Depression During Pregnancy + Weeks 19-24

by Nicole on January 17, 2014

Posted in: Baby

Okay, I have a confession. Or maybe a few. I’m not really sure how to write this post, let alone even start it, but here goes.

I hate doing these weekly chalkboard updates. They’re a pain in the butt. Sure, they’re cute, but they’re a royal pain. Not even in the butt, in the ass. A total pain in the ass. A couple logistical reasons why:

  • I opted to use chalk pens and chalkboard vinyl instead of real chalk, so it’s SO HARD to clean (I dread it)
  • Getting dressed, doing my hair, and putting on makeup JUST to take a picture is a drag (more on this later)

But I think another reason I’ve hated doing them is because I’ve been having a really hard time. Like, a really hard time. For the first 20-22 weeks or so, I felt pretty terrible. Enough of this pretending to be cheery because I have a blog and want to be Pinterest famous. For more than the first half of my pregnancy I felt terrible. Really, truly terrible.

depression

Physically, I experienced bad nausea (luckily, I only threw up once), dizziness, constipation (so painful, and people don’t talk about that symptom much, do they?), back aches, bad headaches, and pair all that with a growing belly and increasing weight, it’s a doozie.

Emotionally, I couldn’t make sense of what I was feeling. I know, I know, “you’re pregnant! hormonal!” No. It was far more than that. It’s not that I wasn’t excited, but I was having a lot of trouble looking past the way I felt in that moment to the amazing things to come (you know, like Baby Rod). I was also struggling to find happiness in just about anything. And, because I felt that way, I found it hard to connect with Baby Rod (who’s a girl, btw), which made me feel like I was already sucking as a mom.  Deep down I knew none of that was true, I knew I didn’t suck, I knew I wasn’t myself but it was still so hard to get past it. I felt like I couldn’t keep my head above water.

Work was hard. Waking up was hard. Sleeping was hard. I didn’t want to cook (which is NOT like me). I didn’t want to be around family or friends (in fact, I was so annoyed and bitchy around family and friends). I literally was so lost and didn’t know what to do with myself.

I was hardly acknowledging that I was pregnant, it didn’t really feel real. I don’t know. I just didn’t know what to do. So lost.

To make matters worse, I wasn’t telling anyone how I was feeling. I was withholding from my best friend and from my husband. Why? Well, I don’t even know, to be honest with you. I didn’t want to say it out loud. I felt like a crappy mom and I wanted to tackle it by myself. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation was that that wasn’t working. I was miserable. I felt alone.  So I finally said something to Dan. It started kinda timidly, but escalated into me getting more comfortable and being brutally honest, then wound up with me in tears … but feeling so much better.

We got to Googling and found out that it’s not uncommon. While the minority of woman experience this (around 20% according to the interwebs), it’s a real thing, it’s serious, and the moral of the story is that you aren’t alone if you feel this way. Between finally fessing up to Dan and doing some research on how I was feeling, I started to feel a little better, a little less alone, and a little more like there was hope that I could tackle this somehow and try to enjoy the second half of my pregnancy.

So … take all that and try to get your hair and makeup done to smile for a picture? Not easy. But skipping weeks made me feel crappier. I became a slave to that damn chalkboard.  So I broke up with it.  It’s not to say that I won’t take more weekly pictures, on the contrary, I’m sure I will, but I don’t want to feel like it’s an annoying obligation … it should be something I look forward to and get excited about.

I talked to my doctor about how I was feeling and she referred me to a counselor. Before seeing the counselor, I decided to try prenatal yoga … my doctor mentioned that there was medication I could be put on, or maybe talking would be enough … but I wanted to use that as a last stitch effort. So, yoga it was.

Prenatal yoga did wonders for me. For the first time in 23 weeks, I physically felt like I wasn’t pregnant … but also for the first time in 23 weeks, I emotionally and mentally felt like I was pregnant and I connected with my child and it was amazing. I had never tried yoga before, and already feeling self conscious and lousy, I was extra nervous because I have no balance. None. Not one iota.

I learned that yoga (or prenatal yoga, at least) isn’t about getting a workout, it’s not about contorting yourself into a pretzel while standing on one toe … it’s about relaxing and about being present. For the first time in 23 weeks, I was able to find positions where I could breathe comfortably, and where my back didn’t hurt. I was able to focus on Baby Rod and nothing else. The most amazing part (other than the breathing exercises, which I desperately needed) was all the stretching. It felt so good on my tired, aching body.

Once I shared the way I was feeling with Dan and my doctor, and started yoga, I slowly but surely started feeling better.  Here I am, tomorrow marks 25 weeks, and I’m finally happy. I’m feeling better (most of the time), I’m eating better (I’ve already had two fruits today!), I’m feeling Baby Rod kick (and as of January 11th, Dan has felt her too!), and I am finally excited. I’m so looking forward to her birth and to having her, and to loving her, and to bonding with her more.

I now play music for her as much as I can, I talk to her, I move and sway as much as possible so she can feel me move, and I feel like I’m able to appreciate being pregnant and growing this little human. One thing that the leader of my yoga class said that stuck was the fact that I am growing her. I’ve grown every finger and every toe. Everything about my daughter happened because I did it. And that, my friends, is pretty cool.

All that said, I can’t wait to go back to yoga this Sunday.

So, here’s a little catch-up since week 19:

19-weeks

20-weeks

Week 21 I was horribly sick … food poisoning, methinks. I hardly got out of bed.

22-weeks

Week 22 was spent in Florida with my parents … she popped, hello real baby belly!

belly

This was week 23. The dogs love snuggling with their sister.

How far along?: 24 weeks, 6 days
Baby is the size of an: Ear of corn (about 12.5″ long and 1 pound, 4 ounces)
The Bump: Officially a real bump … that sticks out and moves on occasion
Symptoms: Back pain is back, I pee all the time (I can feel her on my bladder), headaches, swollen hands and feet
Food Cravings: Cara Cara Oranges (if you haven’t tried one, you need to), bagels, pasta
Anything Making Me Queasy or Sick: Not really (finally)
Sleep: Lots of tossing and turning and getting up to pee
What I miss: Good sleep, my pre-preggo body, my sanity (most days)
Weddings Rings On or Off: On … but their days are numbered
Any Names Picked Out Yet: Yep … not telling ;)
Gender Prediction: No need to predict, she’s a GIRL!
Movement: Lots and lots, every day! Mostly at night :)
Maternity Clothes: I live in Old Navy preggo jeans and long sleeved maternity shirts + scarves. I’ve had to retire my cute Steve Madden boots b/c my feet are swelling, so Uggs it is!
Best Moment of the Week: Dad feeling Baby Rod move on the 11th. So exciting :)
What I’m excited about/looking forward to: I can’t wait for her to be here … so excited

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley January 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Great post! The reality of being pregnant… I felt that way for a bit too. It so easy to get wrapped up in the present and not be able to see the great future. I started prenatal yoga too and I love it! I just do it at home but it’s been great to take time out of the day to focus and be with my little girl! And reading your post makes me want to do it right now!! Haha. Best of luck to you and your sweet baby, your pictures are precious!

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Nicole January 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Thank you so much for the kind words!! Best of luck to you, too, friend … exciting times to come! xo

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Ariella January 17, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Oh my god. I’m on the verge of tears. I’m so sorry you spent so long feeling so unhappy but I am so happy that you shared this post. Women need this.. They need this honesty. They need to feel like they’re going through hard times with someone. I’m so happy that you are starting to become happy and feel the joy your little one is going to bring. Sending a ton of virtual hugs and love your way.

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