Saturday, January 4, 2014

I Wish I Knew: What Nobody Tells You About Prenatal Depression.

These days I am taking life one step at a time. I seem to be more familiar with anxiety and a lot of fear as of late. Sometimes it feels as if the isolation is drowning out so much it is hard to tell what is reality and what is the result of the hormones surging inside of me. I feel inadequate and like a complete failure a lot of the time. Instead of feeling feminine and glowing, I feel the extra weight I carried before pregnancy pushing its way out in places too visible for my own comfort. As a result I look further along than I am and people tell me I am huge. I feel self conscious about that. I am tired and winded with each step up my stairs. I am told often that it will only get harder the bigger I get. A claustrophobic's worst fear. I read people's birth and postpartum stories and I squirm in my seat, dreading what is to come with all of my being. I don't recognize myself, my body, my spirit. I wish someone had told me how hard pregnancy was. How motherhood starts from the minute that the second line appears. Despite the tiny heart beating just inches away from my own I feel incredibly alone. Scared and sad.... and so very guilty for feeling so. very. sad.

Last week, I was out with Chris running errands and the entire time I held back tears. A blank stare on my face and this hollow, soulless feeling lurking inside. When we got home, he climbed the stairs to his office and I stood in our kitchen and cried. No... I sobbed. Partially relieved to let it out but mostly devastated that I feel so alone and empty even around the ones that I love so much.

Right now I am battling a horrible case of Influenza A H1N1 coupled with a nasty rhinovirus. When we were driving into the ER last night I saw my life slowly spiraling away. My lungs tightening up and the wheezing growing so loud it almost drowned out the pounding of my rapidly beating heart. I panicked, gripping the seat belt... trying to will myself to breathe. "Just breathe. You are okay. Just breathe, Andi" I said out loud. I pictured myself collapsing and being intubated in the waiting room of the ER, ending up on a ventilator for weeks. Oddly enough, being in the hospital was incredibly comforting, heading home afterwards was again horrifying. During discharge my heart rate shot up to the 120's and they had to double check that I didn't need more fluid before leaving. The anxiety is slowly taking over and it is debilitating and depressing. 

The saddest part about struggling with prenatal depression is this tension between the life that is forming inside of you and the deep despair you feel about the whole process.  I have never loved anyone or anything so much in my entire life. The moment I knew this life was growing inside of me was a moment I will never forget. It was euphoric and terrifying and life changing. There are moments where I feel those flutters and I can't help but think that I am the luckiest woman in the world to have my son moving inside of me. To be his mother. To love that deeply... seeing those little hands waving across the screen and little feet curled up so small and yet so defined. To hear that quick heartbeat so loud and so strong, growing every day. It brings tears to my eyes... good tears. Tears of deep gratitude and awe, filled with a desire to be better than I have ever been... all for this sweet baby boy who is already redefining my entire existence. Yesterday, in the hospital I was telling Chris how scared I was that our little boy would be harmed by my virus. He told me, "He is in the eye of the storm, babe. He is just fine." What truth. Sure enough, there he was on the ultrasound swimmin' around like a champ. His heart rate truckin' along at his usual 150 beats a minute. He is my peace. My joy in all of this. My eye in the midst of the storm. My sweet Bentley.

I find myself crying out in prayer every day... begging God to make me worthy of this responsibility... of this gift. Praying that I would be enough for my child. That I could give him everything and love him in all the ways he deserves. To be strong enough to overcome my own crap and to believe in myself enough... to trust that in the midst of my mess I could be a good mom... the best mom for my precious boy.

I wish someone had told me that being pregnant isn't always joyous and wonderful and filled with that glittery glow I expected to have. Maybe they did... but I didn't hear it or understand it the way that I do now. People say rude things and your body is unkind to you and yet that same body is miraculously creating another human being all in one breath. Everything is foreign and feels scarily out of control. Pregnancy is hard. Motherhood is hard... even at this stage it is so challenging. I know I will be okay... but I really wish I was better prepared for this... that this is what making a baby turns out to be for some.

Miraculous. Frightening. Life-changing. Sad. Hard. Undoubtedly worth it... but still so very hard.


  1. It is a sad state that we only let people see the excited woman telling her family that she is expecting or registering at Babies-r-Us. A lot of pregnancy is just uncomfortable. I am sure the flu isn't helping anything either. Please talk to your doctor about how you are feeling. It isn't the first time they have heard it. Maybe they can help.

    1. There is so much of pregnancy that isn't glamorous. I do plan on talking to my doctor about medication. I've mentioned it to her before so she has some idea. I am glad to know that I have options for help. Thanks for commenting :)

  2. I'm sending you hugs my dear. Also, to say, you're enough. You will be a fantastic mother to that little boy despite of and because of all those experiences you've been through with you're own family. You're enough. You aren't lacking any skill or trait to be an excellent, loving mother to your son. Hang in there, Andi! Go hug your husband. I'm absolutely positive that he'll tell you the same.


  3. It's definitely not the easiest odyssey in the world... pregnancy, that is.
    But the outcome... Oh, that outcome!
    it's like nothing else.
    and hormones are so close to the surface.
    read this.
    your body is changing for the better, friend!
    take care of yourself and hope that flu bug passes you quickly.

    1. I read that post the other day and I left it on my browser to view periodically. It was beautiful. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. oh i'm so behind!! i didn't even know you were pregnant! thank you for your honesty and beauty and faith and hope and honesty again! i'm praying for you andi!! you will be exactly the mama that God wants for your little one, we never feel worthy- but your love and honesty will carry all of you! xoxox

  5. I love how you are so candid about the whole pregnancy journey almost can touch and feel your emotions that are so elated and at the same time fearful at the thought of being less than a perfect mum..

  6. oh, andi.. i cried reading this. i love you friend. i hope you rise up out of your pain soon. <3