My Struggles with Prenatal Depression
I have spoken about this before on IGTV 2 years ago and I mentioned that I would talk about it in a blog post as the quality of the video was horrendous, but here we are. 2 years after.
Even after 2 years though, I have not seen anyone talking about prenatal depression even from mental health groups (local). I still have not found a support group for it. Why?
Almost all of me has completely changed. I feel like an out-of-body experience not knowing who I have become just from the impact of prenatal depression.
Let's get back to the very beginning, shall we? I got married in the year 2018 and even with taking precautions, I ended up pregnant. Although we both have planned to have children 2 years after and if we do get pregnant, will accept it with open arms. However, when that moment came, I cried. I was blindsided, I was shocked and afraid.
My plan that year was to build up BakedKL together with the support of my husband. I was confident to propel it further and somehow that vision became impossible in my mind. I was in denial and before we headed on our honeymoon, I have wasted so many tests.
The symptoms of extreme fatigue, overeating, swollen breasts were already there yet I could not just accept that I was pregnant. When we came back, I just made an appointment with the doctor and confirmed that indeed I was having a child.
Strange thing. Although I am happy in my heart, my mind was just not there with me. It was not present. It was not celebrating with this other part of me that was happy I am pregnant. Am I a bad mother for even having these thoughts, these feelings? But I love her, I know I do. A constant push and pull of emotions.
My pregnancy symptoms were not easy, which makes it harder to love the pregnancy. For months, I could not swallow liquid or taste food. I was only able to take sips of water for hydration. I did not consistently take my prenatal pills although I knew it was for the health of my baby and me, I was not bothered by it either. I was vomiting started my 2nd trimester and throughout the end. My focus and my memory were also compromised (until this day).
I was crying every other night, hating myself for feeling this way. I would just lay in bed the whole day from just extreme fatigue and then feel guilty for not being productive at work at all. I would not pick up calls, meet friends even to the point of asking my husband to reply to all the texts for me because I was too afraid to deal with any form of communication.
Where was this supposed joy from being pregnant? Scrolling down social media and seeing all these happy posts from mother or mom to be. Why am I not that person? Why can't I be when I do want to be? Why am I not rubbing my belly, talking to the baby like in the movies?
So I googled.
Results: Postpartum pregnancy
But I'm pregnant. Is there such thing as depression during pregnancy? People are always happy when they are pregnant.
Results: Prenatal pregnancy.
I read and read through many people's accounts and I felt like finally, I am not crazy. There is such a thing as what I am going through right now. I searched and searched for an organization that could help me, a support group in Malaysia or KL, but nothing.
I always prepared myself before going in my gynae's office to talk about how I feel. Every time I enter though, with his smile and asking me how I am doing..the courage to speak up disappeared.
He must think I am insane. The last time I talked to a doctor about my panic attack, I remembered he laughed and smirked. He may just respond the same way.
I never did talk to him about it. I was hesitant to talk to anyone because there was no info about it at all locally. How would people even know how to help me if they never even heard of it? The only person I did talk to was my dear husband. He was so supportive even when I talked about my thoughts of harming myself during my pregnancy, he pulled me back. He was there, he was present, he listened. He never once invalidated the way I felt.
On the day my child was born, after giving a final push, I was too exhausted from being in labor for 14 hours that I did not take a look at her for the first few minutes she was out in this world. After picking myself up back again, I looked back to my right and saw my husband crying as he whispers a few prayers into our baby's ear.
Somehow, that moment lifted all the darkness that was in my mind to float away. I felt a huge relief that I was not tormented anymore by my other thoughts and emotions, that I was finally ready to give my all to this little baby girl because she deserves it.
My experience with prenatal depression has traumatized me. Left me with other mental health issues but the journey has helped me a lot in finding empathy with other people and also inspired me on how to raise my little girl.
People who are dealing with mental health issues can appear all fine and dandy in person ( I know I can pull that one off) but you never know what they are going through. To end this, I would like to include a great video talking about prenatal depression. It summarizes prenatal depression perfectly, please share to create awareness of prenatal depression. IT IS A REAL ISSUE.