Tuesday, 3 February 2009

antenatal depression...how many?

Pregnancy related depression is supposed to affect about 10%-15% of the population...well those are more the figures for postnatal depression (PND); I think antenatal depression (AND) is more uncharted. Why would this be? Maybe it's not as severe as postnatal depression; maybe pregnant women feel guilty about feeling dreadful when they are at a stage in their life when everyone says they should be "glowing", "blooming" and all the other words we associate with the state of pregnancy. Anyway, I had it so, yes, one major distraction there but part of my story and therefore not to be ignored. I knew I was getting depressed, I was experiencing bits of obsessive behaviour, worrying needlessly about the well being of my kids, checking on them, panic, nausea, tears...and it came to a head one Friday. I'd been to see the GP, I wanted medication but my very good GP was on this occasion reluctant; so I carried on drowning in negativity until at least I ground to a halt. It was a Friday and I couldn't manage to cook the kids dinner. No, I didn't even get to the cooking bit...I didn't know how I was going to manage to do it; then I started panicking about how I would get my daughter to her swimming lesson the following Monday. I was I ever going to manage to cook dinner on that day too (I don't like cooking but this wasn't some elaborate rouse to get out of the chore....honestly!). Anyway all this resulted in me seeking out the kind of help I needed; I found my route through and things began to improve; the perinatal care I received was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed the last few weeks of my pregnancy. My only regret? That I didn't access the perinatal services earlier, that I kept quiet..thinking I was tired, stressed...whatever label I attached to feeling depressed; that I couldn't admit to feeling this way; that I gave into the guilt of not enjoying being pregnant. I got help and I was OK but, man, I could have been OK months earlier. On a very serious note I would urge all expectant mothers to get some help if they are experiencing any amount of depression: GP's, midwives, family, friends...even sitting in A & E until someone has time to see and assess you: it is all worth it. Any sort of depression is capable of occupying, possessing your very being and sometimes it's hard to break free but it can be done...

No comments: