We are back with another post for #DEMentalHealthMondays segment!
I have suffered from your regular and typical clinically diagnosed depression before conceiving. I have spoken about it before, in which Delux Designs (DE), LLC mental health segment #DEMentalHealthMondays began from my journey through it. For the last couple years I have been able to manage things better and fully for the better but it wasn’t until recently that I have begun to have problems with it but in a different manner.
Prepartum Depression – the depression that occurs in new mothers before their baby is born.
Now, I was always told about postpartum depression.
I have watched a few women younger, my age and even older go through it before and have watched how bad it can get. But I did not know about Prepartum Depression until I actually began to go through it directly myself around the second trimester of pregnancy.
Every woman has an expectation of how she wants her first pregnancy to go whether planned or not. Mine was planned but nothing went how I had planned for things to go and I think that began my depression relapse in general to be honest. Having those expectations just ripped from under me and my child was something that I wasn’t prepared for and I began to hurt not only for myself but for my child more than anyone.
Fueling the Fire
I began to experience a lot of problems with the people around me during the middle half of my pregnancy which fueled my depression to the point where I began to make immediate cuts in ties with multiple people. I literally pulled myself out of my circles of friends all together in order to save myself mentally and so my mental state would not harm my own child growing inside of me. Not only did I know I deserve better treatment, better looks and glances, better judgement and overall just better vibes, but my kid needed to be in a better environment in which my feelings actually mattered. I was told that having my feelings hurt on a regular basis while pregnant didn’t matter at all. That my feelings period never truly mattered. This hurt me completely and just gave me the strength to get up and leave certain people alone all together. No kid deserves to see their mother being treated poorly within their immediate circle or by anyone, and no unborn deserves to feel their mother’s feelings being hurt by their immediate circle before they are even born. That is not fair to them and it was placing my child into a toxic environment already.
A second factor that fueled my depression was my relationship status with my child’s father. Don’t get me wrong now, I loved him and cared about him so much and wouldn’t have chosen anyone else to go through this journey of life with — but he just didn’t see the same for me and our unborn. His plans did not align with reality and what was happening right now and a lot was disrespectfully said and done to me in regards to his own plans. I seen it coming as I grew bigger in size and my child developed more each week, and would fight so hard to keep everything good and going well between us and it never got better. It only dropped me into a bigger hole mentally so I stepped away from him as well. No real woman wants to raise her first kid in a broken home. I don’t care what society makes black women out to be, all of us aren’t bitter. All of us aren’t out here just having children for checks and to live off of government based assistance for the rest of our lives. There are many of us that have always had a desire and dream of having a complete and solid family for our children and will do and pretty much put up with anything for it, and that alone I found out the hard way was not right nor fair. No real, and solid, woman should have to put up with anything in order to have better or feel a sense of happiness. These black children out here should not have to experience a broken home first before things get better for them in their living arrangements. Why should we as black women and our black children have to suffer first and then be glorified and loved second? These black children shouldn’t have to feel the hurt of their mother internally before they’re even born due to partners not treating them right along the journey of their growth. It is just not right and during my second trimester I had to make the hard decision to begin the process of stepping away in order to not only save myself but to continue to keep my kid safe and out of harm’s way emotionally. A wise woman once said do what’s best for your child and this was me doing just that.
Third factor that I faced when dealing with prepartum depression was my long hours of working my 9-5 job position. I love my job and I love what I do. I guarantee I would be flourishing at work right now more and better than my fellow co-workers if I wasn’t with child but I am which made things ten times harder for me. It got to a point where I could barely stand up to complete my shifts which was causing physical harm to me and my baby trying to make money to provide for her beforehand and to feed myself fully. Remember, as I just stated, me and my child’s father could not get things right so I could never ever go to him for financial support as some women can with their children’s father. There was no financial help coming from him at all in regards to our child, I had to pretty much depend on myself about 85% in order to keep our growing child simply fed with food, gas for transportation and any other car repairs to get us back and forth to the doctor and whatever else that may have been needed. Luckily, I come from a pretty solid family on both my mom and dad’s side so I was able to have that remaining 15% of help from which I will forever be grateful for and loyal to them over for the rest of my life. This is when I went on leave from work in order to save myself from physically and mentally harming my unborn child.
Fourth factor, which was the most shocking one that I never ever seen coming, was the Coronavirus Global Health Pandemic that is still going on to this day and getting worse every single day. If you would have told me months ago that I would be pregnant with my first child during a massive health crisis I probably would have laughed and not have taken it serious. During this health pandemic I have been on edge just wondering about my health and the health of my unborn constantly. Now this particular worry really amplified my prepartum depression to the point where I would find myself hard down crying in worry. I would see articles of other women my age giving birth completely alone and that would just send me completely over the edge. I would see articles of women losing their very young babies and children to the virus going around and there was nothing they could do about it. They weren’t even allowed to give their child a complete and respectful burial process due to this virus being so contagious. I couldn’t imagine being in their shoes and I have become extremely terrified of having to fill that set of shoes. It got to a point where I realized I could not watch the news as I normally would and made me refer back to my own words in a previous article I published here for Delux Designs (DE), LLC mental health blogging segment titled, “The Media is Destroying Your Mental Health”. The media was beginning to fuel my prepartum depression so incredibly bad, but also the isolation was not making it any better. With this particular virus we were all ordered to stay indoors for social distancing and with me being pregnant I was at a higher risk of contracting the virus so I had no other choice but to stay in. Things got so bad I couldn’t even have my baby’s baby shower. The day it was cancelled I stayed in the bed crying all day. I only ate one time that entire day that’s how bad I was hurt by it. Again another aspect of my pregnancy that was planned and ruined not only for me but for her. I needed to be able to visit my aunts and my grandmother and just to be around family for guidance but I couldn’t. It is one thing to talk to family on the phone, but it is another to have the means of being around your people physically and not being able to do that hurts. One person that helped me in this area behind closed doors, and still is because we are still going through this virus right now, would be my mother. She has kept reassuring me that things will get better and back to normal so I can only use her strength as a mother as a positive example and keep hope alive so I can reassure her grandbaby, my unborn child that things will get better overall soon. Once I realized that the media was harming me along with outside factors of the world I realized that there would be times like this in the future, this is just a taste of bad times. I needed to cut the tv off and focus on the things I could change versus worrying about the things I could not change and begin to grasp the courage to know the difference between the two.
How I am Treating my Prepartum Depression
Once I figured out what was going on with me of course like I said before I began to make cuts in my personal relationships and circles I was running with at one point in time and I began to step back from physical things that I enjoyed that may have not been the right things for me to participate in right now. I also started some new practices that I had found to help me out a lot before when I was dealing with depression before my pregnancy.
- Heavy Self-Care: I began to take better care of myself during the second trimester. I would get my hair done, nails done, go shopping from time to time and actually put clothes on for the day to look nice. I started having fun with some pregnancy styles and began to play in my hair more with natural hairstyles. I focused on my skincare more as well by doing facials from time to time. This is that time period where you would look at me and wouldn’t even think I was pretty much severely depressed because of that pregnancy glow I had going on from taking care of myself. Drinking water became my best friend as well. I felt like I was cleaning my system out more each day by every drink of water I had, it was sort of a mental escape.
- Social Distancing: It was not that I was ignoring people around me but I was ignoring people around me heavily during my second trimester. I was forced into at first due to the virus that’s going around nationwide but it later became a preference for me. This is actually a practice that I intend on keeping after my child is born. When I found out I was pregnant a lot of true colors began to show that I had been overlooking before which helped me to decide on what I wanted to be around and what wasn’t healthy for me to be around. That not only was for my reality and real world, but even some connections online as well. I was on a hard down search for better vibes. More positive content. I just wanted to feel better and anyone that was prohibiting me from doing that I didn’t want to fool with them at all anymore, and that helped a lot. This distancing ironically extended more and a lot heavy into my third trimester due to the virus going around so it’s like I was already prepping for this time period in a way.
- Keeping Quiet: I know this may not be the best thing to do for everyone. I know sometimes isolation can cause things to get worse overtime and I don’t recommend it for anyone else, but for me personally this was a time that I needed to be alone. I felt like I was already seeing that my circle was not for me so I opted to keep my business to myself in general. It helped me to learn more about myself and to plan more for me and my unborn better. Sometimes, I have found, the more people you bring into your business and problems the more problems you end up having when you could just stand tall and work on things yourself. This helped me to think for myself and to think more clearly than ever. I was in control of my life better and I began to take control of my child’s life.
- Praise and Worship: I had already wanted to get back into church fully I just needed that extra push to do so. During the first half of my third trimester I began taking those steps. I began to attend church virtually (virus prohibited us from attending church physically). Each Sunday became my favorite days of the week. I would wake up and get a big breakfast going on the stove and a big cup of coffee, open my computer and get to work, and then bring up my Facebook page to find a live church service to watch while designing or checking emails. Times really have changed since I was a child, we really didn’t have this privilege and it has helped me so much. I already didn’t want to really be around people or out and about, so this helped me to begin the process of coming closer to my higher beliefs without having to leave my home. I could cry and breakdown and rejoice as much as I wanted to without being judged for it or questions asked and it made me feel so much better about my situation and my depressive state I was fighting through.
You’re Not Crazy, You’re Hurting
Prepartum Depression is not an indication that you are crazy. I repeat…you are not crazy. You do not have problems. You do not have major issues going on to where you can’t function like a normal adult or mother. This is a time period that you are having to go through in order to change things about yourself. That is the way I see it. Without this tough time period before my child gets here I feel like I would end up with postpartum depression all while trying to raise my first child which can be extremely tough to juggle. You are not the only one going through this or has went through this. This is actually quite common. It’s alright to not feel alright sometimes. It is alright to be sad and to feel discouragement from time to time. What is not alright is staying there. Staying in that hurt and discouragement to where you can’t get anything done and can’t prosper in life. What is not alright is not changing for the better. Not trying to find a solution to the issue and problem you are facing. Eventually, and sooner than later, you must get up and fight the hurt you feel. Not only for yourself but for your child. Prepartum and Postpartum Depression are different from your traditional depression types because another person is involved, your child. Some completely give up with the traditional forms of depression so badly they hit rock bottom, which is not good to do either. That shouldn’t be an option or route to take at all. You can not afford to just give up and hit rock bottom for the sake of your kid. You hitting rock bottom is also your child hitting that same bottom right along with you. When you find yourself feeling sad and depressed try some of my methods listed above or even develop some of your own. Never give up on your children. Never give up on yourself. Take care.
Disclaimer: All pregnancies are not the same and everyone doesn’t go through the same things. My pregnancy experience is not the same as anyone else’s. The views and statements made through #DEArtMom blog segment of Delux Designs (DE), LLC does not reflect the experiences and views of other women whom are or have been pregnant before. The statements and posts of this blog segment are not a reflection of any licensed physicians or doctors and should not be attempted or duplicated by anyone that is currently pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Always consult with your own physician or doctor before taking any medications or trying any pregnancy practices found online.
Suicide Hotlines: 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) and 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)