I’ve been putting off writing this post for almost two years. Mostly because I just didn’t know how to say everything I wanted too and I was afraid of being judged. It’s hard to teach others how to heal if you haven’t healed yourself first.
The Start of my Depression
Let’s start at the beginning of my story. At the time Tony and I were living in the condo we bought in Toronto. It was a beautiful place and close to the airport so he could fly out to work in Alberta. I was still finishing my last year of college while working part-time at elementary schools. We were living a pretty good life at the time, but the city never felt like home. We both grew up outside the city and we knew we wanted to move back someday.
In May we found out Tony’s grandmother was diagnosed with terminally ill cancer. We started spending every weekend driving back home to spend time with her. In July I told Tony I pregnant while we were visiting her, I knew how much it would mean them. We hoped and prayed that she would stay with us until she got to meet her great-grandchild that winter.
It wasn’t even a few weeks into my pregnancy when I started to feel horrible. Not only physically becasue of the morning sickness but mentally as well. Emotionally I was not in a good place and it started to show. I wasn’t acting myself, I started fights with Tony all the time and I felt very self-destructive. I would cry a lot and have crippling anxiety every time I left my home. At the time, my sister having problems and the emotional strain of it that sent me over the edge. I felt as if I was constantly carrying a heavy bag on my shoulders and chest. I couldn’t stop thinking about my feelings.
Thankfully I did notice how awful I felt, and I knew I needed to find help. My team of doctors, midwives and councilors were the most amazing women I have ever met. They were so caring, gentle and exactly what I needed. I started doing CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Treatment) and group therapy but nothing changed with the way I felt. Finally, my doctor and midwives came up with a plan that included medication for prenatal depression. At first, I felt sick to my stomach and had already felt like I was failing at being a mother. I also thought being on medication was going to hurt my unborn baby. But trust me that did bring on a whole new set of worries and I worried about it A LOT. At night I would stay awake googling “the effects of sertraline on unborn babies”. But my doctors were convinced that having prepartum depression would mean I would get post-partum depression as well.
I didn’t like that I wasn’t happy about my pregnancy or excited. Instead, I was scared and felt like I was doing something horribly wrong but I couldn’t figure out what. It honestly caused me so much heartbreak even thou I knew my real feelings were the complete opposite. My life was everything I wanted and more. Life was good and I having a baby with my best friend who I’ve loved since we were 12 years old. I had nothing to complain about.
Seeking Out Help
Just over 2 weeks after starting the medication I felt back to my old self! It’s truly amazing how much can change in your mental health if you really need it to. I was always so skeptical of taking medication for depression or anxiety because I didn’t know what to expect.
The rest of my pregnancy was totally easy and I was finally happy! I even got back into working out which I loved and at 8 months I was winning Crossfit challenges. I was finally able to fully enjoy being pregnant and start planning for our new family member.
On February 18, 2018, I gave birth to a happy and healthy baby girl. We named her Penelope Frances after Tony’s grandmother, who did get to meet her but sadly passed a month after. Even with such sadness in my heart, I didn’t feel depressed or anxious anymore. To be honest I have never felt happier in my entire life than I did when I become a mother. It was the best feeling in the world and I don’t think I could have felt that without medication. It also helped me handle sad or negative situations in life so much better.
I know this was probably a really random and an emotional way to begin the week. But I wanted to share a side of motherhood and pregnancy most of us never talk about. I struggled with this for a long time and I hid it from family and friends because I felt ashamed. It took me almost 2 years to see that things happened for a reason. Maybe I was given a story to tell because I have a voice. I just want you to know there is nothing to be ashamed of if you feel unhappy. It’s okay to seek help and I promise that you will feel normal again. It also doesn’t mean you need to be on medication this is just what worked for me.
This is a helpful list of resources if you have depression and need someone to talk to.
+ want to read more about my pregnancy struggle, find it here.
+ 10 things I’ve learned in 10 years that might be able to help you too.