While the following chapter of A Dozen Invisible Pieces and Other Confessions of Motherhood is still difficult for me to re-read to this day, I still appreciate it for its frankness–something I had to do at the time, while writing this book, as a measure of catharsis–and ultimately, a motivating factor in my willingness to go forward and share my story with friends, strangers, my Lamaze class students, and anyone else who might benefit from my experience with pregnancy related depression…
Chapter 13 – Pregnancy Number Three: The Second Trimester
As the end of my first trimester came and went, nausea and fatigue persisted. My hopes for the burst of energy that so many books predict for the second trimester were bludgeoned, but this time I was not exactly surprised, as I had missed out on this mid-pregnancy bliss while pregnant with Landon as well. At twenty-two weeks, my nausea finally began to subside, only to be quickly followed by a recurrence of the sometimes debilitating pelvic pain that had plagued my second pregnancy.
I re-visited the physical therapist with whom I had worked less than two years prior and began the same set of “pelvis stabilizing” exercises that I had been somewhat diligent about performing when I was last knocked up. (Don’t you just hate that term? Me too, but I couldn’t resist it here.)
I hoped that by being a good and responsible patient, I could get a jump start on an exercise routine that included therapeutic movements with names like “tail wags”, “supermans” and “hip hikes”, and stave off the worst of the pain that had been a source of great frustration and discomfort in my not-so-distant past. I hooked up with a trainer at the local gym who added exercises such as “wall angels” to my regimen, and I was hopeful that the remainder of this pregnancy would pass uneventfully.
But shortly after resuming the physical therapy program, I was blindsided by a mid-pregnancy bout of prenatal depression and I became unable to properly look after Ellie and Landon. I stopped eating and drinking and gradually, day by day, slipped further into an emotional catatonia.
Although the majority of this period of my pregnancy quickly became a blur; memorialized in my mind are snapshots of crying spells, emotional and physical despondency while my children milled around me, casting anxious sideways glances in my direction, and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness that I could handle the challenge I was soon to face in simultaneously mothering three young children….