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Thanks to the much needed growing awareness of mental health struggles, many of us are familiar with postpartum depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles mothers face after having their baby. However, some of us may not be aware of perinatal mental health struggles.
The perinatal period covers the time of birth through up to one year after birth.
My Perinatal Mental Health Struggles
I’m a mom of three and have experienced the postpartum mental health struggles with my first two, but didn’t realize depression can play a part during pregnancy until I very unexpectedly got pregnant with my third.
I struggled with infertility with my first two children. I know the pain of desperately wanting to be a mother and it just not happening even when doing everything “right.” I know the ache of seeing negative after negative pregnancy tests for years even with fertility treatments.
>> RECOMMENDED RESOURCE :: Guide to Pregnancy & Birth :: Birthing Locations, Doulas, Midwives, OB/Gyn Doctors, and Other Resources <<
After having a traumatic birth and postpartum experience with my second, I was happy with the size of our family and ready to move forward. My husband and I were happy to not be trying anymore. We were ready to move on from the baby phase. My husband and I felt at peace with this and gave away all of our baby things once we were done.
Needless to say, I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant with my third. I actually went to the doctor to get blood work to figure out why I wasn’t losing weight. It wasn’t even on my radar that pregnancy was a possibility.
Upon finding out I was pregnant, I went through a lot of feelings accompanied with my shock. Frustration. Confusion. Questioning how in the world I was going to be a mother to three kids. Mourning the loss of the life I had planned and was really looking forward to (no more nap times! More time for me!).
On top of all of this, I felt immense guilt and shame for these feelings. I felt awful for feeling anything other than elated for this third baby. Intrusive thoughts began to creep in too. How terrible of a mother am I for not being excited for this baby?
I tried to cover my feelings up with pretend excitement . . . and, well . . . that only got me so far. I ended up talking (more like sobbing) with my OB/GYN and word vomiting all my feelings out. She helped me find the help I desperately needed.
>> RELATED READ :: Momfession Monday: Coping with My Completely Accidental, Contentiously Conceived Pregnancy <<
Get Perinatal Mental Health Help
I’ve since learned depression is more common than I thought in women who experience unexpected pregnancies.
If you’re experiencing these feelings,
- Tell a trusted loved one you are struggling.
- Talk to your OB/GYN.
- Find a counselor to work through these feelings with.
- Know that you are not alone in this. There are others struggling with these feelings too.
If you aren’t sure where to start, check out pregnancylifeline.net for resources.
Below are some counseling practices in Fort Worth that specialize in maternal mental health:
- The Counseling Collective Fort Worth :: [email protected] | (817) 402-0217
- Fort Worth Women’s Counseling :: [email protected]
- Hillside Counseling Burleson :: [email protected] | (817) 862-7906
- Lifeologie Counseling Fort Worth :: [email protected] | (817) 870-1087
- Little Love Counseling Hurst :: [email protected] | (817) 715-9152
Remember this: There is no shame in feeling emotions other than happiness during your pregnancy. All feelings are valid and okay. Reach out for emotional help, because you and baby both deserve it.