Right after the birth of my third child, I stumbled across this article from the NY Times on Facebook.
I was shocked. That was me. All three of my pregnancies. I was depressed.
The most noticeable was with my third pregnancy. Up to that point I kept saying it was just pregnancy hormones or all the other stuff you say when you are trying to excuse depression.
But my third was the worst. I couldn’t get out of bed. My house was a mess, which made me even more depressed. I ate a ton of very unhealthy foods, just to make me feel better (hence the 30 pounds I gained…) I tried to work out, but often I was too tired to do more than a short prenatal yoga exercise three times a week. I almost had a nervous breakdown when Netflix stopped working, because I needed my children to be distracted somehow so they wouldn’t keep wreaking the house around me. People kept saying, “Your pregnant, you need to give yourself some slack” but it was more than stress over being pregnant and anticipating the birth of my child.
I had been pregnant before. Twice. I was having my third c-section, I knew EXACTLY what to expect. I wasn’t even that worried about it, but I definitely wasn’t looking forward to it (um, who does look forward to major surgery while you are awake??). I knew the newborn routine, I knew I wouldn’t get a ton of sleep for a while, I knew!
I lost interest in things that had once given me passion. I almost completely stopped cooking (and I like cooking). I was feeling constantly guilty about being a lousy mother, person, wife, etc. The fact that my husband was suddenly very busy with work and out of town a ton did NOT help.
Finally, when I was 36 weeks pregnant I broke down into tears and told my husband that I didn’t think I could keep doing it. The poor man was already overwhelmed (he later told me that it took all his willpower not to get defensive) and here I was telling him I couldn’t do it anymore. And by it, I meant taking care of two children and a house. Basically living.
Luckily, he kept it together and suggested that I see a Psychiatrist. He was right.
After my 3rd child was born, everything was better. Well, I was recovering from a c-section with a newborn who wanted to nurse 25 times a day (not really, but you know how it feels) but I wasn’t so desperate. My mother commented that when she saw me right before I gave birth and a week after, she could tell immediately that I wasn’t as depressed.
This doesn’t mean that I was magically well. I still struggled with postpartum depression (although different and much easier to bear than the depression during pregnancy) and I still had days that I was completely depressed. But it was getting better.
I went to a Psychiatrist recommended by my OBGYN. She helped me see that I actually was depressed, rather than just a lazy lump (which is oddly comforting) and helped me with some medication and lifestyle changes. I am also looking into a therapist to help. This has helped.
We still haven’t exactly diagnosed what kind of depression. I have some suspicions towards PMDD, but I am absolutely not an expert. But I am getting better.
To help with any and all the stresses of life here is a recipe for Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles:
Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbs white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375F.
Cream butter, sugar, applesauce and honey until creamy (or as creamy as it gets). Add egg and vanilla. Add flour, soda, cream of tartar. Stir until mixed. (if the dough looks a little too sticky, add a bit more flour, you want to make balls out of the dough)
Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch across. Mix sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough balls in cinnamon.
Place on pan an slightly flatten with a fork, spoon or just your hand.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly brown.
We definitely liked these cookies, but they didn’t really taste like Snickerdoodles. Just yummy, cinnamony, fluffy cookies. I totally recommend them!