Postpartum Mom

My struggle with Antenatal Depression and Anxiety 

When we first decided that we were going to try for a baby I made sure to study everything I could about how to get pregnant (it’s not as easy as you think) and ways to increase chances. I downloaded apps, read blogs, followed Instagram accounts for fertility. I read up on everything. Four cycles later I was pregnant. Yay! We were blessed with not having to struggle with infertility. It was amazing. 

Before I got pregnant I had lost 60 pounds. I had been on a weight loss journey for about 3 years at that point and it was a struggle. Becoming pregnant brought up new worries. WEIGHT GAIN. It was always on my mind before I got pregnant and when I became pregnant it was a continuous anxiety attack of, “how am I going to lose this weight, I can’t gain a lot because I’m already over weight.” My first doctors appointment after I found out I was pregnant was both exciting and scary. The doctor made sure to point out that I was already well over weight (despite my weight loss) and that they wanted me to gain a MAX of 11 pounds. Ok, before I continue let me just address that- 11 pounds? Honey, no. Just because I’m over weight doesn’t not mean I’m different than any other woman and the expectations should be the same with caution for some extreme cases. A health history with current eating habits and exercise habits should be taken into consideration when addressing someone’s pregnancy weight gain. ANYWAY, Although it made me nervous, I thought that I could for sure keep my weight down, maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. Fast forward about 8 weeks. Since my last appointment I had gotten morning sickness that lasted all day. I wasn’t eating much but I was “ok”. It was hard. The scale showed hat I had lost 8 pounds due to this and the doctors didn’t mind because I was still over weight. Fast forward to my 20 week appointment and the scale then showed I had gained 9 pounds from my starting weight. 😞 I knew what was coming. I knew they were going to be upset with me and that it wasn’t going to be good. Anxiety and sadness filled me. As soon as the doctor came in she went straight into my weight gain and that I had gained the amount of weight that they wanted me to gain for my whole pregnancy. She offered eating advice and activity. She didn’t bother asking me what I was eating, if I was working out or what my previous struggles were. I immediately became depressed. Right after I left her office I went for a 2.5 mile walk. I had to lose weight. I started weighing myself daily. I dropped 4 pounds that week. 

On top of the anxiety and depression I was angry. I was angry that the doctor didn’t bother looking at the fact that I am a healthy person despite my size. That I struggle with thyroid hormones that like to fluctuate daily, that I had been living a health life style and that I wasn’t sitting at home eating donuts. I WAS active and I WAS eating well. I wrote her a long email explaining my disgust and anger towards her as well as the expected weight gain allotted to each “normal” sized woman but that larger women, somehow, were not expected to gain the same weight. Hello, your boobs get huge and your blood volume alone almost cover the 11 pounds they wanted me to stay under. It was well written letter. I told her she needed to ask questions before assuming things about people, that not every larger person was sitting at home eating cookies and that she needed to consider me as person with feelings. She apologized and I changed doctors after that. 

In the weeks and months to follow my weight was all I thought of. I was super uncomfortable, like every mom to be, but I was still healthy, my numbers were good and heart rate was fine. I fell into a drepression after that appointment. One I couldn’t seem to get out of. I tried. I was jealous of the women who were pregnant and happy; who were pregnant and loving every second and didn’t have morning sickness all day. I wanted to be like that. I tried. Thoughts ran through my head including suicidal thoughts (I told you I was going to be honest). I hated every second of being pregnant after that appointment. I allowed her words and judgement to destroy me and take my joy. It breaks my heart, still. Next time I’m going to be up front and honest at my first appointment. If the doctor is not weight friendly then I’m finding someone else. I’m not a lazy fatty that sits around. I’m fitness and health competent and I know how my body works. 

Me at the gym. Hubby in the background

Weight gain is my biggest anxiety. I can’t stop the obsessive thoughts that course through my mind and once it’s made a thing by someone else, it tears me down. I’ve been a chubby, larger, fat person since as long as I can remember and it’s not from a lack of effort or trying. 
On the day I went into labor I was up 50 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. However, I was still 5 pounds less than my starting weight from when I started losing weight. I was retaining A LOT of fluid. Everything was swollen; even my face. My feet were balloons. See picture: 

Swollen feet at 32 weeks

Thinking back I wish I hadn’t allowed her words and misjudgment to weigh so heavy on my EVERYTHING. It took away so much that I can never get back. You are more than just a number. You’re a person and doctors need to start treating people as human beings. Ask questions, understand your patients needs, desires and struggles. I’m never going to allow a doctor to treat me that way again. Ever. 

NEXT BLOG: post-pregnancy hospital stay 

If you or someone you know is suffering from PPD, PPA OR ANTENATAL Depression and anxiety, there is help: http://www.postpartum.net/

If you’d like to learn more about Antenatal Depression: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/antenatal-depression-and-antenatal-anxiety-jens-story
Stay tuned. 

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