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Severe antenatal depression

(13 Posts)
Lou280 Thu 23-Jul-15 19:38:30

I am 21 weeks pregnant and have been suffering tremendously since the moment I became pregnant (before I had even had a positive test). This is my third pregnancy and I had some anxiety and mild PND with both, but nothing that touched this. My world has been completely turned upside down these past few months. I have been in counseling, seen a psychiatrist, tried two SSRIs with little success (part of the problem is that taking anything makes my already severe anxiety go through the roof due to worries about the drug's effect on the fetus, causing special needs, etc.). Of course I also worry about the effects of my anxiety and depression and sometimes feel I have already ruined this baby. This was an unplanned pregnancy although I used to always think I wanted 3 kids. My current two are 7 and 3.5, and I am in a state of panic thinking of going back to the baby phase and balancing everything. I have been so low, no energy, basically ignoring my kids, near daily panic attacks . I am a SAHM and I have basically done nothing with the kids all summer. They are fed, cared for, etc., but I feel like an empty shell of a mom. DH has been incredibly supportive and wonderful, but he doesn't understand the sheer panic and doom I feel. Last week I was basically forced to go to the hospital by my counselor, as she felt some comments I was making were suicidal. I did not end up being committed, but the thought of having to stay as an inpatient terrified me. I considered termination at the beginning and several times since, and I often beat myself up for not going through with it. I worried that everyone would be horrified by me if I did (my husband and mom), even though I know we would have all recovered. Now I feel trapped, panicked, and miserable. I just want a way out of this, I want my life back and happiness with my lovely two kids. I have struggled with anxiety for years, but never anywhere close to this extent. I freaked out last night and even started searching for late term abortion providers, as I feel so desperate and trapped. Where I live this would actually be a possibility, and I can't stop thinking about it. I'm sorry, I know that sounds horrific but I have truly never experienced feelings half this bad and really don't know what to do. I am terrified that I will never love this child, will see it as a burden, and will always remember this worst time of my life when I look at the child. Is there any hope? I have no idea what to do next.

FeedYourselfSmiles Thu 23-Jul-15 20:10:13

I'm sorry I have no advice but just want to send you some love. I've been there and I'm better now, DS is 4 months old. I had the support of the perinatal mental health team, they didn't judge me or threaten me, could you ask to be referred? X

FeedYourselfSmiles Thu 23-Jul-15 20:11:48

And I will say I suffered dreadfully from anxiety too and worried I'd not love my DS. But I do, so much. But even if you don't feel that instant bond, please remember lots of women don't and its okay. Our babies are strangers to us when they're born, it can take time and it doesn't mean there's anything bad about you xxx

halfwayupthehill Thu 23-Jul-15 20:17:54

So sorry to hear this.

Fugghetaboutit Thu 23-Jul-15 20:25:59

I'm so sorry you're going through this sad
Have you told your children about the baby coming? Maybe them knowing and seeing them excited might help? It's such lovely age gaps between them, they will have such fun with the new baby.
I hope this feeling passes when the baby comes, I know there is more support for PND than AND.
Do you have family for support?

Lou280 Thu 23-Jul-15 23:24:23

Thank you for the kind words. Today has been very rough. I honestly hate myself sometimes for not terminating. Seriously considering still doing so even though I understand how grotesque it sounds. I just honestly cannot see how this is going to work out. I am obsessively worried that something will be wrong and it will tip me over the edge and I will never recover. My oldest has ADHD and it is very hard at times, and I worry a lot for him. Would a late termination kill me inside? Will staying pregnant be worse? I feel like things will never be right again.

NanaNina Thu 23-Jul-15 23:46:18

Your thread is entitled severe antenatal depression and depression in itself is an absolute torment but being pregnant and suffering severe depression is a very tough call. I think one of the problems is that depression is a deceitful illness and makes us think we will never get better (that's actually a symptom - didn't realise this till my CPN told me) and so all your thoughts and fears just now are symptoms of your depressive illness.

Are you on any meds - and are you having help from a midwife or similar (sorry I am long past childbearing age) but I thought these days there was specific help with antenatal depression. Sorry just re-read your post and see you have a counsellor.

Only you and your DH can make the decision about termination but bear in mind that this might not make the depression better, it could make things worse, arousing feelings of guilt etc. You're in a very tough place but I hope others will be along soon who have suffered in the same way and had good outcomes. It's not surprising you are feeling overwhelmed about thinking about a newborn when you are depressed - on my bad days I can barely cope with 2 cats. Be kind to yourself and get all the RL help you can lay your hands on.

NanaNina Thu 23-Jul-15 23:52:01

Sorry Lou meant to say that it is highly unlikely you would need to be an inpatient as demand for beds far outstrips supply, and so it is usually people who have a psychotic illness that need to be in hospital. Having said that I've had 2 inpatient stays (15 years in between each) and in for 3 months both times, with a diagnosis of depression. There is nothing to be afraid of honestly. The main problem is boredom, as the time goes so slowly and the nursing staff were not very interested in the patients! Oh and the food is crap!

Lou280 Fri 24-Jul-15 02:19:50

Thank you Nananina for your insight, in some ways I regret not going inpatient last week as I could have stayed if that's what I wanted, although at the time the thought was terrifying to me and all I wanted was to be home. I am lying here in bed and can feel the baby kicking/moving and I'm appalled at my thoughts of terminating yet I can't get it out of my head and feel like I'm chasing the clock and that I will end up being legally unable to and then might go completely mad. I have also, in desperation thought of adoption if I am unable to bond after birth, but that would be hideous as I have other kids, happily married, etc, no one would understand and I think it honestly would be more damaging to me than a termination no matter how late. I'm just so sad, anxious, and feel like I can't fix my life. This is all so messed up because I always wanted to be a mom, thought I might have 2+ kids, etc. but the reality has been hard for me and I felt so much relief to be beyond the baby stage. I feel like an animal caught in a trap, just desperate and feel like in so many ways this has been my own doing.

gemsparkle84 Fri 24-Jul-15 11:47:19

Hi Lou. You need to remember that you are not well. YOU ARE NOT WELL. These thoughts you are having are not your own. It's a complicated mix of deep dark thoughts somewhere and your depression/ illness. Why don't you look at taking every day as it comes. You may not be able to bond with baby/ cope but then again things might completely change. If they don't you can have baby adopted, OR receive further help and support when the time comes. That time is not now and you do not need to make that decision yet. I don't even know how I am managing to type this. I can not live in the moment, I have terrible anxiety, fear and dread that I have a terrible illness. But looking at it from outside in seems easy. I know it isn't easy for you. I don't know what else to say I just want you to know you're not alone. I hope you are feeling ok today. Xxxx

Peasandtrees Fri 24-Jul-15 12:24:51

Antenatal depression was the most terrifying, isolating experience of my life. I have never felt so alone, so trapped and so terrified of and disgusted by myself. Reading your post makes me want to cry as I could have written it.

The only thing that I clung on to was something my counsellor said-that maybe the answer is to just keep telling yourself this is how you feel now, and that's ok, but it's not 'real' and not how you will feel when the baby is here. I.e. Accept this is what it is now,accept that you can't do anything about it as it's beyond your control, but recognise it won't be this way forever. And then keep telling yourself this as you won't beleive it, but you have to try!

I realise how trite and simple that sounds now, but every time the dark thoughts crept in I would give myself a virtual slap, tell myself not to trust myself and force myself to change thoughts onto something else (easier said than done at night though!). It meant a truly horrible pregnancy where I felt so trapped and panicked and hated feeling the baby move, in total contrast to my other pregancies, as every time it did it brought the dark thoughts back.

But when the hormones left after the baby was born everything lifted and im so glad I didn't trust myself. You've not got long to go now, although I know it feels like forever. Just keep going, and please please trust me, as someone who has been there and could have written your post-I know the terror of it, the panic, the self-loathing and the feeling of betraying your family and your current children.

You will be ok and you will get through this and be so glad you didn't trust yourself. I don't post very often, but I remember at the time not being able to find any threads online that reflected how I felt, so felt compelled to post. I really hope you are ok and please, be nice to yourself.

NanaNina Fri 24-Jul-15 22:10:31

Aaaw what a lovely post peasandtrees - do hope it helps you Lou

Lou280 Sat 25-Jul-15 01:31:29

Thank you so much, everyone. I have not been able to express these thoughts to anyone other than DH for fear of judgement, and I appreciate your encouragement so much. Peasandtrees, your post made me cry because it's the first I have heard someone describe an experience similar to mine. You have given very good advice and support, and I wish I were in a better state to follow that advice. Thank you so much for your post.

I really tried today, took the kids out to the park, went on a walk, but I still feel extremely low and can't stop obsessing about terminating. I realized today that I think of my life in terms of "before and after" (becoming pregnant) and honestly it just kills me when I think of something from "before" because I want to be back there so badly, when things were normal and I had hope. It makes me cry right now thinking about it. I feel like some kind of monster thinking about terminating a nearly-viable pregnancy and yet if someone could knock me out and do it and somehow no one would ever find out, I swear I would take them up on it. I did find somewhere that would do it but how would my family be able to look at me and love me? I'm sorry if I offend anyone talking about this, I understand how upsetting it is to think about late termination. I am so tempted to call and schedule but I feel monstrous.

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