Why aren’t feminists talking about prenatal depression?

Pregnancy is so beautiful on social media. In real life, 3 out of 5 women are afraid to admit the 1st 4 months sucked and I hear the last 2 suck more.

Since I shared the news with my family and friends plus my audience that I am having a baby – I have cut off friends that have questioned everything they think a feminist should be: most of which contradicts the right for any woman to choose at what age they deem fit to be a mother and their right to choice on basic reproductive healthy and issues such as having an abortion. There is a belief among young Kenyan girls that feminism and a stable home (being married happily or having children with your partner) are parallel universes.

Every woman has a right to choose on whether to keep the baby or not. No one says a young feminist should have an abortion or be a single mother to be a ‘real feminist’ but sadly that’s how feminism and strength is seen to most women I’ve talked to lately. “Why are you keeping the baby at 24?” That’s a question I’ve had to not answer countless times.

Well, I cannot stand to hear another friend or woman tell me how my sex life will suck after the baby because the men she’s been with have told her she’s way better in bed than women with children (makes me question why such a topic would come up during sex) or how weight increase during pregnancy is unattractive.

Heck, I cannot stand anymore myopic questions on how I will stand for the rights of women while living with a man. I am more concerned about my health and that of my baby. I am worried I might lose my life creating one. I am always worried. On top of it all – I am worried about a baby I am yet to have.

So, what happens when a feminist gets pregnant?

9 months can seem like an eternity. At least for me it does. I am not the kind of woman that is going around showing people her ultrasound pictures. I do not glare adorably at babies as I build castles in the air. I do not have baby names in mind. I am simply a tired feminist feeling like I am losing myself.

I cannot wait to not be pregnant. At this point, life is just an existence and I am simply existing. I can imagine what the people around me are enduring because they love me and care. I am a walking human flesh that smells good and talks once in a while.

I have lost my humor and sense of excitement. Generally, I am a walking human being counting days waiting eagerly to get a life out of me. I wish I could speed up time. That would be perfect. I am curious to see my child but until then, I am just a tired lazy woman. I used to be energetic and lively. Not anymore.

No one’s support with the pregnancy is good enough for me. Everyone in my life right now either doesn’t love me enough or understand me at all or it’s both for the unlucky ones. I appreciate every support at work but with this pregnancy – no support is enough. At all.

Women go through a lot during pregnancy, the good men do too. I wouldn’t know much about men and pregnancy though. I am not a man but that is what I have been told by men with children.

 

Pregnancy on movies is amazing. In real life? Sucks!! Honestly sucks.  For many women, admitting that they hate being pregnant makes them feel ungrateful or unappreciative to even be able to be a mother, so they either keep quiet about how they feel or get down on themselves as a result which gets them depressed. It is happening. So, I admit…

I have not enjoyed my pregnancy one single bit. In fact, Pregnancy has made me realise how much I am quite the unhappy woman. I do not feel lucky. I feel smouldered. Yet, I still have to prepare for the baby. The preparation is supposed to make me feel better. Apparently. I am supposed to be more excited.

I am going for my 2nd scan at the end of the month. This, and other things like buying baby stuff and starting to get ready are underway. Why? Because I am responsible. Full stop. I am not doing it out of excitement. I am nothing close to being happy. I haven’t felt my heart smile in days. I throw up, bloat and sometimes cry by myself. I am losing love for myself everyday. As a feminist, these are things I never thought would happen to me – but they are.

I know it sounds ridiculous but a lot of women go through this. We are simply afraid to admit the misery of pregnancy and sometimes motherhood.

As a feminist, I can hear myself roll my eyes when I complain of how hard pregnancy is. As a woman, hands down – any mother is a hero.

Pregnancy can make a strong woman fall down on her knees. I am on my knees most days. I hate my life. I hate food. I hate some people. The only thing I am committed to right now that keeps me busy is my magazine.

I don’t play chess anymore. That was my only hobby. I hate it right now. I do not want to eat some foods. I am just existing. No one can make me happy. Not even pizza. I hate the heat and the cold. I hate water. I hate soda. I hate my clothes and my house.

I have not been in love with anything or anyone ever since I got pregnant. Makes me wonder how parenting is. Is it any better? From what I see – it must be. Should be.

Pregnancy without unconditional support from your partner, friends or family can lead to depression. Sometimes you can have the support and still, it is not enough to make you happy. From what I have read, younger women are likely to be depressed than older women.

Most days I am afraid of sinking into depression. Can depression affect my baby? Apparently it will!

That is why you need to talk about it, seek medical help and generally be healthy. According to my doctor and baby center:
Depressed pregnant women show higher levels of prenatal stress hormone (cortisol) compared to healthy women, a possible explanation for some associated risks. Women who are depressed during pregnancy have smaller babies in mid pregnancy and slower fetal growth compared to non depressed women. They’re more likely to have premature delivery and babies with low birth weight.

Newborns of depressed moms show significantly higher urinary stress hormone themselves, compared to those of healthy mothers, which makes them more stress reactive, temperamentally difficult, and more challenging to care for and soothe.

In terms of long-term outcomes, there’s some evidence that children exposed to maternal depression in pregnancy face more social and emotional problems as young children, such as aggression and other conduct problems. Negative impact on child IQ and language has also been proposed. Some researchers suggest that the outcomes are worst or only found for those children whose mothers show recurrent depression, with episodes in pregnancy and again later in development, or for those children who are exposed to additional risks, such as maltreatment.

Yet, anti depressants can also affect the baby. So, what are we meant to do? Like seriously though: what? I am stuck on this one by the way.

Pregnancy is something feminism hasn’t fully explored. Should I just eat healthy and keep crying? This is sonething I need help understanding.

How is your pregnancy? How was it?  If you’re happy – share your secret to many of us silently struggling.

Unless am alone in this. Is pregnancy this challenging? Does it get better? Feminism prepared me for everything: misogyny, cultural injustices, inequality, the struggle except pregnancy. So, why are feminists not talking about prenatal pregnancy?

Ps# I aim at crowdfunding daily in every platform I can for the Magazine and Hub’s Maverick Woman Project because we are yet to even reach 1% of our goal hence the project wont be able to run.

Any support including sharing on your social media will be a huge help. This is the link for indiegogo (one can give from $5) and this is the link for my Kenyan audience for mchanga (One can give from ksh 10).

Thank you!

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15 thoughts on “Why aren’t feminists talking about prenatal depression?

  1. omg… pregnancy is really all that, no silver lining at all? Hope the sun will shine your way soon and fill you with love and light. Meanwhile stay strong!

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  2. Baby girl my pregnancy was weird in real life I carried fir 9 months but in my head I actually carried him for 2 months lol long story.It was nothing close to beautiful I hated everything literally, only food made me happy,I was unsexy,unhealthy, unbothered.All I wanted was my baby’s weight to get to more than 2kgs that Is it
    So baby girl you will struggle with pregnancy, labour,after labour for like 12 more months till he/she stops being nagging and a wailer.motherhood it’s highs are really high and it’s lows are alot and really low.I know I am not saying anything beautiful but here is one,It will make you different because you will be so drawn and so in your zone and your friends without babies will not get why you cannot hang without dozing off or why you cannot club anymore lol but hang in there every baby is a blessing in his own way for every person.About your relationship trust me the strain will be there but if yall get through this and get on the other side you guys are literally soulmates😂😂most people do not get there kwanza if you live together with an infant your sex life Is scheduled and no sex life does not get boring after babies but you have to give yourself time to heal but it gets more Beautiful in a way that is😊

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  3. About depression yes you hang by a thread between two worlds but I used to tell myself I cannot afford to slip on the other side because I am way too cooler and my baby needs me okay and babies grow eventually and your life is back to normal ish.

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  4. This is exactly what I’m going through.. I’ve finally found someone that talks about what we really go through. I am still waiting for that happy part if it ever comes.I’m also 24.I hate everything, I miss being able to drink water and not throwing up almost immediately 😦 I could go on and on.
    All the best though

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  5. I also got my baby at 24…24 is a weird age. I was actually in between excited and scared…not really hate. I never hated that I’m pregnant coz I guess I never hated anything. But I never liked anything either. I was not moody or moodless. I think for me I just went through the entire process like a zombie. I didn’t have ANY support from except from my siz. That was scary and depressing, but we went though it. He just turned 2…terrible two.. We have had our good and bad days. Somedays I’m excited to be his mom, somedays I wish I could turn back the hands of time, like I was just not prepared for this. Either way, I have started seeing the next president in him. So I give him my 101% and that has helped a lot.

    You will get through it Ella. Don’t fret, let it just flow. And maybe you will excited when you finally see his face. Or maybe you’ll get into post-natal depression like I did. Either way, you are a strong woman, know you know it.

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  6. Know that there are many women out here who feel as you do. There will be days you feel you are winning at life and days where you question how you even allowed yourself to even get pregnant. But as I read in a million baby blogs- this too shall pass. And it does…really.

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