• Bola Kwame

Big Momma: Depressed Momma

How to get through pregnancy without sacrificing your mental health in the process?

Pregnancy is never easy (no shit Sherlock), whether it's your first or the third baby, planned or unplanned. Taking care of our mental health during a time full of so many emotions is vital to pregnancy wellbeing. Easier said than done!

They tell us many things to take care of the health of the baby before it is born. Don't smoke, don't drink, don't eat junk, sleep well, stay active, take prenatal vitamins, etc... But what about YOUR health, mom? Sometimes, during pregnancy, we have to pay attention to so many things that our well-being ends up being left aside. This is the reason why so many of us go through mental health problems during pregnancy. Pre/Post-Natal depression anyone?

But here's a bigger question:

What if I already have a history of mental illness and want to plan a pregnancy?

Should I stop taking medication? Should I take more medication? Can't have a baby? I know that you can have thousands of doubts, especially if it is your first pregnancy, luckily, many of us have already gone through that and we can help you. This stage is beautiful but demanding, and it never hurts to have an extra set of tools while you’re expecting.

The pregnancy roller coaster

They always present pregnancy as 9 months of full happiness and preparation for a great event. This may be the case for you, but it is not for most women, and that is normal. We can feel thousands of things, excitement, anxiety, happiness, worry, uncertainty, exhaustion and the list goes on and on. Naturally, pregnancy is a challenge for the mental health of every mother, and if we add external factors, everything is a perfect recipe for a health disorder.

Health disorders are so common in pregnant women that studies indicate that 1 in 5 will suffer from some kind of mental illness. So if you feel like your pregnancy isn't the fairy tale you were promised, don't worry, it wasn't for any of us!

Morning sickness, stress, time lag, lack of time awareness, not being able to eat what you want, pain ... With all that it would be difficult NOT to have a mental illness. It's a beautiful experience, just don't believe everything they tell you...

The big D and A

Among the most common mental health problems during pregnancy, mood swings are 100% normal. Stress and worry are quite common. Very normal thing if we take into consideration that our body is CREATING A HUMAN BEING. The next time someone who has never been pregnant tells you that you are exaggerating, you have my permission to slap them.

On the podium of diseases that hinder the wellbeing of pregnancy, there is a tie for the winning position: depression and anxiety. There are other problems that we may experience but these take the prize. 15 out of every 100 of us will suffer from them.

If you have symptoms of any of these diseases, please, please, please talk to your doctor immediately. You can also speak with a therapist who is an expert in depression during pregnancy and similar illnesses. There are several treatments that will work, such as medications (approved by your doctor), talk therapy, and even alternatives such as yoga and meditation.

Planning a pregnancy with a history of mental illness

If you have struggled with mental illness in the past, it is important that you speak with a doctor before getting pregnant. You should not worry too much about your baby being born healthy and free of this disease, but it can be a very difficult process for you to cope with. Knowing how difficult it is to maintain mental health during pregnancy, it is important to be ready for anything.

I suffered from anxiety for many years during my adolescence and early adulthood, so I was too worried that being pregnant would trigger the symptoms again. As you know, most medications for anxiety and other illnesses are not suitable if you are pregnant.

So what can you do?

Always speak to a professional. My doctor recommended that I have a series of alternatives ready that can help me stay calm. Guided meditation helped me a lot, the support of your partner (if possible) can be a great support during this process.

There are many books and podcasts that speak specifically about these ills and pregnancy wellbeing, these were very helpful in the weeks leading up to conception.

Depression during pregnancy is highly common, if you suffered from depression before you are more susceptible to suffering from it. The key is preparation, preparation, preparation. You can be ready and face everything that comes your way.

These 37 weeks are not easy, but they are still one of the most fulfilling stages for a woman. You can create life, trust me: you CAN go through this, mom!


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