Posted by: DD | January 18, 2008

no. 581 – Antepartum Depression for the Maybe Baby Believer?

After my last post and another OB visit to keep the infamous Dead Baby Thoughts at bay for another 24-48 hours, I stopped by my facebook account to update. One of the options you have with facebook is adding a little blurb about what you are doing or thinking at any particular time. I added that I was dealing with "antepartum depression", thinking I had come up with some original term; a spin on postpartum depression.

One of my friends wrote on my wall: Antepartum sucks.

Because someone actually got what I was feeling, I did a quick search on antepartum depression and realized that the term I thought was made up was in fact very real. I don’t know why I thought there was no such thing, but even more interesting was that in the two and half years I’ve been reading blogs, I don’t recall anyone ever mentioning it during their pregnancy.

I don’t believe it’s because no one has ever felt it. These bloggers used all the key phrases of depression yet rarely used the word "depression" except in relationship to postpartum depression. Now I’m not self-diagnosing myself, but to have something other than "survivor’s guilt" to blame for how I’ve been feeling makes me feel less of an emotional fraud.

This article was the first I read and when I reached the list of possible triggers of APD, I was both fearful of what I could be doing to Murdock; and hopeful that maybe my inability to commit any joy to this pregnancy could be reversed.

The triggers?

  • Relationship problems
  • Family or personal history of depression
  • Fertility treatments
  • Previous pregnancy loss
  • Stressful life events
  • Complications in pregnancy
  • History of abuse or trauma

The signs?

  • Persistent sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Recurring thoughts of death, suicide or hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Change in eating habits

I found it reassuring that for many, light therapy can be a literal life-saver, which makes me even more thankful that every night when I drive home from work I notice a little more day light. I’m also glad that I have another appointment with my OB next week at which time I will mention this to him. It may be nothing. It may be something.

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Just to give you an idea of how little APD is taken into consideration, typepad does not recognize the word "antepartum" but does "postpartum". Also, a google search of "antepartum depression" had 2,860 results while "postpartum depression" had 3,630,000 results.

*****************************

A special thank you to those of you who said, "screw those comments being turned off, I’m contacting DD anyway." Your words, whether virtual hugs or virtual bitch-slaps, are much appreciated.

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Responses

  1. Huh, that explains a lot. Good to know it’s something real, not just my imagination.

  2. I’m only guessing here but I think the same shame or guilt that applies to post partum (I should be thrilled to be pg or have this cute baby now) causes a lot of women to just keep quiet abuot how they are feeling.

    If depression is common amongst infertility patients, then it seems real logical that adding more hormones (pg) and more stress (fear of losing hard won pg) would make depression more likely rather than less.

    If you think the light might help, you can buys those bulbs fairly cheaply now. It can’t hurt to add those.

    Definitely mention it to the OB.

    Maybe with this post you’ll find that half your readers admit they experienced the same but were just afraid to “complain” to their IF audience.

    Did you ever read Br00ke Sh1elds’ book Down Came the Rain? If I remember right, her depression started before the birth, making it not exactly post partum either.

  3. Interesting. You never hear about this.

    I’ve actually been telling my husband that this is the first time in my life I feel like I am struggling with something akin to depression. I’ve been blaming the bed rest and forced inactivity…maybe it is something more. Now that those restrictions are lifting, I’ll have to stay aware of how I am feeling.

    Who says blog reading is a waste of time?

  4. If its the same as pre-natal depression I mentioned I suffer from it sometime in the beginning of this pregnancy. In my case mostly due to the anxiety of losing another baby and the debilitating morning sickness that was getting me down. I tend to get it at the end of a pregnancy too which I blame on those last few weeks of not being able to sleep, walk, sit, breath etc. Its quite well known in Europe but theres not much that can be done about it.

    I believe previous loss makes us more prone to it. However it does not mean we will be prone to post-natal (post-partum) depression automatically. With LaLa it left the day she finally got out of my uterus, what a relief that was!

    Most prior infertile bloggers don’t mention it because they don’t want to be seen as ungrateful but there have been those that have and I’m always grateful to those that do.

    So far so good for me this time but I still have time to get it once again nearer my time!

    HUGS

  5. I can’t imagine what a terrifying ordeal the whole process must be. The whole concept of APD makes perfect sense. I agree with Beagle that there are probably a LOT of folks who share your experiences, but are just afraid to sound like they are complaining. Almost a “survivors’ guilt” situation? I’m just glad to know you’re talking about it and can hopefully get some answers for yourself. {{HUGS}}

  6. YES! YEs! YEs!

    I havea former co-worker who suffered from this – pretty severely. No one in our office got it and it was quite noticable becasue she was previously a very bubbly person. She developed severe anxiety about her childs life and general things she stated she had never thought about before. She doesn’t have the infertility factor since she got knocked up ON HER FIRST TRY – literally – but, her depression was very real and it subsided when she came back from leave.

    I am sorry you are so blue, but knowing that you are not along and having some medical justification will hopefully help. To increase that sunshine, I think an impromput trip to someplace warm & sunny would be a great suggestion. Hint, Mr, DD…..

  7. Luckily I didn’t have antepartum depression, but I had the postpartum variety.

    I hope that the increasing daylight will help. Also, I agree with Jitters, a trip to somewhere WARM would be nice!

    IF causes so many issues, that it doesn’t surprise me that this is a significant one.

  8. Oh yeah, it absolutely exists (I mean, there’s every type of depression imaginable). A blogger friend of mine had it when she found out she was having her son, and then found out later on in the pregnancy that he suffered from HLHS. I can’t even imagine what she was (and still is, really) going through. They actually wrote her a prescription for a safe anti depressant.

  9. Would you laugh if I said that not only had I heard of it, but I know for sure I’ve had it? You are right, it’s never ever talked about, and it’s freakin’ huge.

    Motherisk has lots about it, and one of the reasons they are so agressive about making sure women get help for depression during pregnancy (medication, therapy, etc.), and depression during IF treatment and after a loss, is because they know it’s risk.

    Unfortunately, mainstream psychiatry is useless for this. They’ve only recently decided to add complicated grief to the new DSM. (Grief after a loss that society refuses to recognize.)

    Besides, this mainly affects women DD….I mean COME ON, do you actually expect big ol’ men who run these journals and professional associations to care about some little bitty chick thing?

    Snort….

    Get a litebox, I’ve got a wonderful one (Apollo Golite) I live for. Very cheap from Costco, and my insurance covered it with a note from by Doc. You need one anyway where you live. I would lose it without mine up north here.

  10. I’m glad you found some answers. I hope your OB is responsive and gives you some constructive solutions.

  11. Very simply, after years of crying to anyone who would listen about my IF, I felt I had “no right” to have ANY negative feelings or comments about my pregnancy or new baby. I suppressed everything and was miserable. I wish I had known that it was ok to tell someone, especially my doctor.

  12. I hate that I can’t log onto blogger from work…this is what i miss when i’m away from you guys…
    hugs from me my dear. antepartum does suck. i felt it all through my pregnancy with my daughter. and then it turned into post partum…
    honey if you ever need to talk or vent feel free to e-mail me. i always check thsat even if i cant get to blogger. dont hesitate. seriously. i listen well, even when im just reading

  13. Ah, DD, I’m sorry you’re feeling craptacular. Look after yourself, and let you OB know if it persists.

    xx

    J

  14. I wish I’d known about this when I was knocked up – I was pretty down and depressed most of the time too.

    You’re not alone babe. There’re a lot of us out here to sit with you.

  15. Dear DD, I’m so glad you found this information. It often helps just to know what you’re dealing with — and if this keeps you from feeling like an “emotional fraud”, so much the better. You know you’re not, my friend. You feel what you feel — and sometimes those feelings hurt a great deal. It’s nothing you invite or control.

    I hope your OB can help you with this. And I hope those clouds part for you soon. But whatever happens, I’ll be here, cookie.

  16. I may never have used that term on my blog, but you can be certain I was intimately familiar with it while pregnant. I had what I consider to be an extremely stressful pregnancy between my baby’s daddy losing his job right when I got pregnant to my grandmother dying to checking everytime I wiped to make sure that there wasn’t blood on the tissue. I had started out taking antidepressants and they stopped me quite early on…then by the 3rd trimester, it was so bad that I was having problems at work (mostly because of problems with the baby’s daddy). The MFM specialist was brought in to discuss what would be most effective and, since I was so far along and concerns about basic development were abated, a new antidepressant was prescribed. I’m still on that one almost 2 years later now.

    I do agree that some natural light could help; they’ve got some cool lights available at Sam’s Club here in the Big O. Also, have you considered trying to do any kind of guided meditation that would help you focus and lessen the anxiety? Just a thought.

    I know I haven’t gone through secondary infertility like you, hon, but depression, now that is something I’m quite intimate with, pregnant or not. I’m be glad to talk. **hugs**

  17. I have read (cheery thought) that suicide is the most common cause of death in pregnant women.

  18. Even though my son was and is very much wanted, I hated being pregnant. All I knew at the time was that I was not supposed to–which only made it all worse, since I stuffed all the bad feelings inside and chalked up the exhaustion to hormones.

    If I had known I was depressed during pregnancy–and looking back I am certain that I was–I think it would have helped me get through the whole PPD thing a lot easier, instead of denying, denying, denying.


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