I was miserable from the very day I found out I was pregnant. I was at my oldest sister’s place for the weekend and after telling her I had missed my period we decided to do the next best thing. I think I took the pregnancy test close to 10 times before accepting that I was pregnant. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I later went to see the general doctor and I was nearly a month pregnant. The water works that followed continued till months after I gave birth, it was a disaster.
Imagine going through pregnancy with someone who keeps telling you that he doesn’t want you but the child you are carrying. That’s what I had to endure for a whole 9 months. I never got any special treatment, we were together yes but if I am very honest I with myself I went through everything on my own. I went for doctors appointments on my own, I didn’t have any maternity wear, I didn’t get any back or foot rubs, I didn’t even get any pregnancy photo shoots like the ones I see when I go through photos of people that are expecting and I spent most of my days alone because the father of my child worked out of town and I only saw him on weekends when he came home. I wasn’t going to work at the time and didn’t have any money to indulge on my cravings but thankfully food wise I loved traditional food so my mother would send through different fruits and vegetables as often as she could. I was a moving body of hormones and I cried almost every single day. This is round about the time I asked my Doctor friend if slitting my wrists would lead to instant death… I didn’t realise it then but I was depressed and what was happening inside me was only magnified by what was going on in a relationship where I was clearly unloved.
My little girl was born on the 17th of September. You would think it would be the happiest day of my life right? I cried for hours after I found out that I had given birth to a baby girl. I thought to myself, she is going to experience what life as a black woman is like, go through all the sorts of unimaginable mental issues because to be honest being a woman and a black woman for that is not easy.
Back home with a new born baby life was difficult. I was trying to figure out what was wrong and boy did she cry. She cried all the time and so did I. I didn’t leave the house for nearly 2 weeks. I never used to cook for myself and lived on juice and water. The only time I got up was to go and wash my daughter’s clothes, give her a bath and take care of her every need. I remember I never used to sleep much the first few days because I was scared I would fall asleep and roll over her and suffocate her in her sleep. It was all too much to take in. My cousin came to visit a few weeks later and found me in bed with my daughter, curtains closed the house an absolute mess and she couldn’t believe how much weight I had lost. For someone who had recently given birth I had lost close to 15kgs. She took over and only then did I finally give myself a proper bath, change into decent clothes and took a walk outside for the first time after giving birth. She was heaven sent! She stayed with me for nearly a month until I was back on my feet again and functioning normally.
I didn’t go through depression only. I went through pre and post natal depression! Those who have gone through pregnancy know that pregnancy alone is already overwhelming now couple that with depression.
It was a rough journey for me and this is the major reason why I don’t want to get pregnant again. I don’t want to go through it with someone who doesn’t want to be completely involved in the process. I want to be with someone who will pamper and baby me throughout the entire time. Pregnancy is a miracle on it’s own and should be celebrated with love not sadness. The image above shows what I want if ever I get to decide on having another baby. It has to be all or nothing at all. A man who will adore both me and the child I will be carrying will make pregnancy feel like a dream.
In our culture depression is not recognised and unfortunately for me I only got to find out that’s what I was going through then years after the incident. Perhaps if I had known earlier I could have taken steps to better my situation? I will never know…
Researchers say that some of the triggers of depression during pregnancy include:
- Relationship problems
- Family or personal history of depression
- Stressful life events
- History of abuse or trauma
- Previous pregnancy loss
Mental health is something that our culture needs to start acknowledging because it affects men, women, children alike and the more we ignore it the more people go through difficult situations without having anyone to turn to. My advice to women in unhealthy relationships is first talk things through to find a compromise but if all else fails it’s perfectly fine to leave. Your emotional well being is one of the most important aspects in your life that needs to be handled with tender loving care.
Set Fire To The Rain by Adele played throughout the time I was in labour, a whole 17 hours of it!
Thankfully my experience with pre and post natal depression is all in the past now and I’m healthy, happy and living my best life!
Have you experienced depression before, if yes how did you deal with it?