The Journey to Parenthood Can Lead to Depression
Not long after you get married, there’s this unspoken pressure to conceive. Your parents are anxious to have grandchildren, your friends are waiting for you to join “the mommy club”, and obviously, this is something you and your spouse had planned long before tying the knot. Now that the bliss of the wedding has passed and reality has sunk in, it seems like you’re on a clock to get knocked up within the next year. When months go by and nothing happens, the stress, anxiety, and pressure can be enough to send you into depression.
“Why is it taking so long for us to get pregnant?”
“How can I get my family and friends off my back?”
“Everyone around us is having children without a problem, is there something wrong with us?”
“Am I not trying hard enough?”
There are a lot of thoughts running through your head and with each passing month that you’re not pregnant these feelings get harder and harder to push aside. What was once an exciting journey towards starting a family with the love of your life has turned into a nightmare that you don’t know how to escape.
Could it Be Depression?
How do you know if you’re battling depression and not simply a bit down about not being pregnant despite your best efforts to conceive? There are different types of depression, each with its own set of symptoms, causes, and treatment. However, if you’re suffering from mental illness as a result of trying to have a baby, you may notice the following physical, emotional, and behavioral signs:
- Lack of energy and exhaustion
- Difficulties sleeping
- Loss or increased appetite
- Low libido
- Social withdrawal
- Mood swings
- Not wanting to get up
- Lack of motivation
- Constant sadness and feelings of misery and despair
- Low self-esteem
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
- Lack of focus
- Thoughts of suicide
What Should You Do?
If you’ve experienced a number of these symptoms over a long period of time, chances are you’re depressed about the process of trying to get pregnant or the thought that your dreams of pregnancy may never happen. Either way, you should know that getting pregnant will not make your depression go away. It is making changes and seeking help (especially if you’re suicidal) that help to resolve the matter. Here are a few suggestions on what you might do to start turning things around:
Don’t get ahead of yourself – Just because you’re not expecting yet doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. Unless you’ve heard a clear diagnosis from a doctor, you shouldn’t allow the assumption of infertility to get you down. In fact, paying a visit to the doctor can help you understand what you may be dealing with.
Keep a journal – it is human nature to be upset when things don’t go according to plan. Keeping a journal can help you to get these pent up emotions out.
Find something else to focus on – many couples have reported that they tried for years to get pregnant with no luck. However, after putting their mind elsewhere they were able to get pregnant right away. Perhaps you’re too focused on trying to conceive and it’s stressing you out.
Stop planning it – if you and your spouse are reduced to having timed sex during you ovulation periods then maybe it’s time to take a break from the planned sex. Enjoy your partner intimately for the fun of it and whatever happens, happens.
Talk to someone – if you’ve reached the point where all you can think about is getting pregnant and it’s causing you to feel depressed you should talk to someone. A counselor, for instance, can help you to understand that you’re not alone. They may also be able to help you develop positive behaviors that can heal your mind.
Having children is something that most couples want some day. What many don’t realize until they’re actually ready to have kids is that it doesn’t always go according to plan. On your journey to parenthood, it is important not to put so much pressure on yourself or to let the outside world put pressure on you. Do what you know is necessary like eating right, exercising, and getting plenty of rest and leave the rest up to chance. If you’re really stressed about the ordeal the next most effective solution is to get help. Don’t let depression take away what is supposed to be some of the most fun moments in your life.