Overcoming Depression in the First Trimester

A topic that isn’t talked about enough.

Depression in pregnancy.

I have (thankfully) never dealt with depression other than when related to hormonal changes of pregnancy and the post partum period but having gone through a really rough couple of months, I wanted to open up about it here because I believe so many others feel the same but don’t want to come forward about it. I am writing this in hopes of helping just one other person navigate their way through growing another life….

Overcoming Depression in the First Trimester

My first pregnancy was relatively uncomplicated and I actually seemed to regulate my hormones relatively well throughout the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Once Liv was born however, things were a bit different. We had trouble breastfeeding for weeks, she was jaundice for 8 weeks and it led me to think I wasn’t the best mother I could be. Obviously, this thinking was beyond ridiculous but those were my feelings at the time and I became depressed for quite some time. On top of this was the nonstop colicky crying that encompassed our every evening from around 3 pm until 11/12. It was very, very, very tough to deal with and I shiver thinking back to those months. However, I made it out of those tough months with the help of close friends and family.

My second pregnancy was different than the first. The hormones hit me so hard in the first trimester that I swore I would never become pregnant again. Deep depression set in and honestly, I have absolutely NO idea why. We prayed for that second baby and she was our rainbow baby. But instead of elated, I was completely and utterly torn apart and depressed. It’s a very frustrating, helpless feeling ad I don’t wish it upon my worst enemy. It was hard for me to get out of bed and care for another child when all I wanted to do was sulk and sit in bed all day long. Thankfully the second I hit my second trimester, these feelings completely lifted and I was able to feel that happiness that I was longing to feel for so many months.

Now. This third time, has been my hardest. Both physically and emotionally. I was so excited with the hopes of conceiving a third miracle and once we found out we were pregnant I was ecstatic. So happy to be growing our family by one more….

That is until I hit about 6 weeks. I started becoming very ill. So nauseous that it was hard to keep myself upright. I never had the relief of vomiting (except for a few times, in which case I actually felt better) but mostly have been suffering from debilitating nausea. Worse than my previous two pregnancies for sure. But worse than that? The emotional aspect of the first trimester. I could not get myself out of the deep dark hole that I sat in on a daily basis. Constant thoughts of fear and darkness for no reason at all. I couldn’t be happy about anything in my life, even though I have everything I could have ever wanted for my life (and more).

There were days when I didn’t think I could make it through a day. I wished away each day, waiting for the next in hopes of feeling better. I’ve never in my life felt this way and in hind sight, it would have probably been worth it to see someone but I didn’t want to start medications and since I had a small taste of this with the last pregnancy, I wanted to wait it out.

I exercised as much as I could (2-3 times per week) and it honestly was the only thing that made my feel better, both mentally and physically. Now that I am here at 16 weeks, I can tell you that my nausea has lifted somewhat (although still debilitating at times) and my emotional being is in a much better place. I am able to wake up in the morning and have positive thoughts on tackling the day and I feel so absolutely blessed to be carrying another miracle within my womb.

Through my darkest days I always held onto the tiniest glimmer of hope. As long as you can find this glimmer of hope in each and every day, I truly believe that you can make it through anything. This glimmer can be in the form of a person, a thought, or a place. Something that is promising and allows you to feel like you have something to hang on to. Even for just a moment <3

This post is for those of you currently struggling with depression. Whether you’re pregnant, or not, I hope that this post gives you some hope.

I hope it gives you someone to relate to.

I hope it gives you someone you know you can talk to.

Coming forward and letting just one person know about the way you feel can be freeing. If you feel to need to talk to someone, know that you can talk to me. Even if we are strangers….

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” — Helen Keller

19 Comments

  1. Mushka
    February 23, 2017 / 12:02 pm

    You are amazing. Thank you for being so open and honest about such an important topic. Pregnancy and birth is so utterly amazing and a new little life is such a blessing, people often forget what a strain it can put on the mother, mentally and physically.
    I wish you tons of rest, healing and strength with your beautiful family!
    xoxo

  2. February 23, 2017 / 1:44 pm

    I couldn’t love this more. This is such an important (and sadly, overlooked) topic. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life and being pregnant hasn’t helped it at all. I’m now 27 weeks along and the first 20ish were incredibly hard on me. Like you, this baby was very much planned and wanted and my husband and I were both so unbelievably happy when I got the positive pregnancy test. But the first half was so hard for me. Granted, it came at the same time as we were moving cross-country (3,000 miles away from family) and things like that, so it was already a stressful time for us. But it was a really rough few months and I found that not a whole lot of people really understood. I felt like I wasn’t even “allowed” to complain because my pregnancy has been so smooth and easy. But mentally, I was miserable. I still have days here and there where I struggle, but I’m now finally at a point where I’m excited and settled into our new home and really ready to embrace being a mom and adding to our family. My work outs and continuing to eat healthy have been the biggest help to me in staying balanced and feeling good so I’m hoping the rest of my pregnancy goes just as smoothly 🙂

    • Tina
      August 23, 2017 / 4:48 am

      I am on my first trimrster and I cry uncontrollably for no reason some days. How do you deal with it. I try to isolate myself and cry alone so my partner won’t see me. He too gets sad to see me crying. He doesn’t know what to do. I feel isolation doesn’t help at all. At times I talk to women in my family to find support. I exercise 2 or 3 times a week too, but I don’t notice too much help from exercise. I try to eat healthy as much as possible.

    • Samantha
      September 6, 2017 / 10:05 pm

      It was refreshing to hear your story. I’m in my first trimester (3rd baby) and I’ve had depression to the max. Don’t want to get out of bed, not only exhausted physically but emotionally even more. I’m crying all the time over I DONT EVEN KNOW WHAT. Like you said , I’m going to try and hold on to hope and faith…because without it… I have nothing. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad I’m not alone.

  3. Chelsea
    February 23, 2017 / 5:49 pm

    Thank you for so much for posting this. I am pregnant with my second, not planned, my first isn’t even a year old yet and although I was sick with my first with the same dibilitating neausea you spoke about until 16 weeks, mentally I was excited and knew I would get over the hump soon. This time though is so different. I’ve still been insanely neausous and I’m in the thick of it at 11 weeks, but because we were so surprised with this news, I haven’t been able to have it fully sink in and get excited about it. My husband is an optimist who says, “well think of all the people who are having trouble, this is great news and we’ll be done after this” which then makes me 1/2 feel guilty and half like of course you’re telling me this you feel fine and your body didn’t just recover from our first baby!!! I feel overwhelmed and anxious and sad and guilty as the weeks go by with my daughter and I am laying lifeless on the sofa battling through these days and weeks. It’s not fair to her and at times I don’t think it’s fair to me either. I really hope to be feeling better soon.

    • Tammy
      August 5, 2017 / 10:46 pm

      Chelsea, I went through almost exactly the same process- my husband even reacted very similarly. My first son was 15 months old when I found out that I was pregnant with number 2. They are 23 months apart which was WAY too close for comfort but I used my pregnancy as a time to work on accepting the situation (much much much easier once I stopped feeling terrible and could focus on eating right and exercising/meditating). How are you doing now?

    • Sarah
      September 17, 2017 / 5:29 am

      Reading your posts has just made me feel hope that someone else has been in my position. I had a baby when I was 19 and i naturally took to being pregnant & being a mother. Years later i met my husband and we decided to have a baby luckily we had our baby in March 2017 she’s 6 months old. I found it hard to give up my career for the few months but felt it woukd be the better of us..I have since discovered I’m pregnant again and 11 weeks at that. This was not planned I’m cried for 2weeks .. I’m suffering with morning sickness all day and feel so low nothing excites me. I feel like I’m dragging myself around all day, I’ve lost interest in me, in my husband in the future . I feel so overwhelmed at the idea of having a 1 year old and new baby. We don’t have any help I’m really hoping that in the coming weeks the sickness will lift and I can feel happy and more positive again. I have everything but feel so lonely & disappointed I haven’t caught my breath yet

  4. Cait
    February 23, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I learned so much! I am a new mom and definitely noticed myself feeling down during my first trimester. We planned for this baby and like you mentioned, I know I am truly lucky to live such an amazing life and felt so guilty that I wasn’t happy. I’ve obviously heard of postpartum depression but didn’t know it could occur DURING pregagncy! Thanks for opening my eyes to my own emotional health!

  5. March 1, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    thank you for sharing. i had no idea first trimester depression was actually a thing but after reading your post, i could totally relate.
    i really appreciate you!

  6. Samantha Oxtoby
    April 7, 2017 / 6:59 am

    Thank you for sharing. This is my second pregnancy and my rainbow baby. I don’t remember feeling this way with my first but the fear of losing this baby too, add in that we are moving, I’m a full time student and my husband works alot. I just can’t seem to get motivated to do what I enjoy. I have constant nausea and exhaustion but I can’t tell if it’s pregnancy related or not because I already had anxiety before. I’m 7 weeks and don’t have my first appt for 3 weeks so I will talk to my doctor about it. I just hope I can overcome because I want to be happy!

  7. Katie
    May 23, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    Thank you! I am in week 6 of my first pregnancy and have been frantically googling ‘depression and anxiety during pregnancy’ – like so many others despite our current circumstances not being perfect this pregnancy was planned as we both desperately wanted children and came to a conclusion that there would never be a right time. Depsite initial elation I soon sank down into a spiral of fear and anxiety. Obsessing over how my work will react (just taken on huge new role) how we will cope in our current home, how we will cope financially without my income etc etc. But overall, I just feel overwhelmed with a sense of complete hopelessness and despair. Reading your brave article has given me hope that things will get better. Deep down I know it’s a wonderful gift and it will all work out but it’s hard to see when your in the midst of the fog. Thanks again for sharing and I wish you a happy and healthy life with your babies xxx

  8. May 27, 2017 / 1:39 pm

    It is really comforting to read about your experiences. Thank you for sharing. I’m currently 6 weeks pregnant with my second and it is completely different than my pregnancy the first time around. For one, I’m horribly nauseous and some days can barely get out of bed because I’m so tired. With my son, I remember having some nausea, but I was so happy to be pregnant I didn’t notice it. Now, even though this baby was planned, I am struggling to enjoy the things I usually do. The only thing that makes me feel better is when my son wants to cuddle before bed. That’s what I’m holding on to right now. It’s nice to know there are other women struggling with this. My first dr appointment is in a week so I plan to discuss it with my doctor. I just hope this depression lifts in the second trimester so I can start feeling as excited as I know I am deep down.

  9. Teri
    August 6, 2017 / 11:22 pm

    Thank you everyone for sharing! I’m 6weeks pregnant( planned), glad I found this page. My hole life I struggled feeling depression and high anxiety. 8 weeks ago I started to talk and deal with it all for the first time ever. The last 6 weeks have been the deepest darkest feelings I have ever felt. The feelings of “why can’t I feel happiness” and ” I won’t make it through the day” fills my day. It’s nice to hear I’m not alone. I hope it gets better soon. I wrote on my while board on the fridge ,” PRAY, LOTS OF WATER, WALK/YOGA, NO SUGAR” definitely helps. Thanks everyone.

  10. Cecelia Walker
    September 7, 2017 / 9:59 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It makes me feel like I am not crazy for feeling the way I do. I am pregnant with my first child and the changes I am going through in the first trimester have me very depressed. I have gained 20 pounds, I have no energy, and I am very emotional (crying, upset, etc). I need to get back into the habit of exorcise as that was the only thing that made me feel better as well. I get depressed thinking that every day I wake up I will be throwing up and not feeling well. It doesn’t make you have a good outlook. I am 9 weeks today only 3 more weeks left in this trimester and I pray I get some relief. I relate to this post in so many ways and I am grateful for you sharing.

  11. Christina
    September 19, 2017 / 12:14 am

    Like so many others said, this post is a gift to me tonight. I literally googled “depression in first trimester of pregnancy does it get better” and your post was the first thing that came up. I’m almost 8 weeks into my second pregnancy and have had that debilitating nausea for both pregnancies. But this one, wow, the depression has hit me like a semi truck. My overwhelming feeling is how will I ever get through the next 7 months?! The days seem everlasting but I am trying to focus on today only and making it through today. Knowing that others have experienced this gives me even one tiny glimmer of hope for today. Thank you for your candid honesty and creating a space to open the discussion about this. Thanks for taking away a little bit of the loneliness.

    • September 19, 2017 / 10:22 am

      Hi Christina!

      I am so sorry to hear that you are experiencing this. I promise that it gets better as time progresses! If you ever need anything, please reach out to me whenever you need to! 🙂

  12. Kk
    September 23, 2017 / 3:04 pm

    Hi,
    Thank you for sharing:)
    I have gone through 3 miscarriages this past year, my first one being at almost 5 months along. I too went through a similar experience each time. Feelings of being so blessed, elated, grateful, peaceful, and then around 6 or 7 weeks this discomfort, rage, fear, wanting to run away, feeling like my life will be awful, that I will fail my child. It becomes so strong that at times I could just lie down and not move, feeling it overcome my whole body. I feel like a different person, disconnected from my heart, which is so confusing because it is normally what my heart wants so much. The added experience of recurring miscarriage does not help my fear of course.
    I feel a baby closely now again which is always such a beautiful time, I just want to feel more balanced somehow. I have never progressed through this phase in my pregnancies so that is my only experience and I have not felt that transition through it and emerging from it yet, so when I am deep in it I have little hope it will change, although as you said, I grasp onto whatever hope there is. The hardest part is that my husband is my best friend and I want to completely isolate myself and this becomes such a hard time for us, he struggles with it a lot. I will keep trying different things, meditate a lot, move in ways that feel good, lots of self-care. My love goes out to all the women going through this as I know how dark it can get, may we hold each other lovingly in these moments, know we are not alone, and find comfort in connecting and sharing xox

  13. Gem
    October 7, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    BabyCentre

    From May 2018 Birth Club

     

    Prenatal Depression

    GemWilliams · you!

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    Last edited 03/10/2017

    I’ve been wanting to write this for a little while but been to afraid I suppose. I think that I have prenatal depression. I made an appt to see my GP at 11:00am today. I’m 9 weeks. Terrified but I think it’s something that I have to do. I have a history of clinical depression and during my last pregnancy 2 years ago I was prescribed Citalopram. I stopped taking them almost a year ago, purely because they were not on a repeat prescription and because of my working shifts being so erratic I couldn’t always get to my GP to order them then collect a few days later. I would end up with weeks in between.

    This baby number 2 was very much wanted and planned. I discussed my history of depression with my midwife at my booking appt and she advised me to go back to my GP and ask to be prescribed some meds again if I felt like I was going down a similar road. That was almost a month ago. 

    Now for the past 3 weeks I’ve had the most awful time. 3 weeks off work with a chest infection. Prescribed antibiotics then steroids, still wouldn’t go. Felt awful. Then all of a sudden started with nausea and vomiting which is totally new to me. Didn’t have a day of sickness with my son. Over the last week I’ve been feeling lower and lower. No joy, no happiness. Just total and utter dread about having a second baby. I feel like a black cloud has descended upon me. I feel like my bond with my son has suddenly been broken and I can’t look after him. I feel like the world’s worst mother and I don’t deserve children. I can’t sleep. Literally having panic attacks at nighttime. When I do sleep I’m plagued by nightmares. Last night I had 2 hours of deep sleep. Woke up in tears from a nightmare that I had hit my son. Cried so much that I couldn’t sleep and saw the sun come up. 

    I’ve tried to pass this off as hormones but I think it’s a bit more than that? I remember crying a lot in my first trimester last pregnancy. I remember it as being very bleak and crying a lot. Being quite confused. Then my mood lifting into the second trimester. But back then I was taking antidepressants. 

    I’m terrified of what will happen with work. Yesterday was my first day back after 3 weeks. I felt on the verge of tears all day and knew that I would need to see my GP. I don’t have a mum or sisters or anything, therefore, tried to confide in one of my managers. I told her that I would like some time to see my GP because I was afraid that I’m suffering prenatal depression and she laughed and me and told me that it doesn’t even exist. She said pregnancy is the happiest time of your life and she should know, she has 3 sons.  Well I felt as small as my thumb and spent my entire lunch break in tears in the toilet. Surely it does exist. My midwife said that I was at risk of it. 

    I’ve actually been talking to my husband about a termination just to make these feelings stop. As I said previously this baby was very much wanted and planned. I wouldn’t be saying that in my normal frame of mind. Praying this will lift xx

    • J.L.
      October 7, 2017 / 6:13 pm

      Hang in there, Gem. Prenatal depression is absolutely real and your coworker should not have laughed at you for it just because she never experienced it herself. She probably just doesn’t know it exists. I am 10 weeks and can hardly get up in the morning from feelings of sadness and dread, not to mention the nausea, fatigue, headaches, and constantly upset stomach. I have a toddler also so I’m so guilty that during the week I’m working a demanding job and on the nights and weekends all I have the energy to do is lay on the couch. A good friend of mine just went through the same thing and hers lifted around 16-18 weeks so I’m just hoping for that. The advice in this article really helps – try to find a glimmer of hope or something you enjoy each day even if it is super small. I’m trying to not feel guilty and just be kind to myself to get through this. Be strong!

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