A Story about Prenatal Depression - #MentalHealthMatters
This blog is sharing (with permission) another blog written by Charlotte Jordans, aka Charlie. It discusses the traumatic time she had during her second trimester, falling victim to depression during her pregnancy, for no known reason. I'm sharing this particular story as I feel we don't openly discuss depression enough in our society - it's seen as taboo. Charlotte runs My Lilli Pilli - safe and effective organic Australian skincare for pregnant and breastfeeding mums. Thanks Charlie for sharing your images with me too.
My second trimester aka “the Honeymoon Period”… or was it really?!
Originally posted on 29 June 2018, by Charlotte Jordans
Commonly pregnant women who enter second trimester suddenly feel like they are on the top of the world – but sometimes that is not the case for some women (me included), and here is why…
My first trimester with my twins was horrendous. I had the worst morning sickness and I could quite happily sleep standing up; I was absolutely drained of all useable energy in my body. BUT THEN, my pregnancy finally hit the 13-week mark – the morning sickness slowly faded off and my energy levels suddenly bounced back -YEAH, BABY YEAH! During this time my husband and I also decided to share the news about the expecting twins to the world – no more pretending to be nauseous due to bad food poisoning. It was such a big relief not to keep such great news for ourselves anymore (sigh). Interestingly, some had some rather weird comments when mentioning that there were two and not one baby inside me – see blog post here.
And, as an added bonus, being in the second trimester, my oily and pimply skin started to change and became less irritated and inflamed, similar to pre-pregnancy – no more small red tender zits on my neck and back (double sigh). And to top it all off, we found out that we were expecting both a girl and a boy – a little sister and brother for our 4-year toddler who was super excited.
It was all happy days, until one day I unexpectedly started feeling a persistent sadness out of the blue. I just wanted to curl up in a foetal position and stay in bed forever, as a big fat knot of hopelessness and worthlessness suddenly was inhabiting in my stomach. It constantly felt like someone close had died, even though that was not the case. These horrible feelings combined with bad anxiety had abruptly taken over my life – in theory, this pregnancy should be a time of joy. I just didn’t understand. How could I feel like this, without any reason? It just didn’t make sense. I suddenly felt ashamed over these feelings that I couldn’t control, which made me feel even worse – it all turned into a vicious circle of thoughts and feelings. What made matter even worse, was the fact that I kept all these feelings for myself – I just pretended everything was fine and put up a fake happy and smiling face which, in hindsight, I was good at – very scary. All this continued for 5-6 weeks and I only became more and more withdrawn from life. Thankfully my husband began to notice what was going on and made me realise that I was suffering from some kind of depression, and took me to the doctor (triple sigh). After seeking help I gradually got better and stronger, and I found myself being much more excited about the twins and pregnancy.
Up to 1 in 10 women experience antenatal depression (also called prenatal depression). Antenatal anxiety or depression is a serious illness but there are treatments, support and services available to help you through this experience.
<Up to 1 in 10 women experience antenatal depression (also called prenatal depression). Antenatal anxiety or depression is a serious illness but there are treatments, support and services available to help you through this experience.>
So, ladies, the conclusion of this little side-story is to please take care of yourself and seek professional help should you suddenly feel that you have hit rock bottom for an extended amount of time without any obvious reasons. Of course, your mood will fluctuate during pregnancy, but these types of negative feelings will ruthlessly keep you down until you realise that you need to take action and ask for help – I know it’s hard, but you can do it. And please do not feel ashamed about it.
Ok, until next time, stay calm and be nice to yourself!
P.S. In case you feel the same way as I did, please for your own sake, please get help – I know it’s hard, but it is worth it – both for you and the people you love. Here is a list of places that can help you:
Beyond Blue that provides 24-hour-a-day support, information and referrals for people struggling with depression, anxiety and related disorders. Tel: 1300 22 4636.
PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) is a not-for-profit organisation offering information, support and referrals to women and their families who are experiencing post and antenatal mental health issues. Tel: 1300 72 6306 (10am to 5pm (AET), Monday to Friday).
Lifeline Australia provides 24-hour-a-day counselling, information and referrals for people in crisis. Tel: 131 114 (24 hours a day).
COPE (Centre of Perinatal Excellence) provides information to help you work through the emotional challenges of becoming and being a parent.
About Essential Me
Hi, I'm Amanda. I support women and couples during their pregnancy, birth and postnatal journey as a Doula, Ka Huna massage therapist and Pilates instructor. I'm Based in Sydney and would love to help you. Please check out my Top 10 Tips for the best possible birth experience here. I'd love to meet you for an obligation free interview to see if you feel we're the right fit. Contact me here. Thanks, Amanda x