Awareness about postpartum depression signs (PPD) has been growing in recent years, and new mothers and doctors both know about the symptoms. What is much less known is that depression can also strike during pregnancy. It is extremely common to be told how happy and overjoyed you are when you are pregnant. If you are not living on a pink cloud, and instead have feelings if desperation, it can be difficult to seek help. But just like its post-partum colleague, prenatal depression is not a mother's fault and treatment is available. Let's have a look at the symptoms of prenatal depression.
Prenatal depression manifests in different forms for different women. Some symptoms of depression, like extreme fatigue, are also normal symptoms of pregnancy. But when you are feeling unmotivated, like nothing is fun any more, and like life is passing you by, it could be prenatal depression. One friend of mine, who finally admitted that she suffered from prenatal depression when her daughter was more than six months old, described her feelings to me. "Everyone is telling you that pregnancy is fun, that you are blessed, and that you must be so happy. I used to just nod and not say anything. But I remember seeing mothers with newborns and actually crying because I felt so sorry for them."
My friend was lucky. After she gave birth, her depression went away immediately. The hormones that are dominant in pregnancy, like progesterone, might have been contributing to the depression and when her hormonal environment changed after pregnancy, the depression was cured. But she endured months of hell, thinking that she was a horrible mother who should never have become pregnant. So if you are pregnant and are feeling sad, angry, or detached all day long, please seek help. Many mothers are ridden with guilt, can't stop eating or don't eat at all, and are obsessed with dark thoughts. There are some antidepressant medications that are safe to use in pregnancy. Prenatal depression can strike anyone, and says nothing about your abilities as a mother. It is nothing to be ashamed about. But you will need help to overcome it.