The challenge of motherhood can be daunting. Just thinking about the responsibility of bearing a child and what it means once you give birth is outright stressful. Motherhood is a lifetime commitment. The entire pregnancy process is nine months long, where you have to deal with your body changing to accommodate the life growing inside you.
Of course, coupled with stress, once the pressure and anxiety of the unknown come crashing down on you, you’ll feel sad and fatigued. That’s perfectly normal. Once your body has begun changing significantly, it will naturally affect the state of your mental health as well.
“Motherhood is challenging but humans are certainly capable of bouncing back from difficulty and renewing themselves. So what could make a woman vulnerable to mental illness as a mother? Well there could be many answers to that. Genetics, social environment, really bad luck, other stressors at the time of motherhood. It is often the perfect storm of some of these characteristics affecting a woman’s ability to be a mother,” says Erika Krull, MS, LMHP.
If you’re feeling sad, lonely, nervous or worried, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. It’s essential that concerns such as this one are given notice right away, and not ignored. For you and your baby’s health, you should take care of yourself as much as you can. Sleep on time, eat healthy foods on time, exercise and regularly take your vitamins. If you feel like you need help, especially with regards to your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out. As you go through your pregnancy, you’ll quickly realize that you’ll need a support system to get you through this experience. Don’t keep your problems to yourself. When it gets too much, reach out.
About 15% of women will develop depression or anxiety during pregnancy. These are among the most common mental health problems during pregnancy. Some illnesses that women are prone to during pregnancy are depression, anxiety, and in some cases, bipolar disorder. One out of ten women experiences antenatal depression, which is not uncommon. Antenatal anxiety is also a common illness and may be experienced together with depression at the same time. Antenatal depression, if left untreated, can be a precursor to postpartum depression.
Pregnancy And Depression
“Depression is a disorder that develops from environmental and biological issues that are unique to each person. Only one out of four individuals [with depression] seeks treatment. The reason more don’t go for psychotherapy or medication is stigma,” says Deborah Serani PsyD.
Depression is a mood disorder that affects 1 in every four women during the span of their entire life. Pregnant women are not an exception. However, diagnosis of depression can be during pregnancy due to a tendency of it being just another type of hormonal imbalance. Depression during pregnancy is called antepartum depression. It is a biological illness that involves changes in the chemical makeup of the brain. During pregnancy, hormone changes can affect the chemicals in your mind which are directly related to depression and anxiety.
Anxiety In Pregnancy
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry, and fear that can either be mild or severe. Some people with anxiety are also at risk of having panic attacks. Pregnant women may feel an overwhelming amount of worry, fear, anxiousness, and panic despite being okay physically. You have to remember that anxiety is a mental health condition and though you appear okay on the outside, doesn’t always mean you’re okay on the inside too. Anxiety in pregnancy is usual, with a ratio of 1 in every ten women having it.
Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Pregnancy and childbirth are major life events, so it’s understandable if you’re in utter fear of what the future may bring. Both can baffle you and affect your mental health significantly even without you noticing, so it’s essential that you talk to someone about your feelings and emotions.
Treating mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are treated the same way with pregnant women as with non-pregnant women. Once you’ve reached out and there has been a diagnosis of your mental health, steps will be taken to ensure you’re getting the help you need and deserve. Treatment includes weekly counseling and therapy sessions, and doctors might prescribe some safe medicine that can help ebb the hormonal imbalances in your brain. Safe exercises might also be suggested, like yoga and meditation. Your doctor might recommend any treatment that brings forth peace of mind and your overall wellbeing.
Talk to your doctor or your gynecologist. With pregnancy bears a lot of pressure and expectations that might get the better of you. It’s important to discuss these emotions and feelings with someone else, someone you trust, so they can guide you and possibly lessen the burden you are already carrying as a would-be mother. Motherhood is a fulfilling but entirely stressful experience, which is why you deserve to get as much help as you can as you journey down the road of procreation.
“It takes leaving those brains and smarts at the door and opening your heart and soul to the unknown. It’s in these moments where real connection lies, where children listen to what you’re saying—and learn from the mistakes and life lessons we teach them,” according to therapist Esther Goldstein, LCSW.