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I wish I knew about prenatal depression.

August 11, 2018

I used to be an elementary school teacher and ed-tech consultant; now I'm a mom of twins and aspiring children's book author.

This blog is a place for me to write about personal life experiences, gleanings from books I've recently read, past and current DIY projects, and reflective thoughts that need a home outside my heart. Here at HeartEyes, I am opening my heart and eyes to yet another new chapter of my life, and my hope is that by joining me here, your heart and eyes would be opened to a more thoughtful and intentional life.

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I recall those were the words that kept coming out of my mouth when my ultrasound tech lady turned to me and said I was having twins, while pointing to 2 black blobs on the monitor. It had only been SIX DAYS after I had found out I was pregnant.

Then came the following emotions in no particular order but probably in the span of 10 seconds:

–  Disbelief: Oh. My. God. What? How? Why? Huh? Are you sure? Please check again!

Anxiety: I am so screwed. How in the world am I going to do this?!

Dread: I do NOT want to have 2 children AT THE SAME TIME. I barely even want ONE!

Anger: What did I do to deserve this torture? My life is so over.

Guilt: I’m going to be the worst mom ever because I don’t even want my own children.

Dread: I’m so dead.

Disbelief: But how? Twins don’t run in either side of the family!

– Dread: No. Just. No.

– Guilt: I should feel happy, thankful, and blessed! Nope. Definitely don’t feel ANY of that.

– Anxiety: There’s no way. I can’t do this.

And that pretty much sums up my entire pregnancy. Along with all-day sickness, fainting spells, and pulling my groin FROM ROLLING OVER IN BED a week before the twins were born, these underlying emotions were always looming over me.

During my first therapy session, my therapist asked about how I felt throughout my pregnancy, and I told her the overriding feeling that I remember was dread. She then asked how I felt when I found out I was pregnant, and it took me a really long time to answer because I could not remember. After a good long pause, I told her I think I remember being generally happy and excited, but I honestly could not remember those positive feelings very well.

What my therapist said next was so incredibly eye-opening because I didn’t even know it was possible, but it totally made sense.

   “It’s very likely that you have had some form of depression from the moment you found out you were having twins.”

BOOM. My mind was blown. She hit the nail on the head and that statement made everything I had been feeling in the past 2 years make sense. She explained that because only 6 days had passed since I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t even have time to process the pregnancy before I became utterly overwhelmed with the thought of having twins.

This overwhelming feeling was also riding on top of some major life-changes that had happened just several weeks prior:

  1. Quitting my full-time job of 5 years which I had LOVED
  2. Moving out of state for the first time
  3. Being far apart from family and childhood friends for the first time
  4. Transitioning from our beloved small-group and church to a new one with people we hardly knew
  5. Husband transitioning from work/serving-life to grad school-life
  6. Staying at home full-time, figuring out what to do with my life
  7. Getting pregnant

So I did a bit of research and turns out PRENATAL DEPRESSION IS A THING. Why am I just learning about this 2 years later?! Why is this not more well-known? Did you know that the likelihood of having postpartum depression increases significantly if you have prenatal depression? Well DUH that makes sense but that would have been nice to know 2 years ago!

So here I am, 2 years later, with 1yr4m-old twins, still feeling pretty much the same as 2 years ago; the only difference now is I finally know what’s been going on and can finally do something about it.

Note: If you or someone you know is having negative feelings during pregnancy, talk about it! Don’t write it off as “pregnancy hormones.” It won’t hurt to talk to a professional who can help you understand why you might be feeling the way that you do. It could even save you from suffering through postpartum depression months or even years down the line.

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  1. Yifan says:

    I didn’t know pre-natal depression was a thing either! Wow, that brings such insight. I’ve definitely thought before, “Maybe if when the baby comes/when the mom sees the baby, all those feelings would go away.” Perhaps it would be good for OBs to be attuned to that during prenatal appointments or to have screens for those. *taking notes*

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