Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dealing with Depression During Pregnancy

I've been doing great this pregnancy, as has been documented here. But a couple weeks ago, I completely lost interest in food. I found that every time my stomach would growl, I'd groan, get a glass of ice water and hope that would tide me over for a while so I didn't have to think about eating. It became such a chore to eat that I found myself just ignoring hunger pains. I've still been eating, just less than normal. But I didn't realize how much less until Robby commented that I was looking thinner.

Whenever I lose interest in food, it sometimes takes me a little while, but it is always an indicator to me that, without my knowledge or permission, my depression has slowly taken over the majority of my daily thoughts and actions. I then start to realize how many other indicators there have been that I haven't paid attention to, such as my complete inability to focus, my tendency to sit staring for longer periods than normal, and my loss of interest in things I should care about. For me, this can sometimes be dangerous. Especially when I'm pregnant and completely out of control of my hormones.

I've gone through the list of things in my head and I feel like there are a couple things that can be attributed to my recent depression:

a) I haven't been able to exercise as much as I'd like. I had to put my gym membership on hold because the class I liked to take was too strenuous and caused a lot of painful contractions. I've tried pregnancy dvds with the same result, and even walking a lot puts me out of commission for a couple hours. And while I've been contracting much less, I still wish I had that aggressive outlet I used to count on.

b) With Gracie at school, I have a lot more time to myself to either think about too much, or not be forced to think enough. With Robby's help, I've been trying to set up a cleaning schedule to give me some sort of routine every day, but it's hard to be consistent when some chores give me contractions with no rhyme or reason to them.

It's hard to find solutions to problems when your thinking is all fuzzy and uncooperative but writing it all out helps me organize things a little and putting it in a public place gives me an easy place to refer to when this happens again.

The key for me seems to be setting a couple small goals to work on every day so I don't overwhelm myself and completely give up, then feel unbearably guilty he rest of the day for not doing the things that should be so easy to me. So here are the small steps I'm going to try to take every day to feel like I'm managing my life until the depression fog starts to lift:

1. Pick a specific time each day to do one chore in one room (such as vacuuming, picking up, cleaning, etc), then see how much I can do.

2. Have at least one thing scheduled in the morning and one in the afternoon to do every day. One of those can be cleaning but the other has to be something different and something out of my room (maybe practicing the piano for longer than usual or picking a small space to organize). Ideally it should be something I don't really feel like doing just so I can make myself do it and feel accomplished.

3. I'm already reading my scriptures every morning, but I want to try to really understand what I read, even if it's only a little bit that day. Then, read one other thing from a church magazine or from just for good measure.

I feel like I can handle these right now and taking more control of the small things in my daily life, I'm hoping, will be what I need to be more motivated to just care about taking care of myself and my little family.


Michael and Bethany said...

If you want some low impact exercise you can come swim with me and Anabel!

Lauren Mills said...

Would prenatal yoga be something you could do? Exercise and getting you out of the house :)

Captain and First Officer said...

Thinking of you. Hang in there!

grandmasmith said...

Love you and I am proud of you. You and baby are in my prayers and on the Provo temple list.