I had always heard people talk about postpartum depression, but I’d never heard much about prenatal depression. Like many mothers, I often worried about depression after giving birth that the thought of being depressed while being pregnant was never something I had ever imagined. I knew that whenever God would bless me with a child, I would be the happiest person alive. When it actually happened, that was not the case.

I found out that I was pregnant in November of 2017. It was not the best situation. The father of my child made it very clear that he did not want anything to do with the baby. A lot of my depression came from knowing that I would be going through this pregnancy alone. I did not have much of a connection with my baby while I was pregnant. When I’d go to get an ultrasound, instead of smiling whenever I saw my baby, I’d look at the screen with no emotion.

Why wasn’t I happy?

Many nights I’d sit in my room crying, thinking “Why?” Why was I feeling so sad when this is supposed to be such a happy time for me? I felt so alone, overwhelmed, and scared. My depression took a turn for the worse when I was at work one Friday morning. I sat at work crying my eyes out, and I didn’t really have a reason why.

My emotions were all over the place. I found myself lashing out at people and not wanting to be bothered. I took a turn for the worse and had a panic attack that day. Luckily, I worked in a hospital, so I decided to walk myself to the emergency department to get help. After I was discharged from the ED, I ended up making the decision to take medical leave from my job two months before my due date. I knew I wouldn’t last another moment at my job the way I was feeling. While on medical leave, all I did was sleep. I barely ate, and I never left the house.

Mom to the rescue!

I had never felt this type of depression before. My mom told me on several occasions that my depression was not good for the baby. I understood, I just couldn’t get out of the dark place that I was in. I was ready to have the baby and be done with my dark feelings.
Things got a little better when my mom came down from Maryland two weeks before my daughter was born. She motivated to get out of the bed and be active. We walked around my apartment complex almost every morning, and sometimes in the afternoon. It was good to not feel alone. She was with me pretty much 24/7. She got me out of the house, and we shopped and went to restaurants.

After my daughter was born, and after I got through the first few weeks as a new mother, I became happy again. After becoming a mother, all I could do was smile. I was so happy to have this little person in my life. She really opened my heart. Without her, I don’t know where I would be.

Helping other moms

Recently, I attended a new mom group. After hearing other women’s stories, I realized I am not alone. I met an expectant mother who seemed pretty depressed herself. She was mentioning how pregnancy was supposed to be a happy time, but she was not experiencing that happiness at all. I was able to help her and tell her my story. I let her know that there is a happy ending.

I’ve learned that while postpartum depression is important, prenatal depression is just as important. My depression could have affected my baby. Luckily, it didn’t. It was a hard time for me, but I know now that I should have spoken up, and had more of a support system.

I’m just happy to have a healthy little girl who keeps me smiling, and I am so proud to be her Mama.

Contributing Mommi Kiah