DEPRESSION DURING PREGNANCY: NOT TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF PREGNANCY IS NORMAL
EVERYONE HAS LONG KNOWN THAT MOOD SWINGS IN PREGNANT WOMEN ARE NORMAL. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, IN SOCIETY IT IS ACCEPTED THAT ALL PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD CERTAINLY FEEL JOY IN WAITING FOR A BABY. UNFORTUNATELY, WOMEN DO NOT ALWAYS FEEL EMOTIONAL LIFT DURING THIS PERIOD, AND THE PRESSURE OF PUBLIC OPINION, UNFORTUNATELY, OFTEN LEADS TO DEPRESSION DURING PREGNANCY.
The children are lovely. These are charming, perfect, cute little lumps of love. But let’s talk seriously. No matter how cute they are, sometimes the expectation of their birth scares.
My work is related to pregnancy. As an obstetrician and photographer for newborns, I worked with many pregnant women during the period when they were preparing for childbirth and the role of parents.
Recently, I met a couple who was preparing for the arrival of their first child into the world. We chatted about their family business when the expectant mother shared with me her joy that she could easily conceal the pregnancy from strangers. And almost like a belated excuse that she forced herself to pronounce, she said: “You see, we could only enjoy joy together”.
Now, when I recall that conversation, having personal experience behind me, it seems to me that she uttered the word “joy” with some effort, even insincerely, as if it was required of her to say that her pregnancy gives her pleasure. I sympathized with her.
In our culture, pregnancy is considered a wonderful gift. And although it is permissible to complain of tiredness, nausea, morning dizziness and other minor troubles of pregnant women, the expectant mother simply has no right to experience anything other than complete delight.
Even those parents who did not doubt that they want a baby, after pregnancy experience a strong emotional stress, from which they can not find a way out, and as a result begin to be ashamed of their situation. The mood of a woman in this case begins to change before her eyes and can lead to depression during pregnancy.
Last year, I met a mother who was expecting her first child. When I asked how her pregnancy was proceeding, she openly shared with me that she was terribly afraid of becoming a mother. Although she planned this pregnancy, but the pregnancy occurred under the influence of the biological clock, and now the expectant mother was afraid that she would not be able to get along with her baby because of the greater than usual age difference.
“This was the first time I said it out loud … because it sounds just disgusting,” she admitted, all expressing shame in her appearance. I wanted to hold her and hold her until the guilt completely disappeared. But since this was our first meeting, I curbed my compassion and instead of hugging I told her that her feelings were absolutely normal, that they were absolutely acceptable, and that was okay. And almost immediately, I noticed relief in her eyes. “No one ever told me that it’s normal to feel that way.”
Why didn’t anyone tell her that she had the right to her own feelings? Why did she think she couldn’t share this with anyone? Because in our culture, children are equal to happiness. This one-sided approach is time to change. Families awaiting the appearance of the baby should be able to calmly share all the experiences associated with the unborn baby — because this is normal! Hiding behind a mask is always harmful, and if you do not try to get rid of negative emotions during pregnancy, they can lead to prenatal depression in pregnant women or mood disorders in the postpartum period.
I am based on my personal experience. My husband and I got married less than a year after meeting and only a few months after I graduated from medical school. We decided to have a baby right away, and I became pregnant a month after the wedding. I really wanted a baby, right? Therefore, I faithfully portrayed joy when I reported this news to my husband. We told my parents about pregnancy in a very nice way — we presented a signed children’s book. Throughout the holiday I was sick and wanted to run away.
I had to painfully get used to the new role, to become a mother-housewife, because from a financial point of view this was the most optimal solution, although I always dreamed of a full-fledged career as a doctor. I tormented myself with remorse when I once felt relieved that I had severe bleeding, and I thought that a miscarriage could happen. I was terribly worried because I was afraid that I could not find a common language with my son — because I so desperately wanted a daughter. Guilt overwhelmed me with renewed vigor because of the disappointment and shame that I experienced after the ultrasound determined that I would have a boy. I left in one of the parties before the birth in tears, because the guilty feeling that I was not happy for the unborn baby was too strong and all-consuming.
The next four years I spent in depression, which sharply worsened within a few months after the birth of my second child. There were other factors that influenced and intensified my depression, but, first of all, this beast was awakened in me by an internal struggle, the non-recognition of my feelings as rights to exist and the lack of support from society. In other words, in my case, depression during pregnancy turned into a serious problem after childbirth.
Although the children are beautiful and amazing, I urge everyone to be extremely attentive and careful when communicating with future parents. When asking “how your pregnancy is proceeding”, show genuine interest, with due respect for possible feelings of your parents, and please do not try to quickly get rid of them just because you are embarrassed. And those of you who are waiting for the birth of the baby should respect your feelings and find a calm environment where you can share them. If you are unable to find support from others, contact a specialist (such as a therapist or psychologist). Most will be able to provide you with the necessary emotional support. Or find a local website for pregnant women with mood disorders.
You are not alone.
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