Having recently been through a severe episode of antenatal depression and anxiety and well on the road to recovery, I thought I would give some hope to those out there that were unwell like I was recently.
A bit about me - I have had some depression and anxiety in the past but on and off and nothing I couldn't manage. However when I was pregnant, it started to get increasingly worse. I noticed my anxiety increase from 12 weeks onwards but at about 7 months it started to get really bad. I started to fear all sorts of things - such as am I going to harm my baby by catching germs, scared of touching things and worrying about how I would manage being a mum when my baby was born. I noticed that at about 6 weeks prior to birth, I started to become depressed and my anxiety escalated again. Luckily I had a sympathetic ob who referred me to a specialist straight away after I told her how I felt. However it took 3 weeks to see him and in this time I got worse. There were times that I really didn't think I could get out of bed and was scared that I would be contaminated by my house and that I would somehow contaminate others by touching them. As such I became very socially isolated during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I had been on Sertraline 50mg during my pregnancy but this got increased to 100mg, then 150mg and then finally 200mg at the end of pregnancy. Don't let anyone tell you that you need to reduce your dose towards the end of your pregnancy as your needs are greater towards the end as your hormones are going crazy at that time. I was sooooo keen for my labour to start because I was really struggling to do my daily activites such as make food for myself and get out of bed.
My specialist advised me that I would be better after the birth but I was very reluctant to believe him as I was feeling so sick and was sure that I would have post natal depression. But guess what... he was right. It was amazing I could feel my depression lifting the during the hours I was in labour as if the hormones were stabilising. I felt amazing after the birth - so much better. Don't get me wrong, I was still worried about stuff but all of a sudden I had a baby to look after and I actually seemed to know what to do. I am very grateful for maternal instinct!
After birth I was started on Mirtazapine as this can't be taken when you are pregnant and this made me feel even better - side effects are hard to take at times but it is worth it for the difference it makes to my anxiety.
Today I feel so differrent - I still have my moments of anxiety but the depression has lifted and I am so happy with my baby and able to look after her - I was so worried that I wouldn't cope but I have had no major dramas at all. All I do now is take it easy - try not to push myself too much and keep taking my medications (by the way I am breastfeeding too).
I hope that my story can give someone out there some hope becuase when I was sick I looked all over the internet for positive stories and there are almost none! I guess when people get better they stop writing in these kinds of forums but I really wanted something good to some out of my experience.