NOW THAT YOU’RE EXPECTING, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?
Congratulations on your pregnancy. For most women this is a time of great happiness, and the excited anticipation of the arrival of the baby usually involves things like choosing an obstetrician or Gynaecologist, attending ante-natal classes, reading books, gathering information from other mothers, organising the layette and the nursery.
But this is not the end of the story. Being well informed about the hormonal, physical, emotional and psychological impact of your new baby is also very important. The information must also include the facts about Ante-and Postnatal Depression.
Pregnancy is a time of growth and hope, but it is also a time when a woman is very vulnerable. You are likely to experience a confusion of emotions. For many women, the first and third trimesters are difficult.. Not everyone experiences the glow of the perfect pregnancy. Some women have mixed feelings, and uncontrollable mood swings. Not all pregnancies are easy, and it is important to know that one in ten women is depressed during pregnancy. It may be the first time in your adult life when you feel so incredibly fragile and dependent. If this is a long-awaited planned-for pregnancy, there may be intense joy, coupled with ambivalence.
Whether or not your pregnancy is the natural outcome of a loving partnership, or of a long, expensive fertility treatment, or it is unplanned and ill timed, the issues remain the same. You cannot know what to expect when you are “expecting” – not really, even if this is not your first baby. The birth of each baby is a unique experience, at a unique time of your life.
- Are you prepared for a complete change in lifestyle?
- Are you ready to give up your independence, your love of freedom and spontaneity?
- Are you prepared for the roller-coaster ride of physical and emotional changes?
- Are you prepared for the changes in your primary interpersonal relationships?
- Do you know how to ask for help when you need it?
You may feel…
- trapped, and
- overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety and sadness.
- You will probably find it difficult to talk about your negative feelings with anyone, least of all your family. Do call us. We can help you.
Some of the risk factors that make women susceptible to distress during pregnancy are:
- Conflicted pregnancies, e.g. unplanned, ill-timed;
- “Emotionally charged” pregnancies, e.g. post-infertility pregnancies; Complicated pregnancies
- Major stressful life events, e.g. bereavement, miscarriage, relocation, redundancy;
- Negative socio-economic factors and stresses;
- Lack of emotional support, especially from family and partner;
- Previous depressive illness or psychiatric disorders.
Important issues often need to be dealt with at this time, some related to the past, and some to the future. Doing so, will help to make your home safe and secure for your baby. You will prepare your baby’s physical place in the world – his room, his clothes, her name. Part of the preparation is for you – seeing to your emotional well being, so that you can be your child’s best possible mother. You are your baby’s most important person, so take care of yourself. This is your greatest gift to your unborn child.
Depression in pregnancy (Antenatal Depression) is treatable, and timeous treatment is your best insurance against the long lasting, damaging effects of Postnatal Depression.