel slightly in the same boat currently and was very much in that boat with the pregnancy of my now 2 year old. at the time i was still heavlily grieving my stillborn son and felt depressed and anxious. i was torn then about ADs and made it through with talk therapy alone. perhaps make an appointment and see what you think after your first meeting? just remember whatever you decide is the right thing. good luck.

  5. Please consider meds! Would you avoid taking meds if this was a “physical” illness? Probably not. It’s so much about stigma. The idea that we can tough it out with willpower is just such a disservice to people with depression. Your mental health is very important – you have to weigh the cost benefits to you and baby. There is also scientific evidence that a stressed depressed mom can also be detrimental to the baby. That’s why it’s a balancing act. With SSRIs being so safe it’s not that much of a cost. It’s not like you’re considering taking anti psychotic meds which are a whole different ball game.
    I took Prozac all through my pregnancy with Isobel and even upped the dose in the third tri. No point weaning off for birth and breast feeding. It’s already stressful enough.
    My original midwife was very cool and blasé about my taking Prozac. She was, like, everyone’s on Prozac who’s pregnant these days. OBs in general do freak out about depression and meds. They don’t know enough and they err on the side of “caution” in favor of the baby a lot. Which is unhelpful for the mom. If you talk to these psychiatrists that are experts in women’s mental health and pregnancy I am sure they will allay your fears. And once you put your trust in a psychiatrist and let your OB know you are doing that, you are fine with it and under doctor’s care, they will relax. And so might you. I am so sorry you are so anxious and I just want to say it doesn’t have to be that way. Sorry to get on my high horse, but if men had babies they would have three years’ maternity leave and lots of hired helpers. Because women are tough and resilient we are supposed to put up with a whole lot and just suck it up.
    By the way, if you don’t like the idea of talk therapy but are up for something short term, cognitive behavioral therapy is really good for the kinds of negative thought patterns that we get stuck in without realizing it when we are depressed. Might be a good tool for your tool box! The more the better! Good luck!!! Keep us posted:) big hugs, my friend!

    • Just to clarify, it isn’t about the stigma for me in this instance. It is solely about wanting to be as safe as possible with my unborn child. If I weren’t pregnant and were feeling this way, I’d be on my Lex.apro already 🙂 I’m limiting caffeine, don’t eat or drink anything with artificial sweeteners, and am just in general being as careful and safe as I can. So it doesn’t seem such a stretch to wonder about the safety of taking any prescription medication while pregnant, know what I mean? I stayed off for my entire pregnancy with Monkey and I did well, so I had hoped to do the same this time. I didn’t account for the fact that there was no toddler to parent the first time around. I have discovered that it makes all the difference.

      I also already talked to my OB at my first appointment with her about starting ADs the second I deliver. I do not want to have the post-partum issues I did last time.

      Anyway, just wanted to reiterate why I’m resistant. I think I will probably be calling one of these doctors today, though, to see what my options are.

  6. I second mother risk. Call them and talk about your concerns. I called while TTC’ing and while pregnant and they were very helpful. It’s a Canadian service but I think you should be able to access it.
    I know that Zoloft is one of the most studied ADs for pregnancy. It’s what my doctor wanted me on. I was on Effexor, I googled it and it scared the crap out of me but mother risk was very reassuring.

  7. tbean

    I have to second tiregal here. SSRIs are very safe. Dr. google is really wrong on this one. I was on prozac for all 2.5+ years of ttc, pregnancy, birth, and fore 9 months breastfeeding/post-partum. Every doctor I saw (my OB, my general practitioner, my psych, my RE) every single one thought it was no big deal. My psych (who specialized in pregnancy/infertility and anxiety/depression combo) made the same point tgal made–a anxious/sad pregnant woman is_also_ affecting the fetus. So it’s a matter of which exposure you choose–the exposure of the anxiety/sadness or the exposure of the meds. But the meds are safe, is my bottom line point. Sorry you feel crummy. I hope you get the help you need to start feeling better.

  8. In so sorry to hear that you’re struggling. While I don’t suffer from depression, on days that I was pregnant, exhausted, dealing with toddler antics, etc. I STILL thought “Why are we doing this?” (and felt guilty for thinking it). You are not alone, and even though the feelings about pregnancy are different, your feelings towards the baby (unimaginable love) won’t be. Promise. Lots of hugs!

  9. I just wrote this huge reply and then lost it! aargh!
    I am at work so must run. I respect you and your decision and I get what you mean about doing the most to be healthy and to help the baby grow healthy. But you count too. And the evidence is really in the favor of SSRIs.
    I didn’t mean to offend you or get off on a tangent. I just feel passionately about it because I know how much I suffered when I had PPD and I was an educated client ( or so I thought) but it blindsided me and I don’t know what i would have done without treatment. also with the pregancy I was so anxious that it was just hard to get from one day to the next sometime and I was projecting that on you I think!
    SOrry: and good luck and keep us posted!

  10. Jen

    Sorry I am late to this, but as someone who has suffered from depression, PPD and anxiety, I think taking care of yourself is ubber important, not only for you, but for your entire family. There are many safe meds and I took zoloft the entire time (16 months) that I breastfeed. That said, I understand the caution, but babies and fetus’ are resislent—I never thought my baby would be born healthy and pretty perfect after my serious bout with OHSS, ovarian removal and on meds such as mophine, fentynl, oxycotin, and a slew of other crazy pain meds. I think it is good you are speaking about it, and not holding it down for fear of being misunderstood or sounding negative. Depression is all about chemicals and some of us don’t have the right balance. I love my child more than anything, but there are days when I want to scream and cannot imagine adding another, but then turn around and have baby fever. 🙂 Hormones and chemicals are important to get under control because you need to be happy and healthy as much as your kiddos. Hugs mama and I hope you have found some answers since your post.

  11. Lex

    I’m a little late with this too. Firstly, I’m so sorry you’re having a tough time. Secondly, having gone through the Reproductive Psychiatric program at my hospital and doing way more research than I really needed to, I encourage you to look at how UNtreated depression can be harmful to your baby. This finding was the reason I realized that I couldn’t go through this pregnancy without them (and I’m on a lot of ADs, not just one). I’m not saying there is no risk with taking them, but there is a risk to not taking them too.

    I go through major guilt every day knowing what “toxins” I’m putting into my unborn child, but I also realize that if I had untreated depression, things on my babe (and me) would be much worse.

    That said, whatever you choose to do is the right thing. If you do end up going the AD route, please check out http://www.motherrisk.org as someone has already suggested. Take care of yourself.

  12. Next in line

    I often look at Pnut, who is three, and wonder how the heck I would get through each day if I was pregnant. I feel for ya! Holy-batman what you are doing is is no walk in the park. All my best to you as you figure out what is right for you.

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