does this sound like prenatal depression?

maybe this will sound weird or ungrateful or something, but i think i have prenatal depression. the thrill of finally being pregnant wore off really quickly, & at first i thought it was being replaced by the panic of having to rustle up some funds to turn my house into a baby safe haven (auxiliary babies not welcome), but i think it’s actually a little more serious than that. i just don’t want to get up in the morning. not because i’m too tired to get up (i am experiencing pregnancy fatigue, but it’s not too bad yet). just because i don’t want to get up & face the day, deal with my responsibilities, or do anything. my official psychological diagnosis is dysthymia, which means that being mildly to moderately depressed is just kind of my natural state. i’ve had bouts of severe depression & i’m not quite there yet, but i feel like i’m getting there.

i’m only about five & a half weeks pregnant, which might still be too early for major symptoms, but so far, the pregnancy is going really smoothly. i haven’t really had any nausea or major food cravings/aversions. i’m tired & i feel mentally foggy all the time, but it’s not, like, debilitating. when i was pregnant four years ago, i didn’t even have the energy to get up off the couch & turn off the TV when “everybody loves raymond” came on. that’s how i wound up watching like every single episode of “everybody loves raymond” (because it was on four times a night in syndication). my fatigue is not that bad this time (yet?). i eat a lot better now & am taking my prenatal vitamins, which probably helps a little.

i don’t know…maybe the mental fog is contributing to my feeling sad. it’s just so hard to concentrate. it’s difficult to read, or write, or have a conversation. i lose track of what’s going on really easily, i forget things people told me, it’s hard to connect with people because so much of what they’re saying is like white noise to me. of course i would rather be sleeping or watching TV or something (depression symptoms, for me, anyway) because it takes so much work to engage my brain. i keep thinking, “i’m going to tackle this writing project or read these books or socialize with these people or take this class once this is over & things are back to normal,” & then i remember there is no “normal” anymore. i’m going to spend the next seven & a half months (fingers crossed) pregnant, & then i’m going to have a baby.

i hope i can shake off this fog & start feeling excited again soon. i had a sonogram last week to make sure there’s only one blob in there & that it’s where it’s supposed to be & progressing properly so far. it went perfectly, but i was still too early for a heartbeat to be detected. so i’m having another sonogram next week, at around seven weeks, & hopefully we will be able to hear a heartbeat then. my sister told me to bring tissues because i will cry. it was definitely exciting to get confirmation that there was in fact a little blob of a person-to-be hanging out in there & that i wasn’t having a very convincing hysterical pregnancy or anything. hopefully it will be even more exciting to hear the heartbeat.

i swore i wouldn’t complain about pregnancy on my blog! does this count as complaining? i guess i was EXPECTING fatigue & nausea & backaches & food aversions & all that stuff. i wasn’t expecting to feel so shitty emotionally. maybe i’m naive, but i honestly thought the high of getting pregnant would carry me through the whole nine months & that i’d be so excited about meeting my baby & testing my abilities as a mom that i wouldn’t have time to feel depressed. i guess that is pretty naive. nine months is a long time. i think it would be difficult for anyone to sustain a cheerful disposition for nine months, but especially when they are putting in the physical labor of growing a person.

this is probably yet another instance of me looking around at how other people are portraying themselves & assuming that they are all happier, more competent, more relaxed, better off financially, healthier, & generally just better people than i am. like all new moms-to-be, i am reading pretty much every baby/pregnancy book i can get my hands on, & they present this world where all new moms-to-be live these really satisfying lives of shopping for organic veggies at the farmer’s market & decanting their bulk grains into air-tight glass canisters that always look elegant & never get all smudged with fingerprints. their shirts always cover their pregnant bellies & they don’t struggle at all to find the energy to sign up for pre-natal yoga classes that will empower them to have beautiful natural childbirths while listening to some cool indie singer-songwriter i probably have never even heard of. they have a wealth of friends & family that will help them outfit their perfectly baby-proofed homes with organic cotton onesies & natural baby mattresses stuffed with wool & silk, & after enjoying the satisfying maternal experience of whipping up a healthy dinner full of eggplant & organic polenta, they will spend half an hour each evening detailing their thoughts & feelings in an elegant pregnancy journal with a satin cover & acid-free paper. meanwhile, i am falling asleep with the crumbs from my burger king whopper staining the t-shirt that is already too small to cover my belly (less because i am showing than because i’m both pregnant & kind of fat), & waking up in the midst of an anxiety attack over the fact that i will only be five weeks & four days pregnant ONCE (at least for the first time…& i guess this is technically my second time) & i should be capturing my thoughts & feelings & documenting the joy & wonder but all i really want to do is watch bad TV & somehow convince jared to take over all bed-making/dinner-cooking duties for the next year or two.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

One thought on “does this sound like prenatal depression?

  1. Isn’t being totally overwhelmed and foggy and stresed how most people react to being told that they are 7 1/2 months away from a life-altering change that requires a lot of work and money? This is pretty hardcore stuff to have to deal with even without pregnancy hormones. All the joy and wonder in the world can’t prevent you from feeling kind of paralyzed at least some of the time.

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