Pregnancy can be such a beautiful and happy time. You are preparing for your new baby's arrival. You may be feeling a new connection to your own body. People may even tell you seem to be glowing. But for some people, pregnancy doesn't bring those things. And that can be hard to talk about.
We often hear about the nausea and fatigue that can come along with pregnancy. So when these symptoms rear their heads, we are not surprised. But something that women tend not to talk about is prenatal depression and anxiety. In the Washington Post psychologist Juli Fraga explains that prenatal depression may actually be the most severe form of maternal depression. Juli discusses that women who develop depression and anxiety during pregnancy experience intense feelings sadness, sleep disturbances including insomnia, and, in rare situations, paranoia. This article does a nice job of explaining prenatal depression, give it a read.
Prenatal depression is surprisingly common. In fact, according to Shoshana Bennett and Pec Indman in their book Beyond the Blues, depression and anxiety occur in 15-23% of pregnant women. Women who are suffering from prenatal depression or anxiety may experience symptoms like excessive worry or fear, social withdrawal, lack of pleasure or joy, and disturbances in appetite or sleep. Also, there are factors that put women at a higher risk, such as, a history or mental health concerns, lack of support, stopping psychiatric medicine, a history of abuse or domestic violence, or a history of pregnancy loss.
If you are experiencing these feelings and symptoms, please know that you are not alone and that there is help! There are highly effective treatments for both prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety. Talk to your doctor, or make an appointment to see a therapist who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. There is no shame in what you are feeling, you are not alone. With help, you will get better.
If you are looking for more information on this topic, here are some great resources: