Originally Posted by Proxi
My husband and I are considering starting to TTC in the next year or so. However, I have a looonnnnngggg history of depression and anxiety that has never really been solved. Presently, it is manageable without drugs as long as I exercise and eat fairly healthy.
I really fear (as does the rest of my family) that having a child will cause me to sink into another deep depression, or start having regular panic attacks again. We have already decided that we will have a water birth and breastfeed in order to help with any attachment issues, but even assuming all that happens (which it may not, I know even the best laid plans can change complete), I will still have those drastic hormone changes to deal with.
How many people hear had a history of depression before giving birth? Is there any suggestions you would take for managing it after you give birth? I know were considering waiting a little longer so we could afford a post-partum doula... someone to help with the housework and cooking the first few weeks after I give birth, so my husband can just be there for me rather than taking care of all the house stuff. Would something like that help with managing the baby blues so they don't evolve into anything else, or is it just like rolling the dice, you may get it or you may not?
Any suggestions/stories/anything would be helpful as we work on this decision. Thanks :-)
Well, you sound similar to me, several years ago. I have a history of depression and anxiety going back to a year before menarche started (the very first period of my womanhood). Since 1999 I've been on the same med (for the most part) and fairly stable on it. I never wanted children...I knew I was a high-risk for PPD and I do badly with hormonal shifts....I had horrible PMS/PMDD as a teen and even on meds stress would bring out depression/anxiety outbreaks and around hormones shifting time it wasn't great. The I accidentally got pregnant.....carelessness on our part.
I tried to wean off my meds but couldn't do it, the withdrawls mixed with hormones sent me....off. It's the only way I can describe it. I went back up to my old dose of meds and my 3rd trimester was the most peaceful. And oddly I had no problems post-partum with my son at all....some mild anxiety, but nothing horrible. (You state you don't take meds I realize but bear with me here lol)
Now #2 was fairly planned. I again went down on my meds by a small dose and tolerated it throughout gestation (looking back I should have just LEFT IT ALONE!). I took my placenta (in capsules) for the first 3 months and thought I was out in the clear. No...fraid not. Once those capsules were gone, it hit. Long story short I had to go back to, again, my old dose of meds.
So that's my background. NOW, getting that out of the way, I realize more now why I had PPD with my daughter vs. my son, the first born. Meds were a part of it in my case, I got back on my old dose that worked for me and I think that made a big difference. Another big difference is that I got to stay at home with him for a year before returning to work. I got to bond with him, sleep a lot, take care of him. It didn't matter if I was up all night, I could make up for it the next day generally. I also had him to focus on solely, not divde my attention like now.
With #2.....I had no choice but to go back to work at 6 weeks. I still cry when I thik about that. I couldn't work out even a 12 week maternity leave because I hadn't been at my company for a year. THAT was the big trigger for me. I also wasn't back on my old dose of meds yet. I also wasn't taking care of myself.....exercising, sleeping enough...my days were spent working and coming home to two agitated children (they love their sitter but at the end of a long hard day of playing, they were ready to crash). I also had less help post-partum....and I was stubborn and wanted to do stuff instead of taking care of myself.
Ok....after all that...my biggest piece of advice (which may not work for everyone) is to take as much time off of work as you can. Like I said I KNOW deep in my heart that's what triggered my first episode with dd. If you return to work, know that you will have to work differently then a mom who can be a long-term SAHM. You will have to figure out pumping schedules, nursing plans after and before work, sleep patterns for both of you (I'm not advocating sleep schedules for a baby but more a routine). You will be up much of the night with nursing, so co-sleeping can really really help you get as much sleep. take naps with your lo as much as possible on off days. Get as much help as you can for as long as you can...a spouse, a friend, a post-partum doula.
Exercise and keep up your healthy diet and supplements. Lots of omega
3-6-9's, the amount can vary bout I usually take about 6,000 mg a day. Lots of B-Complex, a good prenatal vitamin.
I'm not saying you will need meds but the reality is that many women need a temporary help of a medicine during the pregnancy or post-partum period. Sometimes it's going to be permanent (most likely me) but many women can wean off after a time. Just please don't let yourself suffer needlessly or beat yourself up if your prior routine isn't working...pregnancy and postpartum are a whole different ball of wax I've found out.
I hope I haven't frightened you in any way. I really hope I haven't...I just wanted to share my experience with no PPD with one but PPD with another. I've learned from my mistakes, and should I be blessed with a third, I'm NOT going down lower on my meds and taking a LONG time off again.