Hiding in my room, safe within my womb,
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
It seems something even more rare than Postpartum Depression is slowly slowly coming into the light, and that is Antepartum Depression or depression during pregnancy. Yet another misconcpetion is that all woman are or should be joyful when pregnant - this is not always the case, nor should it be. More accurately I would say pregnancy is a very difficult experience with joyful moments rather than it being 40 weeks of joy.
It is probably safe to say that a great amount of pregnant woman are excited about the baby they are going to have but that does not mean that they are excited about what is happening to their physical and mental states while growing their baby. We need to differentiate between the aches and pains of pregnancy that make us irratable and the little hiccups going on in our bellies that make us giggle. I know personally, having been pregnant three times, that I was certainly excited about the coming baby, experienced many moments of joy and peace but overall did not love being pregnant. From the nausea to the discomforts and extra weight of the tummy and dealing with some mood disorder issues of my own, it was a lot. On all three occasions I can honestly say that I went through it all in happy anticipation of having a child, but would not have done it for any other reason, no way!
Often when a pregnant woman goes for her checkups, her doctor is more conerned with the physical wellbeing of the baby and Mom and overlooks the Moms mental wellbeing unless the she says something. A lot of the time a Woman may not know the difference between the many emotional ups and downs of pregnancy and antepartum depression unless it is quite severe. And when it is quite severe the expecting woman may not necessarily know that what is wrong with her is antepartum depression, she may attribute it to something else. In the rare instaces that the Mom knows what is wrong and or suspects APD - will she come forward?
The statistic for how many Moms suffer from Depression during pregnancy seems to be about 10% and I suspect like with postpartum depression that the statistic in reality is probably higher than that as many Moms are either never diagnosed or do not come forward. If I was having this discussion with my Grandmother she would probably say something along the lines that depression and sadness is just part of pregnancy and something woman must sometimes deal with in order to have children, so just suck it up. Has anyone else been given this kind of advice by a Grandmother, Mother or Aunt? In Canada I think a great many of us have. And the thing is it probably is not healthy for us to go completely in the other direction and obsess and worry all the time about things that ale us in pregnancy and postpartum. HOWEVER, ignoring these problems and just sucking it up is the wrong answer. We need to learn more about things like PPD and APD, we need to inform others and create awareness. WHY? It is simple, the more the general populace knows about these ailments (and so many others) the less everyone will suffer through them alone or without help. AND as soon as Moms are getting help, they are doing better. We may not be able to zap these problems away but they are much less of an issue if a Mom with PPD or APD has a support system or a friend at least who undertands. It is easier to cope with mood disorders when we know we have understand and options.
All of this being said I have posted a link below to a story written by a Mom who is currently dealing with APD.