Antenatal Depression

Antenatal Depression December 2, 2015

Many of you know that I’ve struggled with depression in the past (see my post on Hinduism and Depression). I thought that it was resolved and mostly behind me, that I could effectively deal with any little flareups. But within weeks of becoming pregnant it was back in full force.

This feels deeply unfair. I’m finally getting everything that I wanted in life, the baby that I worked so hard for, and I can’t enjoy it. Depression is in no way logical. I mean, yes you can be situationally depressed when you’re in a bad place in life. But depression like this is unrelated to situation. Depression like this doesn’t make any sense. I have a wonderful life. I have an adoring husband, I own a home, I earn money blogging, and I have a baby on the way. Everything is so freakin perfect! But the gratitude that I should be feeling can’t pierce the cloud that’s all around me.

The meaning and purpose of life has been drained out. I become so listless and unmotivated that I think I’m going to drift into non-existence. I don’t see any reason to go on. Most ironic now that a baby is on the way. That should be all about the hope and excitement for the future. But I can’t feel it. It’s like those other feelings I could be having are on the other side of this fog and this side of the fog feels so much more real, those other feelings seem like a mirage.

It turns out that postpartum depression isn’t the only kind associated with pregnancy. Not terribly surprising considering the crazy rush of hormones through one’s system (although Wikipedia claims that antenatal depression is considered to be triggered by pregnancy fears, stresses, and difficult relationships, none of which is true for me). Apparently prenatal or antenatal depression can be a strong indicator of postpartum depression if it is left untreated (whatever that means!). I’m terrified of not being able to bond with this baby that I’ve waited so long for and wanted so badly.

In the past I have been able to search for and find a chink in the fog that I could grab hold of and expand until I could step through. I have some great tools in my arsenal as Hinduism has trained me not to be a slave to my mind and my thoughts. But I haven’t been able to find that opening this time. And it’s getting worse.

I tried to do some therapy but after a few weeks suicidal thoughts are entering my mind, which is definitely worse than it was. I thought perhaps getting to the second trimester would ease these symptoms but last week I entered the second trimester and the depression is deepening.

It is Brad, my husband, who keeps me alive. No matter what horrible things my brain tells me about myself, I know that he adores me despite all my failings. He tells me he loves me so many times a day that there is no space for the inner voice to say that I don’t matter. Even though I feel like a burden to him right now, I know that if I were to vanish it would devastate him.

So I keep trying to fight through it. But my productivity has suffered tremendously. I’ve found it difficult to write posts or write anything, actually. I have lots of big ideas about tidying I want to do, decorating in the nursery, organizing my baby’s books, etc. And every night I tell myself I’ll be full of energy and ready to tackle it the next day. So far that has not been the case and nothing is getting done.

Yesterday was particularly bad. The things I might have actually gotten the motivation to do were thwarted by my phone not working (and all the info I needed was on it). Then later in the day I found out that I didn’t get a job that I really wanted. I went into a tailspin and spent a big part of the day crying. Brad called my midwife and she was also very concerned. We all agreed that I probably need to get on an anti-depressant. So I have an appointment to see her today and maybe, I hope, there’s a magic pill that can get me through this. I can’t stand to keep feeling this way.

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  • Archana

    Dear Ambaa Choate,

    I read your articles on Depression.How do you feel now?
    I was also going through that kind of depression that you mentioned.Now I am feeling better.
    I thought i could help you out on that. if the problem still exists.Please read fully and carefully.

    Even I had lost interest even in things I was very much interested in.I felt void within me.But I will tell you one thing,I feel much better now.At times my mind gets depressed even now,but I am able to control it to a large extent.

    Try out the following ways to help yourself out
    1.Keep doing japa or repeating the name of your favourite deity with love(here the feeling of love is important),I think it is Lord Nataraj in your case.

    2.Submit flowers to your favourite deity with love ,humility and gratitude.Here too the emotions are very important.

    3.Speak to your favourite deity or guru mentally,asking them for help to relieve from this trouble.It is important that you speak in the language of your heart.You must speak to them mentally as if you are speaking to your friend.

    4.Make your daily routine more interesting.Bring lots of creativity in it.
    The daily routine is itself a routine to control you mind daily.

    5.Practise any sadhana or meditation that you do regularly.Don;t allow your mind to spoil your time of meditation.Control it.It is your servant.But be careful not to be very harsh on the mind.Sometimes,it will get calm on itself.

    6.Submit all that you do as flowers at the feet of your favourite deity with love ,humility and gratitude.This is called Karma yoga.

    7.Throw away the anti-depressants.They are not good for health and they will not give you permanent relief,as they cannot destroy the cause of depression(they only act on the symptoms caused due to depression).The tablets are only a temporary solution .

    Be regular in this practise and don’t give a break even for a day.Tell me how you feel after you try this.If you don’t feel better even after this,Ask your Guru about this problem.he will definitely help you .

    All the best.Nothing is impossible in this world.