Is Depression During Pregnancy A Thing?

We spend so much time talking about postpartum depression, which is a very serious issue for many women. Somehow I managed to escape it the last time and (knock on wood) hope I miss it again this go ’round.

In the meantime, I’m wondering about depression DURING pregnancy. There is so much going on physically, mentally, and surrounding a pregnant lady. It makes sense that her emotions are all over the place, but this pregnant lady once again can’t shake the Sads.

I say “once again” because I remember this from last time. It was (and continues to be) never serious. I don’t have any thoughts about ending anything. Rather, I just want to go sit in my room alone. I don’t want to be with Eggroll. I don’t want to talk to Randy. I don’t want to cook or eat anything. I most certainly don’t want to go out in public and put on my Public Face. I just want to go read a book in bed and get snuggly under the covers.

The American Pregnancy Association defines depression during pregnancy (or antepartum depression) as a mood disorder in which a woman experiences symptoms for two weeks or more. These symptoms include:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Recurring thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness*
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Change in eating habits

Check, check and check. (*Again, I don’t have thoughts of suicide, but hopelessness… That cat is always by my side during these episodes.) Sigh.

For me, these phases typically only last for a couple of days before I’m back to “normal”, which makes me think it is just a mood swing. That Crab Rangoon is growing some new body part which causes a new hormone to course through my system which makes the whole rest of my body to go nutballs.

Or perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve had a steady diet of Christmas cookies in both finished and dough form this week.

Or maybe it’s because I’m waking up at 3:30 am and can’t turn off all the great ideas I have for 2016 plans, only to fall asleep 30 minutes before the alarm goes off at 6.

Or maybe it’s due to all the computer time vs. taking gym breaks.

Ah yes, the doctor is always the worst patient, right? As is the yoga teacher. I know better. I know how to fuel my system. I know what I’m supposed to do, but who actually follows the “supposed to’s”?

I’m writing this post from the gym where I’m waiting on a yoga class to start. The teacher does a good job of working us hard while giving just enough time for focus on meditation. I had my healthy smoothie for breakfast and plans for a salad and healthy fixings for lunch. I don’t have time for a nap, but I’m going to set an alarm for 5 pm and try to turn off all the work stuff at that point. I’ve even got my O.A.R. station on Spotify. If O.A.R. can’t get me dancing, then all is most definitely lost. (Ah, memories of Summerfest, draft beer, warm weather, and my twenties…)

Sure, I’m making another batch of sugar cookies today (hence will eat a bunch of dough) and make no promises about my negotiation skills with my id when we both wake up in the middle of the night, but I’ll take some baby steps. Pregnancy is a waiting game in a great many ways and this is no different. I’ve just got to wait out this grumpy episode and know happiness will return.

And if it doesn’t, well, I hope Santa brings me an acupuncturist and a new blankie.

If you had issues of depression or mood swings while pregnant, what did you do to make things better?

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