Betty Duffy

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Days Are Here Again

I keep forgetting that I have depressive tendencies. I keep forgetting because when I am in a "dark" phase, it does not occur to me that it is a phase. It just feels like life stinks and there's some blinder that prevents me from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel--in fact makes me forget that there is light. There is only my bed, and the warm imprint of my body there. And then suddenly, it's over. As quickly as the darkness came on, the light replaces it, and I start wanting to do things like cook with exotic ingredients, wear make-up, invite people over to my house, etc. I look back and think, "What did I have to be so upset about? I must have been depressed."

Times in my life when I've been depressed: In college when I was about to marry the wrong guy and spent the majority of my intellectual energy trying to convince myself and those who loved me that I was in love. And all five times I have been pregnant.

I know a woman who is convinced that depression is not a medical or clinical condition, but is in fact spiritual warfare. She believes that the devil targets pregnant women because they are so vulnerable and at the same time so powerful. Considering the depression I had when I was dating the wrong guy, it would not be a stretch to think that had I married that guy I probably would have made him and any children we might have had together very unhappy (another vulnerable and powerful position).

I don't discredit her belief, but I tend to think that the depression I've experienced with pregnancy comes from feeling like I have the flu for three continuous months, followed by six more months of having the equivalent of a bowling ball on my spine. The fatigue of making a baby is unlike any other fatigue in the world. I've gone days without sleep. I've run half-marathons. I've competed in pie-eating contests. I've driven all night in dry contacts. Nothing compares.

But the good news is, once it's over, it's over. I have been blessed not to have issues with post-partum depression, so my dark mood lifts with the last contraction. And now, I want to celebrate. I am no longer the grouch on the couch. I want to BAKE. I want to wash my hair and brush my teeth and let my kids know that there is joy to be had in this life.


Jus said...

so great to read this - I have been depressed during all of my 4 pregnancies and people always say "oh enjoy this while it lasts they are MUCH easier to care for in than out". My experience has been just the opposite - once they are out and I have had a few days (sometimes a few hours) to recover from the work of birth, I feel better. Much better. The world is a new place where I like to live, the trees have leaves and flowers are blooming.

Of course a couple of years after I have given birth I start ovulating again and I forget - I am filled with nostalgia for pregnancies that make me miserable - I am sure THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT - then I start vomiting. That first day I throw up all the memory washes over me like a wave at once and the misery begins. At least I know that there is always a cure ;)

jenx67 said...

Hi Betty -
I had no depression with my first full-term pregnancy, but it was so bad with my second that by the third I was older, wiser and demanding of the OB to do something about it. They were the darkest days of my life. I wrote about it once on my blog - under the category pregnancy or hyperemesis, which I had. Lots of trips to the ER for fluids and so many digestive problems. These two things alone are enough to depress anyone. I couldn't eat for weeks and dropped 20 pounds until the 5th month when the nausea subsided just in time for me to get fat and hardly be able to breathe, sleep, walk. I worked full time through all 3. No clue why I am telling you all this, except to say, that my depression in pregnancy was treatable. It lifted for the most part at month 3 and completely at month 5. I don't think our culture if very kind to pregnant woman - or we don't take care of them like we should. We've come to completely take pregnancy and birth for granted. Making a baby is hard work. Your body has now made five. I have never been closer to God than in my divorce 10years ago and then, in my last two pregnancies. I do believe the Father has a special place in his heart for hurting women and the most vulnerable - those who are single moms (sometimes married, but still alone) and those who are pregnant -- or both alone and pregnant. I appreciate the honesty in this post. There is a blogger - the whining puker is her moniker. She is a devout Christian and last time I checked still contemplating a second pregnancy based on the severity of the first. Blessings on you and the precious new baby. And, praises that the curtains have parted and the darkness has lifted. And, of course, split hoof is alive and well and working his program.