Depression During Pregnancy, Part One

July 30, 2013 in Pregnancy

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Many thanks to Ashley Pichea for honestly and openly sharing her pregnancy experience with us through this three-part series on depression during pregnancy.

Depression During Pregnancy - series imageThey say the baby blues are common after pregnancy. I’ve never experienced that, but I know of others who have. My depression came during my pregnancy.

It was mid-September and our fall routine and schedule was in full swing. As a work-at-home, homeschooling mom of a five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son, I found myself finally over my “I want another baby” stage and happily settled in my life.

It’s funny, really. I remember talking to my mother-in-law that weekend. She’d asked me if I thought we’d have any more kids or if we were content with just two. I think I responded with something along the lines of: “I like the idea of having another baby, but I’m not sure I want the reality of it.”

Maybe I should have looked at the calendar that morning instead of staying in bed with my husband.

Two weeks later, our “baby” turned four. Family came to celebrate with us, and I found myself in a four-generation photo with my grandma, mom, sister, and daughter. I posted the photo to Facebook to share with family and friends. Little did I know that the photo would begin to spark a question in several people’s minds (mine own included): “Is Ashley pregnant?!?”Depression During Pregnancy - image1

Sure enough, a pregnancy test later that week confirmed the fact. I was pregnant again. The kids were elated. Our family and friends were thrilled. My husband was even happy about the pregnancy.

I put on a happy face and pretended to be excited about being pregnant (and at times I was), but deep inside, I found myself fighting back the selfishness that said, “I’d rather not be pregnant – I was really enjoying life just the way it was.”

That first month of pregnancy was less difficult and more enjoyable than I’d expected. I’d never had morning sickness with my other pregnancies, though I’d experienced some nausea throughout the day. This pregnancy I had less nausea and was feeling great – still living life full-speed ahead. I popped out almost immediately (thus the response from the photo), and we began wondering if twins were in our future.

Month two hit, and I felt like I hit a wall. From living life full-speed ahead to barely being able to find the energy to move from my bed to the couch each day, I was so exhausted that my ability to focus on work and homeschooling my kids was non-existent. My days were spent sleeping and attempting to supervise my four and five year old children from the couch.

This is when my depression hit. Here, in the midst of “the happiest time of my life” I found myself wanting to just quit. I didn’t want to be pregnant. I didn’t want another baby. And I couldn’t tell anyone.

When I was around family or friends, they would gush about how cute I looked or how excited they were about a new baby. At home, the kids were so excited about the possibility of a new brother or sister, and my husband was “happy because Ashley is happy.” I couldn’t break the news that I wasn’t happy – I couldn’t burst their bubbles.

So I stayed quiet and laid on the couch. I slept the days away, praying that I would soon regain my energy levels so I could get back to living my life again, at least for the last few months until the baby arrived.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. The holidays came, and I put on a happy face as we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with our families, but the depression lingered. I still wasn’t thrilled about being pregnant, but I got pretty good at lying to myself about it…

Read part 2 here.

Ashley Pichea - 250x250

Ashley Pichea invites her blog readers to join her in “doing LIFE together – living intentionally by faith everyday” at LIFE by Ashley Pichea where she shares her faith, her family, and her homeschooling adventures. Ashley invites you to connect with her on Twitter {@apichea} and Facebook {fb.com/lifebyashleypichea}.

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