Even though my daughter is already six, and postpartum life has been for the most part, wonderful, I want women to know how I suffered.
Many people look at this picture of a me at nine months pregnant and see nothing unusual or alarming.
If you look at me, I look happy, excited to meet the baby growing inside of me, ready to take on motherhood. But what you don’t see is that secretly (from mainly friends) I was suffering.
Many people had no idea that I had to quit my job because my antenatal depression and anxiety took over my life and I truly could not function.
Many people didn’t know that there were days where I would lay in bed all day until my husband got home from work. I didn’t watch tv, I didn’t read, I didn’t sleep. I just lay there staring out the window thinking of how badly I wished I hadn’t gotten myself into this situation.
I couldn’t eat, so I had to supplement with Ensure protein shakes. I couldn’t sleep, so I would lay in my dark room every night listening to my husband sleep soundly and my brain would be racing.
I canceled more plans than I would like to even admit.
I faked it when people would excitedly talk about my baby.
I could barely make it to my own baby shower.
I couldn’t even pick out a name for my daughter who I desperately wanted for years.
And, the biggest secret of all. I started antidepressants and Xanax when I was 20 weeks pregnant. And I thought I was poisoning my baby.
A lot of women I know have amazing, blissful, perfect pregnancies and then when the baby is born, the switch turns and they start suffering.
Not for me. I hated every second of pregnancy with every fiber of my being. I hated the thought of becoming a mother and losing my past life. I didn’t want this baby to be born.
But, that switch. It went off the second I saw her emerge from my belly. I felt love. I felt happiness, I felt joy.
That little baby, six years ago, gave me exactly what I didn’t think I needed or wanted.
I didn’t understand. How the hell did I have a horrible, stressful, scary, suffering pregnancy but my baby made it all right?
I was convinced I’d have postpartum depression. 100% convinced. There was NO way I would enjoy this baby.
But miraculously, I didn't. Something happened on the day she was born. I wish I could explain it, but my life changed for the better in every way possible.
If I had the support I needed during pregnancy and didn’t feel deep shame and disgust, then I wonder if I would’ve been able to actually enjoy it.
People talk about postpartum depression more than antenatal depression. PPD is no joke. But I want to bring awareness to anxiety and depression DURING pregnancy. Because so many women suffer in silence way before the baby is even born.