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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

 

I shared yesterday my story of postpartum depression with my second child. Today, I will tell you the story about my third.

I knew that the chances of having another go with postpartum depression was a very real possibility when I got pregnant with our third child. I had two miscarriages in between these pregnancies, and was pregnant 3 times within 6 months. It reeked havoc on my body, my hormones, and my spirit. By the time I got pregnant with Clay, it was hard for me to accept that I was pregnant again. I wanted to be happy about it, but I was expecting the worst. Finally, we saw a strong heartbeat and began to let this little person into our lives. We finally broke the news to our family, and the next day everything changed. My sister-in-law lost her son at 39 weeks. It truly was a defining moment for me. Life is so fragile and things can change in a heartbeat.

With this knowledge, it was even harder for me to get excited about my pregnancy. We are now living in California, and we have two beautiful children, 2 and 3. I had a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I had no desire to do anything at all. Functioning in my day to day life was a struggle. Just like my last pregnancy, I was so sick that I was throwing up from the sight of food on the TV. 8-9 times a day, I would throw up and nothing made me feel better. I would sit at the bottom of the shower for what seemed like hours and not feel a thing.

It was always the plan that I would start taking my meds again at 38 weeks to preempt the PPD that I would likely experience. When I went for my 4 month checkup, I got the courage to tell my midwife what was going on. I told her that I thought that I had the flu. All I wanted to do was sleep, I couldn’t eat, I could barely get my kids to preschool. My husband was carrying our family because I was useless. She told me that it was not the flu that I had, I was depressed.

If I was ashamed of postpartum depression, nothing would prepare me for the shame that I would feel about prenatal depression. I was lucky enough to have another baby, and here I am depressed because of it. It felt wrong. I have friends that have shared their PPD stories with me, but I had never heard of anyone being depressed while pregnant. I felt very alone. I went to a new mom’s group and the women there were glowing. They were enjoying every second of being pregnant while I was truly begging for my pregnancy to be over. I was scared of not making it to the end, I was scared of having a loss like my sister-in-law. I was barely hanging on.

I went on Zoloft the day that I told my midwife what was going on. I slowly had to work up to the proper dosage. I felt uneasy about taking anything while pregnant, and the idea of having to take an anti-depressant did not sit well. She told me that she did not worry about pregnant and nursing mothers taking Zoloft. What did worry her – mothers struggling with depression and not being able to take care of themselves and their families. Something in that rationale spoke to me and I stopped at the pharmacy on the way home from the visit. I also scored a standing twice weekly appointment to get B12 shots in my ass, in hopes that it would make me stop throwing up. It didn’t stop it completely, but it did help.

I can’t lie to you, I did feel better, but I never felt good until after Clay was born. After a rough and absolutely terrifying delivery, we decided that our family was complete. The funny thing is that almost as soon as he was born, I felt something in me shift. I knew that I was getting better and that this would not be my story forever.

When I ask my husband about these days, he cannot give me specifics. He can tell me that it was bad, but he doesn’t remember it the same way that I do. I don’t think that he has the guilt that I attached to it. He said that what he does remember is that I lost my sharpness and edge. He said that he didn’t mind because I was in a much better place, but that he missed the real me. It was a concession that he was willing to make to not to have to live with a highly depressed, hormonal, pregnant woman. Can you blame him? When Clay was about 5 months old, I weaned myself off of my meds and never looked back. The flatness that I felt was starting wear off. Things began to turn around. I fell head over heels in love with our new son, I enjoyed every moment with him.

My husband and I were driving in the car one afternoon, he said something that I cannot remember, and I replied with a quick and smart ass remark. He almost started to cry, he told me that he was so happy to have his wife back.

About Bree


Bree is the founder and writer of BakedBree.com, a recipe site that shares her love of cooking, baking, and entertaining with others. BakedBree.com launched in February of 2010 as a way to merge Bree’s love of photography with her love of food, and share both with friends and family. Currently, Bree lives in the suburbs of Washington DC with her husband and 3 children.

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  • Cora White

    I had a near break while pregnant with my last child. I didn’t do drugs but did some very intense therapy. It helped and I was changed after all the work I did just to be able to show to have my daughter.
    I am amazed at your courage.

  • Heidi M

    I, too, had prenatal depression. We had experienced infertility during which I’d had two early miscarriages. Several years later I got pregnant again only to lose the baby at about 13 weeks on Mother’s Day. I got pregnant again a year later and was a complete disaster the whole time – in spite of the fact that I was already on Prozac! There is little as terrifying as feeling so awful and feeling like you’re already doing as much as you can do to help it… Thankfully it has improved so much since she’s been born. I’m still taking my medication as I’m afraid to slip back to the way things were, but it feels SO good to finally be feeling better! Thanks for telling your story!

  • Faith Raider

    I am so glad you shared this story. 2 out of my 5 pregnancies I’ve struggled with prenatal depression. Thankfully I’d seen it mentioned in a baby magazine so I knew I wasn’t crazy or alone, but it sure felt that way, I hated that I hated being pregnant. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really can’t hear them enough – to know that women and moms struggle with this and how they’ve handled it is just great.

  • http://www.jenniferkrafchik.com/ Jen

    Bree – I really appreciate you sharing your stories – yesterday and today. I think it’s so important for mothers to share these honest stories with one another. It always helps to know that you’re not alone, that someone else out there has felt the same way and has been there. Thank you.

  • Kay

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who gets depressed during pregnancy. I didn’t really experience much postpartum, but my entire pregnancy (both times) I had a hard time getting myself out of bed and I would cry myself to sleep every other night because I felt miserable and useless. I hear a lot about postpartum but not much about depression during pregnancy. I thought I was crazy. Like you, once that baby came out I felt instant improvement. Sometimes I can’t believe what we have to go through for these sweet little babies;)

  • Sarahliegl

    After my daughter was born, I struggled with feelings and difficulties that I didn’t recognize as PPD. I was lucky that I snapped out of it without needing medication, but I now know that the problems I had affected the early bonding I was unable to do with my little girl. Thank you for talking about this because women need to be aware of this before they start having those feelings, so they know what to do and how to ask for help.

  • http://lifeineden.wordpress.com/ Life in Eden {amy}

    There is so much about the path to motherhood, and motherhood itself that is not the storybook tale so many imagine. It can be bumpy, and frightening and down right horrific. I think it is so important for women to realize that not everyone has that BabyCenter beautiful experience. Thank you for sharing your journey Bree!

  • Skubygurl

    I would like to add that many women I know including myself stay on medication. It’s OK to not be able to wean yourself off after baby comes or even 4 yrs later!

  • http://www.glocalgirl.com/ Jeanelle @ Glocal Girl

    Bree, this made me tear up.

    Thank you for being so brave to sharing your story… I have never experienced the joy of having children yet, but it is so good to be aware of all sorts of different challenges that women can face. You have helped many (undoubtedly).

    x
    Jeanelle

  • Christinelewis25

    What an amazing story. I can’t say that I’ve really experienced much depression through pregnancy or afterwards, but I’m sending hugs to you to have been brave enough to make it through to share your story with others to let them know they are not alone and that there is help. :) Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs out there!

  • http://www.503photography.com Jessica Cudzilo

    Everything about conceiving, growing and raising babies is difficult and it seems as if it’s rarely talked about. So, thank you for your honesty, Bree. It means a lot to readers like me.