Dealing With Depression While Pregnant–Your Comments

It’s almost the weekend and I’m just getting up to speed after having my computer crash. It crashed right after I posted my blog about taking antidepressants while pregnant. I was able to read all of your comments and then boom. I was in the dark. Until now.

I was so incredibly blown away by how much we all opened up to each other. The thoughtful, lengthy, heartfelt comments really touched me. Thank you for taking the time. For all of us who are struggling, let’s commend ourselves for having the courage to open up. We shouldn’t be living in a day and age where there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues.

Some of you are still battling the beast. Others have risen up to see the light after weeks and months spent in darkness.

Was curious to hear from @Meredith about what your doctor said in your follow up visit. You mentioned you were feeling pretty down again towards the end of your pregnancy and wanted to see if he/she offered any ideas.

@Heather actually gave me a name of an amazing reproductive psychiatrist at NYU who I’m going to see. I have taken my dose down in the past 2 months and I can feel the pull to the dark side. I can handle it at this level, but any lower, and I fear I’d be miserable.

@Mae—you and a few others made the excellent point that if you were diabetic during pregnancy you would take insulin; if you had a heart condition you would take medication. Why is treating depression any different? For those who haven’t experienced it before, I can tell you first hand it’s not a choice any of us make.

I would urge @Jessica to consider that analogy. Are you saying people who have depression and need meds shouldn’t have a baby? Remember, it’s a proven chemical imbalance. A problem that is treatable just like the examples above.

There were a few nasty comments, of course. It wouldn’t be a proper blog without. To those who have clearly never struggled with depression and said that if we take pills for it, then we shouldn’t have children, I’ll happily tell you my opinion: your judgment is incredibly small minded and cruel. Not to mention ignorant.  I’m not commenting any more than that, as I don’t think it’s worth wasting my energy on.

I’ll end with two comments from my readers. And @Liz you are welcome. It was an honor to put my story out there, especially when I discovered I have kindred spirits like all of you by my side. But for the grace of god, go I…

By Liz

Thank you for being a voice for those who may suffer in silence due to fear of the unknown. Going through a severe depression myself, which began, in early pregnancy I can totally relate. I would not have gotten through it without the help of medication. Depression is a serious illness that one can only truly understand if they have been through it themselves. The risk of what could have happened had to seriously be weighed against the risk of what my anxiety and depression could have done to my unborn child. And FYI she is a healthy happy baby girl.

By Emily

I was just reading in The Economist of all places about research showing that babies born to mothers who were depressed or under extreme emotional stress during their pregnancies have actual changes in their brains that make them more prone to anxiety and fearfulness. I don’t have the article handy now and can’t remember the exact scientific details, but the gist of it is that there is a STRONG argument to be made for treating depression and anxiety by any means necessary during pregnancy, not just for the moms’ relief and ability to function, but for the babies’ functioning later in life. I started Zoloft when my youngest was 18 months old, and my oldest was 3, and my only regret is why did I not start sooner? I was functioning more or less OK, but experiencing no joy in life. What kind of mom is that? So glad I got over my fear of side effects (which have actually been non-existent, as far as I can tell) and can now enjoy life!

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  1. by meredith

    On August 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    My doctor made me feel totally reassured and I’m starting them back today! Since I’m 30 weeks pregnant, the vital organs are basically done. He said that at this point in my pregnancy, he could give me a pill that KNOWINGLY causes heart defects and it would not cause them since I’m so far along. So I’m not worried at all to start taking them again :)

  2. by Zoloft Birth Defects

    On August 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Taking antidepressants at any time during pregnancy and before pregnancy… there are always risks. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in researching whether these SSRI’s are safe, it’s that while a lot of general practitioners don’t think twice before prescribing, the range of destructive defects is huge. Yes maybe some get away with taking an antidepressant and nothing happens. But what about the 1 in however so many that one day develop psychosis, all of a sudden develop strong urges for suicide or self-harm, or worse, one antidepressant is prescribed to fight the side effects of another antidepressant and then you end up on a giant cocktail which ends up nigh impossible coming off of. I think about it like airplanes. You fly, most of the time, and you’re okay. But if your plane is susceptible to some sort of technical fault, the results are DISASTROUS. Be careful with these drugs folks, the risks are higher than the doctors are willing to admit. Just my 2 cents.

  3. by Zoloft Birth Defects

    On August 25, 2011 at 10:53 am

    P.S. I’ve been up and all over that Mayo report as part of my research (it’s scary how much it’s been linked to), while also talking to a half dozen specialists in the San Diego area who are not just MD’s but MD-PsychD specialists. What I’ve found is that the safety of taking antidepressants while pregnant is considerably overstated. If you knew there was a solid number in 100 that drinking alcohol could cause say Spina Bifida, would you do the same thing with antidepressants? Not saying we shouldn’t get help, but never should we take antidepressants on scrips written by a doctor who is not a psychiatrist, there are always more layers than just the chemical one!! wow that was a long p.s. sorry!

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