August 16, 2008

Depression During Pregnancy Regaining Control – Part 7

Depression During Pregnancy: Consequences of Becoming the best mom that I can – Re-grounding self and regaining control.

Re-grounding self and regaining control describes the consequences of the strategies undertaken in confining the threat. All women had undergone counseling; ten took antidepressant medication during pregnancy, five commenced antidepressant medication within two months of delivering, and one woman delayed commencing antidepressant medication until she had weaned her baby.

Three women elected not to use antidepressants at anytime during the pre- and postpartum periods. The properties of this category are: Being in a better place and Knowing self.

Being in a better place

As a result of counseling, medication, or a combination of both, most of the women felt that they had arrived at a better place. Life still had moments of being "up and down" but, there were "far less bad days than there are good days". One woman, who managed her depression with a combination of counseling and antidepressant medication said:

I'm in a much better place now than I was before even becoming pregnant. I still have ups and downs, but my ability to deal with some of the things that are
triggers for me, is much better. (#18).

Another woman, who had received counseling, but remained medication-free during the obstetric and postpartum periods, explained how she was feeling:

For me I know it's slowly going. I do get depressed sometimes. I still do get angry, exasperated. I still haven't regained my full patience. It will take work, and that's what I believe – understand, it's a work in progress. It's like building a beautiful couture dress, it takes time. It's a work of art. It takes time. You are the art piece, and you are just slowly, you know, getting primped up. (#17).

Knowing self
All women felt that they had learned about the self and were regaining control of their life. Many felt confident that they were better able to recognize their needs, what triggered their moods, and that they could identify ways and means to ensure that those needs were met:

There's so much more to juggle. When you come home, you be [come] a wife, you be [come] a mother, and ... something, one time or another has got to give, you can't always be catching the ball. You need to take a break to recharge. I think that's important, sometimes we just forget to recharge. (#3).

Some women felt that having had depression and attended to its management, that they had undergone a "growing experience". One woman expressed this sentiment as:

I learned about myself. It was almost a gift in that, I don't know how to describe this..... I learned about myself... I've learned to take time for myself. (#19).

Some were surprised to realize that they had not been able to communicate how they had felt when they were at their lowest. As well, many identified a previous lack of awareness about the possibility of experiencing depression during pregnancy:

I never thought that I would have worries. I didn't know that I should look out for, you know, these types of things. (#16).

As the research participants recounted their experiences, many told of why they had participated in this study. Women felt it was important that other women be aware that depression can occur during pregnancy, and if it does, women should talk about their problems. Indeed, all of the women in this study identified a need to talk as part of the therapeutic process.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this study was because I really think it's important for women that are pregnant, either the first time, the second time, that if they really think that they can't handle it any more, they really need to talk to somebody. It's important. (#3).
Part 8 will be published soon.

The researchers were Heather Bennett, Heather Boon, Sarah Romans and Paul Grootendorst. The above is a partially modified reproduction of their research. Also their references have been omitted for ease of reading.

Bennett HA, Boon HS, Romans SE, Grootendorst P. Becoming the best mom that I can: women's experiences of managing depression during pregnancy – a qualitative study. BMC Women's Health 2007, 7:13 (11 September 2007). © 2007 Bennett et al., licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (

Related articles:
Pregnancy and Vitamin D Deficiency
Dealing with Depression during Pregnancy – Part 1
Depression During Pregnancy – Part 2
Women With Depression During Pregnancy – Part 3
Pregnancy: Depression, Antidepressant Drugs and The Baby – Part 4
Pregnancy and Depression Seeking Support – Part 5
Dealing With Depression During Pregnancy – Part 6

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