My Story of Prenatal Anxiety and Depression

diagnosed with depression and pregnant.

This post was originally created February 21, 2020. Since it has been re-edited for larger media publications.

“It’s hard to teach others how to heal if you haven’t healed yourself first.”

Did you know that 1 in 5 new moms will experience some kind of mood or anxiety disorder?

I didn’t think for a second that I would be one of them.

The year I got pregnant, Tony and I were living in our first home together. We lived in a beautiful condo downtown Toronto, and I literally felt like we had everything we ever wanted.

“Emotionally I was not in a good place”

It wasn’t even a few weeks into my pregnancy when I started to feel like I wasn’t okay. Emotionally I was not in a good place and it started to show. I wasn’t acting myself, I started fights with Tony all the time and I felt very self-destructive. I would cry a lot and have crippling anxiety every time I left home. At the time, my sister was having problems and the emotional strain of it had sent me over the edge. I felt as if I was constantly carrying a heavy bag on my chest and every thought I had felt like the end of the world.

Thankfully I did notice how awful I was feeling, and I knew I needed to find help. My team of doctors, midwives, and councilors were so amazing and I was lucky to have them. They were so caring, gentle, and exactly what I needed. I started doing CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Treatment’s) and group therapy but nothing changed with the way I felt. Finally, my doctor and midwives came up with a plan that included medication for prenatal depression. My doctors were convinced my prenatal depression would increase the chance of being diagnosed with post-partum depression.

“I would stay awake googling”

I felt sick to my stomach and I instantly felt like I was failing at being a mother before I even met my child. I would have the same re-occurring nightmares of how taking medication would harm my baby, and that alone brought on a whole new set of worries. Most night’s I would stay awake googling “the effects of sertraline on unborn babies” until I would eventually fall asleep exhausted.

I would punish myself by convincing myself that I didn’t deserve to be happy because I wasn’t excited like the other moms were.

I remember feeling so scared and feeling overwhelmed that I was doing something horrible for no reason. It honestly caused me so much heartbreak even thou I knew these weren’t my real feelings.

My life was absolutely amazing and I had every reason to be excited. Life was good, but I was still depressed.

The next week, I researched SSRIs (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and the effects on pregnant women. It didn’t take me long to decide that I was so tired of feeling horrible and taking medications was the best option for me.

After two weeks of being on the medication, I finally felt like myself again. It’s truly amazing how much can change in your mental health if you are proactive and seek out help. I was always so skeptical of taking medication for depression or anxiety because I didn’t take the time to educate myself about them.

“the rest of my pregnancy was relatively easy and after months of battling myself I was finally happy”

The rest of my pregnancy was relatively “easy” and after months of battling myself, I was finally happy. I started doing the things I loved, like working out. At eight months pregnant, I did yoga and even participated in Crossfit challenges. Thankfully I was able to enjoy the last few months of being pregnant, and I started feeling excited for our daughter’s arrival. I went out and bought paint for her room, washed all of the baby clothes, and did all the things I always dreamt of doing as a first time mom.

On February 18, 2018, I gave birth to a healthy and happy baby girl. We named her Penelope Frances. The truth is after having our daughter I was the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. Being in a state of newborn bliss is the best feeling in the entire world and to be honest, I don’t think I could have felt that happy without being on medication. Taking medication has helped me handle sadness and other negative situations in my life so much better.

The Takeaway

I wanted to share a side of motherhood and pregnancy most of us never talk about. I struggled with this for a long time and I hid it from family and friends because I felt ashamed. It took me almost two years to see that things for what they were. I feel that I was given a story to tell because I have a voice to share my struggles with other mothers who might going through something similar. I want you to know that there is nothing to be ashamed of if you feel unhappy. It’s okay to seek help and I promise that it’s possible to feel normal again. It also doesn’t mean you need to be on medication this is just what has worked for me.

This is a helpful list of resources if you or someone you know has depression.

+ want to read more about my pregnancy struggle, find it here.

+ 10 things I’ve learned in 10 years that might be able to help you too.

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  1. Any kind of depression or anxiety carries a negative effect on our life. So be positive and enjoy yourself in where and in which you involve. It’s a sign of a healthy life.

    1. I LOVE that! Thank you for sharing and reading this post. I read a quote today that said “Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might” and I couldn’t agree more.


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! ❤️ I was hoping us women would stop thinking of self care as something we need to spend money on. It’s so much more then that, we can incorporate little bits into our day that make us feel better. ❤️❤️❤️

  2. I’m glad you came out okay on the other side of this – and can share your story so others know they aren’t alone! Congrats mom!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. It was an experience I won’t forget and I hope this helps other new moms understand it’s normal and there is help out there.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing! I too had PPD (well, I have depression and anxiety normally anyway, but it got worse after delivering.) It’s a really hard struggle. Take care!

    1. Thank you for sharing that. At the time I had no idea what was wrong and it wasn’t the experience I had hoped for.

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