Pregnant Women’s Struggle With Depression

Depression during pregnancy can take many forms. Usually, it represents specific changes in behaviors of pregnant women, such as increased sadness and isolation. In some cases, pregnant women are prone to crying for no apparent reason daily. Some pregnant women also struggle to get enough energy and feel like they wanted to lie down in bed the whole day. Some experienced loss of appetite and others just thought of eating everything in sight.

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Pregnant And Depressed

Depression during pregnancy is not about feeling the pregnancy because there are instances that the feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness is obvious. Some women regret getting pregnant in some unfortunate scenarios, and they feel like they do not want to be a mother anymore. Most of the time, other people solely believe it to be part of the whole pregnancy process without considering the situation to be a cause of something more psychologically serious.

Depression During Pregnancy

A lot of times, pregnant women struggle with depression for some specific reasons. One of them is body image insecurities, where they think about the massive changes in their body they will have to deal with once they give birth. While some women are fortunate to retain their figure in a short amount of time, most women know it would be a long and tiring process. Sometimes, it becomes impossible too. With that, they negatively picture themselves with imperfections. It affects their mental state and creates a sense of regret during pregnancy.

Another reason most pregnant women have depression during pregnancy is a lack of understanding of one’s true feelings. Usually, pregnant women receive lots of compliments about getting a baby bump. And at times, these women tell everyone that they are happy because that’s what people want to hear. Because if they tell them or even show a slight discomfort, people automatically jump to conclusions and judgment. When pregnant women try to be honest about their mental, physical, and emotional pain, others would think that they are selfish for not considering the life growing in their bodies.

Emotional Support

Emotional support is also an issue with most pregnant women. As they struggle with mixed emotions, people around them often misinterpret their actions. Some individuals would think that pregnant women are just overreacting to things, giving the soon-to-be mothers a hard time trusting people. Lack of emotional support for pregnant women is the number one source of developing anxiety and depression. When pregnant women often feel they are alone and people around them do not pay more attention to their needs, they become moody and frustrated.

The causes of depression during pregnancy also had a lot to do with the changes women have to deal with instantly. Pregnancy means that women’s roles have to change, and there are things that they will soon sacrifice for the sake of their baby’s overall health. The changes they might encounter can also confuse the types of relationships they need to deal with and what other relationships they had to let go of to protect themselves and their baby’s overall development.

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The Conflict Of Dos And Dont’s

Anxiety and depression can be easily handled at times as the conditions are manageable through therapy and medications. But when it goes along with pregnancy, it can be complicated. Usually, there’s a limited chance that pregnant women with mental health issues can take medications. Some drugs are not just safe for the baby. Some medications are potentially linked to cognitive and behavioral problems, birth effects, low IQ, learning disabilities, and a lot more.

But in some cases, there are some medications that medical health care providers can prescribe to pregnant women. These can include Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Luvox, Zoloft, and Prozac. Some of these drugs are proven to be effective in managing depressive symptoms. But it is essential to note that pregnant women should not take these medications without the proper consultation with an expert or their doctors. They have to ensure the right dosage for the safety of their baby inside their womb.

Coping Methods

Yes, there are other coping methods that pregnant women can practice to handle their anxiety and depression. There’s yoga, aromatherapy, Reiki, etc. Note that most of these might not entirely work, especially when pregnant women are already dealing with depression during pregnancy. It would be best to seek advice to know the specific lifestyle changes pregnant women should follow to handle their mental illness better.

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Takeaway 

It can be hard to deal with depression during pregnancy because pregnant women do not potentially belong to any bracket or group. Most of the time, when searching for people or support groups out there, they can only find those with post-partum depression. The misconception starts there because these types of mental health problems are different. Anxiety and depression during pregnancy are way lot riskier compared to post-partum.

 

 

Tell-All Counseling Session With Depression Over A Miscarriage

The past few weeks were rough. I could barely recognize myself because I was getting inattentive to my self-care needs. I kept saying that life is so unfair, so why would I bother recovering from the emotional and mental pain I was dealing with. I would question myself why does it have to happen to me. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything extremely wrong to deserve this. But then again, I would never know the reason for all of this.

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The start of this unwanted emotion was when I got a miscarriage. Everything was fine back then, and I was so happy to get pregnant that I focus solely on taking care of myself and my baby. As much as I know, I visited my regular checkups, and I didn’t miss any of them. I also made sure to take whatever vitamins the doctor requires, and I also pay close attention to what I eat. Overall, I managed to do everything right according to what experts suggest.

But despite all the efforts I put up with taking care of my physical, mental, and emotional health, an unexpected event still took place. I remember just having a cramp, and then suddenly I was bleeding. At first, I didn’t think it would be that bad since I have heard that most pregnant women experienced that sort of thing. But when I realized that the bleeding is not stopping, I immediately called my husband for help. Right of the bat, we went to the hospital for an emergency.

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The Reason Behind The Miscarriage

On our way to the hospital, I thought thoroughly of the reason for this bad experience because I couldn’t think of anything as much as I wanted to put up negativity in it. I was pretty damn sure it was not stressed because I wasn’t dealing with any emotional and mental struggle. The people around me are supportive and caring, and I have never encountered a stressful situation over the last couple of months that I was pregnant. I was extremely mind-boggled as to why I might be having a miscarriage.

Fast forward to the result after the doctor’s examination; they told me that the reason for my miscarriage was abnormal chromosomes. Seriously, it wasn’t the thing I expected, but it somehow validated every inch of my doubts and fears. The doctors said that the baby inside my womb got damaged because the fetus stopped developing. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent chromosome problems from happening.

That led me into a roller coaster of emotions. I felt that I was cheated with. I thought that all my efforts and sacrifices were useless because the child inside my womb would give up on me at the end of the day. I was not too fond of the idea that my body or whatever is in it failed me. I felt extremely devastated at that moment, but I did not cry. I was brave enough to handle the situation, and I accepted that the baby was already gone.

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The Agonizing Emotional And Mental Suffering

Just like any other day, I continued to do my stuff. I prepared my mindset to get through whatever life may bring. But as days went by, I felt genuinely lonely, scared, and hopeless. My miscarriage was hunting me, and I couldn’t seem to focus on what was in front of me. I got dragged down with so much hate and pain that I never knew where the hell came from. I was hurting, but I couldn’t tell where it hurts. I was constantly finding myself crying over nothing, and I could not recognize my actions anymore. I began to lose control over myself, and I became so down and depressed.

It was seriously the worse feeling that I have felt over the past years of my existence. I’ve never felt anything like this where I almost ended up wanting to end it all. I constantly thought about self-harm to get rid of the pain. I am mentally and emotionally unable to process anything around me, and it scared the heck out of me.

The thing that merely added fuel to the fire is when other people told me to get over it. I wish I could. I genuinely wish it was that simple. I know that there are women out there who can go on and continue with their lives after a miscarriage. But for me, it seemed quite impossible. I am not overreacting. I felt stuck in a loop of mental and emotional torture, which others couldn’t understand.

My miscarriage was an unexpected thing that I never thought I would have to deal with for a long and exhausting period. I might not be okay right now, but I know what I am currently enduring was valid.

 

How Pregnancy Hormones Affect Your Mental Health

Besides your baby, you should also anticipate the other things that come with pregnancy, such as weight gain and mood swings. Your body will be undergoing many changes, physically and mentally. If you’re worried about going through these, don’t worry because there’s a reasonable explanation to these symptoms.

Pregnancy Hormones

Even on regular days, your body has lots of hormones because these chemicals help regulate bodily functions. However, during pregnancy, there are hormones excreted by your glands to help develop your baby.

In the first trimester, your body produces the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG) to help create the placenta. Too high hCG levels may mean that you have multiple pregnancies, while low hCG translates to placenta development problems. Researchers have also found a link between hCG and nausea in pregnant women.

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Human placental lactogen (hPL) is another pregnancy hormone. Its role is in metabolism regulation and insulin resistance. With these roles, hPL helps your placenta get as many nutrients as your baby needs. This hormone is also a simulator for breastfeeding and lactation.

In the first trimester, you will notice yourself become more moody and anxious. These symptoms are because of the spiking levels of estrogen and progesterone.

These female hormones are commonly present at high levels during menstruation. But once pregnant, these hormone levels will rise dramatically, until they reach their peak in the third trimester. But what else do these hormones do to your body and brain?

Effects Of Estrogen

Estrogen is one of the hormones found in every woman. This hormone regulates your menstrual cycle, controls your cholesterol levels, and protects your bones. Besides these, studies have found estrogen’s effect on premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and perimenopausal depression.

However, researchers are yet to determine the exact connection of estrogen with mental health disorders. As of now, studies have only found a link between estrogen and cortisol, a stress hormone regulating your fight-or-flight response.

Estrogen can also affect the production of your happy hormone, endorphin. Studies suggest a link between estrogen fluctuation and mood disorders, but not between estrogen itself and mood disorders.

So the connection between estrogen levels and your mental health persists after pregnancy. Post-birth, the ultra-high levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones drop to the normal levels, and your body may take this as a hormonal fluctuation.

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Because of this, your mental health may be affected as you experience mood swings and difficulty sleeping (insomnia). You can also have feelings of loneliness, anger, and anxiety. All of these are symptoms of what is called postpartum depression.

The loss of sleep can also increase cortisol levels, which may lead to further stress for mommies. Insomnia will also affect your mental health negatively as the stress can progress to anxiety or depression.

Effects Of Progesterone

Similarly, progesterone levels increase during pregnancy and drop significantly after giving birth. Progesterone is one of the sex hormones regulating your body’s menstrual cycle. After ovulation, your progesterone levels will increase to signal your body to thicken the uterus lining and lessen muscle contractions. These simple changes promote fertility.

During pregnancy, both the placenta and your body are secreting progesterone. This increase is needed because progesterone helps maintain your pregnancy.

Because of progesterone’s high levels during pregnancy, you may feel more anxious and irritable than usual. The connection between progesterone and PMS can explain this negative change in mental health. On the other hand, low levels of this hormone may result in pre-term birth or even miscarriage.

Since progesterone is vital to your baby’s growth and is responsible for maintaining pregnancy, progesterone levels should continuously increase. As a result, your mood changes can continue to worsen. If your mental health becomes severely affected by your pregnancy hormones, it’s time you consult your doctor.

Taking Care Of Your Mental Health During Pregnancy

While you are pregnant, there are many factors that can affect your mood, and the hormones are just some of them. Different women have different bodies, and will thus have different pregnancy experiences. Some can feel more moody and anxious during pregnancy, while others may barely have a change in their mental health.

Shifting to healthier food options will help in your baby’s development and soothe your mind. Always opt for healthy and balanced meals to take care of both your physical and mental health. Aside from having a healthy diet, it is necessary to exercise regularly. You can take on light to moderately-severe exercises to improve you and your baby’s wellness during pregnancy.

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You should also surround yourself with loving and supportive people. Having someone willing to understand what you’re going through will help you get through the pregnancy changes.

It is also essential to talk to your doctor. During pregnancy, your doctor will be monitoring your bodily changes, including your hormone levels. They’ll be guiding you throughout your pregnancy, so there’s no need to worry much. Just be sure to communicate with them effectively to help avoid any complications.

Seeking a therapist can also help you and your mental health, especially when your mood swings worsen. A therapist can give you ways to handle the stresses and other mental health inconveniences caused by your pregnancy hormones.

Pregnancy is indeed a challenging process. Your reproductive hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, will be increasing to support your pregnancy. As a result, there will be changes in both your physical and mental health you’ve never experienced before.

Just remember, every pregnancy is unique, so don’t compare your pregnancy to others. Instead of worrying about your changes, learn how to manage them by seeking support from your family and medical professionals.

 

Family Preparation For The Arrival Of The New Baby

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Having a baby is one of the most precious and breathtaking parts of your life. Whether the baby is your firstborn or baby number two, this excitement doesn’t change. At the same time, parents should also prepare for new challenges that will come to their lives as a family. You need to think of ways to get all the things done before your baby comes out. When the family is thoroughly prepared, you will have all the opportunity to enjoy your baby’s arrival to the fullest. 

Becoming a parent is a significant life milestone. Most importantly, you do not want to worry and stress yourself when the baby finally comes out. So how would you assure that your family will be ready for the arrival of a newborn baby?

Maintain Communication Within The Family

Keep in mind that maintaining a good relationship with your family reduces the risk of your stress while in pregnancy. Get them involved with the progress of your pregnancy. Whether you are new or old in parenthood, you must continuously learn to adapt to sudden changes.

Build Trust And Patience

As parents, you should maintain your connection with your partner because it helps in building trust and patience. Talking with your partner also helps you to understand each other to prevent any conflicts. However, although misunderstandings are inevitable, proper communication can aid in resolving disagreements quickly. 

Keep in mind, as well, that this is the reason why it is vital to keep good communication when a woman is pregnant. Remember that pregnancy is a phase wherein they experience various emotional ups and downs. So during these times, it might be inevitable to encounter obstacles for couples because of these changes. To avoid further tensions, try to be open about your feelings and communicate sincerely.

Discuss It With Older Siblings

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If you are expecting a second or younger baby, discussing your pregnancy with your older kids is a must. While kids love to meet new members of the family, older kids tend to be jealous and upset when the newborn baby finally arrives. It is typical for older children to react that way because people around him are too focused on the new baby and they tend to feel neglected.

Start by explaining with your kid the arrival of a newborn baby in the family. Try to discuss it the way that they will understand. You have to explain to them that the infant baby requires more attention. To keep your older children feeling left out, they can have specific roles in taking care of the baby. 

Create A Birth Plan

Develop a birth plan ahead of time to lessen the hassle you will encounter in giving birth. In this way, you can pay attention to the arrival of your newborn baby. Basically, it is an outline of your preferences during your labor. What are the things you must plan?

  • List the names of possible hospitals or birthing centers you plan to give birth in. You should also have the contact details of your doctor which you can dial when the water breaks.
  • Describe your ideal labor environment to look like. For instance, some women want to distract themselves by having music, television, or video around.
  • Specify the people you want to be beside you when you deliver your baby.
  • Choose what method you want to undergo when giving birth.
  • Prepare the necessities you need to bring before your labor and delivery.

Even if we plan ahead, there are still extraordinary events that might come along the way. But, being prepared keeps your thoughts and things organized. Share your birth plan to the people you can count on, such as your partner and your family, so they have an idea on what to do when you give birth.

Prepare The Space Of Your Newborn Baby

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As part of introducing your newborn baby to your older child or husband, dedicate a space for your baby ahead of time. This way, the baby has a specific space at home upon arriving.

The first thing you can do is clean the room you are allocating for your baby. Declutter and organize the furniture and accessories inside the room. You can paint the room, with a calmer and serene color, and choose dimmer lights. Afterwhich, you can now ready the crib, clothes, and other essential stuff for the baby.

Make Use Of Support System 

It is not easy to undergo pregnancy since there are changes that happen in your hormones. Hence, you should be open to your family and relatives. Update them with you and your baby’s status every check-up. If you are fortunate enough, maybe a relative or friend can give you a hand and assist you from giving birth to infant care.

In Summary

It is vital to get yourself and your family ready when you are pregnant. Particular challenges will arise as a new member of the family will come. But, you must plan to minimize the conflicts that these challenges might bring. It’s necessary to maintain a good relationship with your family to create your ideal birth plan.Finally, keeping your loved ones close allows you to gain support in this challenging but exciting phase of parenthood life.

Protecting Yourself Against Coronavirus During Pregnancy

January 20, 2020.

I could never forget this date since it’s when my OB-GYN confirmed that I was already two months pregnant with my first child. It came as a sweet surprise for my husband and me, considering we had only stopped using birth control not too long ago. We did it in hopes of having a baby soon, and so it made us happy to know that we won’t need to wait for long.

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The following month passed by for us without a hitch. I did not crave for much except for vanilla ice cream and French fries, so my husband did not have a tough time with me. My morning sickness also went away after the first week; that’s why I could fulfill my work-related obligations as efficiently as before.

The problem only came around March when it was broadcast that the US was poised to have the highest number of COVID-19 cases worldwide. We heard about several patients in other states, but we had no idea how much the virus had spread until that moment. So, my office naturally shut down temporarily to shield both the clients and employees from the pandemic.

I felt incredibly thankful when I received a memo about the latter, considering I was—still am—pregnant and at high risk of catching the coronavirus. However, I knew that staying at home would not be enough to protect myself and my unborn child against the virus. That pushed me to:

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Stop Accepting Any Guest At Home

Since I am a people-person, and many relatives live nearby, my husband and I always play host to some of them on the weekends. We typically have a BBQ party at night and chat and play games. It has been going on since we got engaged and started living together, so we were used to this setup.

However, once I learned that the coronavirus could be transmitted by talking to someone, I called our loved ones and informed them that we wouldn’t be accepted guests at this time. It was not because I suspected all of them to be virus carriers; it’s just that I had to get rid of every possibility of testing positive for COVID-19. Luckily, our loved ones understood us, so we would see each other again when the pandemic is over.

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Exercise Indoors

Since I do not have a delicate pregnancy, I have continued going to the gym. My instructors only had to modify the exercises so that they would become suitable for my growing belly. Unfortunately, when the gym closed due to the coronavirus, I stopped working out and claimed that it was okay for expectant mothers to do that.

As it turns out, though, exercising is more essential now than ever, especially for pregnant women like me. I need to get rid of internal toxins and strengthen my body so that I won’t catch any disease. Hence, I started doing yoga, Pilates, and other light exercises indoors, and I love its results.

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Shop For Everything Online

I was not on board with the idea of shopping for anything online. My mother taught me that I should not buy stuff that I have not touched or seen in person; that’s why I used to handpick meat, fruits, and vegetables.

But now that there is a global health crisis, and my pregnancy makes me prone to illnesses, I have embraced online shopping. I figured that it is better than having COVID-19, so that’s how I get our groceries. My husband merely gets the delivered items at our doorstep when they come, and then we are set for an entire week or so.

Final Thoughts

Protecting your pregnant self against coronavirus is not as challenging as it may seem. The key is to stay at home at all costs to avoid coming near anyone who may have the virus.

Stay safe, mommies!

Tips For An Effective Homeschooling Setup

The 2019 Home Schooling Conference came up with some tips for parents who are planning to have this kind of learning setup. Now, this concept is becoming more and more relevant due to the emergence of the coronavirus. With schools closed around the world, several families are now shifting to homeschooling.

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However, some are still a little bit lost on how to go about this. With this in mind, here are some tips for an effective homeschooling setup.

Implement A Daily Schedule

Children are used to a set schedule in school. They have specific time slots for their subjects, playtime, and eating time. This is even more flexible at home since you can include some TV breaks, playing with pets, and other activities in the schedule. Just make sure that everything is value-adding physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Pattern With Curriculum

Some parents do not know where to start with their education plans. What you can do is to pattern your topics with their school curriculum. This is to ensure that what your children learn is still on par with what’s expected of them.

Setup An Effective Learning Environment

Even if you’re doing everything at home, you must keep the environment as ‘school-ey’ as possible. This way, they’ll feel more focused and dedicated and will most likely perform better. You can establish this classroom setting by putting aside a designated space just for schoolwork. Once they’re in that area, their minds will shift to a more serious approach.

Use Online Resources

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Understand that you cannot draft every lesson plan on your own. The best way to address this is to use online resources. Some various sites and platforms offer free educational content. These sites teach not only subjects but some life skills as well.

Connect With Other Parents

Some of your co-parents at school are also likely implementing the homeschooling approach. As a parent, you should maximize this by connecting with them as well. For one, you can ask for good case practices and implement them as one of your teaching strategies. You may also set up group learning activities so that your kid can practice his or her social skills.

How Coronavirus Affects Birthing Plans

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I cannot express how excited I am for my wife to give birth. It is not our first time to welcome a baby in our family; in truth, it is already the third time. However, each child is always unique in their own way, and I’d love more than anything to meet our new baby girl.

As for the birthing plan, my wife has decided to keep it traditional. Meaning, we will follow the same process that we used for our first two kids. When her contractions come, I will drive my wife to the hospital, let the nurses give her an epidural, and hold her hand the entire time. She has never needed to get a caesarian section, so we don’t have to book an operating room.

However, sometime in March, the news about the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Our illusion that the virus had not reached the United States yet got shattered. Worse, the highest number of infected individuals were in New York, where we live.

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When the quarantine order was issued around the same time, my wife and I tried to think positively. She said, “My due date is still in June. Perhaps the coronavirus will be dead by then.”

I hope and pray for that to happen, but it seems like fate has other plans for the world. Many government officials want to lift the quarantine soon, even though there is no solution for the outbreak yet. This fact affects our birthing plans in various ways.

It Is Scary To Give Birth At The Hospital

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, it’s not as if they get prescription drugs and go home. Instead, they need to stay at the hospital for two to four weeks, sometimes more. That’s the only way for them to avoid spreading the virus to other people.

While it is a smart technique, it also makes it scary to give birth at the hospital. We trust the nurses and doctors to follow the safety protocols, but the coronavirus does not live by any rule. Thus, it can enter anyone’s body and make life challenging.

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Even If The Hospital Admits The Expectant Mother, The Husband Can’t Be With Her

I have always stayed on my wife’s side during the birth of our first two children. Unfortunately, the new rule is that the hospital can only let the expectant mother in and nobody else. I can drop her off at the door, but then I need to leave after that.

It is another thorn in our birthing plan, yes. Of course, no wife wants to give birth without her husband in the same room.

We Need To Consider Other Birthing Methods

As mentioned above, our first and only birthing choice for years is going to the hospital and letting the doctors do their job. However, with the pandemic still going on, it seems to be the least appealing option. It forces us to make new plans when my wife is very close to her due date.

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Upon consulting the OB-GYNE, she said that we could try a water birth. We won’t need to leave the house; my wife could deliver our baby in the tub. Her pregnancy was not at high risk, so the doctor might be able to coach us from a distance. Though the idea was unconventional for us, we thought it was the best choice considering the circumstances.

Final Thoughts

The coronavirus outbreak had pushed all of us to think outside the box to accomplish similar goals. In my family’s case, we need to choose between letting my wife give birth without me or doing the water birth at home. It will be an understatement to say that this pandemic has genuinely cramped our birthing plan. Despite that, it has not dampened our excitement to meet the newest member of our brood, which can happen anytime this week.

After Pregnancy Care: What A Mother Should Do For Herself After Giving Birth

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The 2019 Parent-Teacher Conference highlighted Student-Led Conferences to enhance learning for the students. As a mother, you will want what is best for your child in terms of education, nutrition, and safety. Before you can give that to your newborn kid, you must take care of yourself first. Since you have carried your child inside you for nine months and gone through several hours of prenatal labor, you will need to recuperate.

Here are the things that you must do for yourself after your pregnancy.

Rest

Expect that your newborn will have a very different body clock from you and will be likely awake every three hours. So, after giving birth, take that much deserved rest. As a loving parent, it will be tempting to keep on holding on to your kid. However, remember that you have just gone to an exhausting pregnancy and labor, thus needs to recover to provide better care for your infant.

Besides sleeping, walking outside for a few minutes every day after giving birth is also recommended for new mothers. Aside from being refreshing, it can also be your postpartum exercise.

Eat Healthily 

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Besides taking that well-deserved rest, you will also need to eat a healthy diet. Your body had gone through various changes during pregnancy and after giving birth, so it to be taken care of to be able to cope up with them. Also, you will be breastfeeding soon, and you need proper nutrition to provide for your child.

Health experts advise against rapid weight loss after pregnancy, as it can be harmful to both you and your baby. Instead of following drastic diet trends, eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, and drink lots of water. 

Ask For Help

Taking care of your newborn will be hard, especially if it is your first time. You may ask for help from your immediate family members, mother, husband, aunts. Alternatively, you may hire a housekeeper to take care of your household responsibilities while you take care of your child. Asking for help is normal and is a necessity after giving birth.

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Taking good care of their children is a priority for parents. And to do that, you need to take care of yourself too.

6 Reasons To Rethink Divorce During Pregnancy

 

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“Studies show that unsupportive fathers-to-be depress expecting moms more than any other factor, which is not only harmful to their health, but can threaten the health of the unborn child,” according to Dr. Irene Milentijevic, a licensed psychologist. Whatever the intention may be or even though you have the most valid reason for filing one, still, getting a divorce is never a pleasing experience. And it becomes even more complicated when you find out that you’re expecting a baby soon. Such a condition complicates the situation even more. You will be torn between whether to pursue the proceedings or give your spouse another chance for the sake of your unborn child.

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