MamaBlogger365 – Pregnancy and Depression (or: Pregnant Women are Not So Smug) by Peryl Manning

Having recently posted the video “Pregnant Women Are Smug,” (which I stand by as being hilarious), I’ve been thinking lately of my own, and others’, experiences of pregnancy, and just how various these can be. I certainly learned during my own that the beatific image of the pregnant woman can be misleading.

For me, the larger part of both of my pregnancies was miserable. I was nauseous, not just in the morning, not just for the first trimester, but most of the day, every day, for nine months. Never has a term been as sadly inaccurate as “morning sickness.” During my second pregnancy I was sent to the emergency room multiple times by my doctor to be re-hydrated from constant – well, you know. In addition, I had to go off of my fibromyalgia medication, which meant pretty much constant back and body pain, and very little sleep. Mid-way during my second pregnancy, the constant pain, nausea and lack of sleep triggered a steadily deepening depression.

Now add to this the fact that I spent an increasing amount of time beating myself up – here I was, a relatively healthy, privileged woman, during what was purported to be one of the most magical times of my life. What was wrong with me that I dragged while other pregnant women glowed; that I wallowed while they nested? While being on anti-nausea drugs normally reserved for patients undergoing chemotherapy, I read that other women cured their stomach upset with “a little ginger” or “some chamomile tea.” When I heard about women who “felt the most amazing surge of energy” during their second trimester, I wanted to cry. And I did. Repeatedly. It wasn’t until I asked my OB during one of my then weekly visits (where I would immediately burst into tears when she asked how I was doing) if any other of her patients ever felt depressed during pregnancy, that I realized I was not alone. That it is, in fact, not unusual for women to suffer some degree of depression during pregnancy.

This conversation was such relief to me, because it allowed me to at least to ease up on some of the guilt I had been carting around. It didn’t take care of the physical misery, but it freed me up to see that I could love the child I was carrying, without having to love the experience of carrying it. So now, with my children beautifully on the outside where they belong, I think it’s important to share my experience with others. Bless those pregnant women that never have a day of nausea and feel better than they ever have before; but it’s okay if you’re not one of them.

Bio: Peryl Manning is a freelance writer and stay-at-home-mother to two small boys. She juggles her home and her boys, her writing, and her volunteer work with varying degrees of success, and is convinced of only one certainty: Parenting is really, really challenging. Since being blindsided and overwhelmed, overjoyed and then at times underwhelmed by the whole business of motherhood, she has had a lot to say about it, and says some of it here. ’Parenting ad absurdum’ is now on twitter: @momadabsurdum. Should I be following you? Let me know! And if you would like to be on my highly classified secret double-lockdown mailing list to be advised of new posts, leave a note or send an email to parentingadabsurdum AT gmail DOT com. Visit http://blog.seattlepi.com/parentingadabsurdum.

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Photo credit: expectancy by veggiegretz

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