You Might Have Prenatal Depression If …


I kicked a laundry basket across the nursery yesterday. It slammed into the wall and the handle broke off. That’s too bad, because I really liked that laundry basket. That’s the second time I have damaged an object in my house from throwing or kicking it out of anger. The first time happened when I was mad at my husband. I don’t remember why I was mad. I was not pregnant at the time. The second time happened when I was mad at all the crap lying around the house and how desperately I just wanted to clean the house and take a shower, but found myself alone and helpless with a toddler. And pregnant this time. So, I don’t know if it’s just pregnancy hormones, or just me, or a bit of both.

I took my daughter to my mother’s house shortly after breaking the laundry basket. I didn’t want her to be around to see any more of that, or for her to be in the path of harm in case of more flying objects.

I hate being this way. As stated above, I really don’t know if it’s the pregnancy, or what seems like my lifelong predisposition toward depression and anger issues, or both. I hate not knowing, too.

And I hate most of all feeling like there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

The day I kicked the laundry basket, I missed a kids’ Halloween party I was supposed to bring my daughter to. This makes me really sad. Granted, it was postponed a week due to the snowstorm, and rescheduled to an inconvenient weekend for us (husband has drill so I was alone with the kid). But you would think I would have my sh#t together enough, after waking up at 9:00, to be showered and dressed and ready to go to an 11:00 party across town.

Instead, the minutes ticked by and I realized by 10:59 there was no way I was going to have the energy to get the baby in her costume, get me in something resembling clean clothes, and get ourselves packed up and in the car to get there before the whole thing ended at 1:00.

I used the excuse that I was exhausted and stressed from the pregnancy and from being alone with a 15-month-old, which is absolutely true. But, I could have gone. It would have been fun. I wanted to go.

Instead, I destroyed a laundry basket and realized I needed to bring my child somewhere to keep her out of the path of flying inanimate objects that becomes the victim of my rage when I feel hopeless.

I feel so humiliated and pathetic.

What scares me is, there was this other me watching myself sit in my pajamas all morning on the staircase. Other me said to get up and go to the party! It will be good! You can do it! It was like watching a movie of myself. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was very weird.

The start of the workweek is difficult, but normalizing. The darkness recedes and everything feels “normal” again. Clients to talk to, files to review, coffee to make. The nightmare of weekends at home fades until that empty but safe spot in my heart opens up again, and I can at least be at peace.

Today, though, something told me that this empty spot is no longer safe. I need to start writing about this and trying to get some help. The more the problem is denied, the more it eats away and destroys more than laundry baskets – friendships, family relationships, well-being.

I am probably going to regret hitting “Publish.”

9 comments on “You Might Have Prenatal Depression If …”

  1. Part of being a great mother is recognizing when you need a moment to step aside and hand over the reigns, even just for an afternoon. Your actions show me that you always have your daughter’s best interests at heart, and I know you do.

    These emotions can be hard to deal with, and add prenatal hormones into the mix and, well…

    I know you’re a fantastic parent. I see it in how great of a kid M is.

    I’m always right next door if you need me. Even if it’s to drop M off, even for a few minutes, to take a deep breath for yourself. I’m here, too, if you need someone to sit and talk with, or just sit quietly with. Please don’t hesitate!

  2. I’m touched by how many people are thanking me for posting this … had no idea that others would benefit from reading it … that makes me feel good. 🙂

  3. I literally just got off the phone with my husband seeking comfort for my “inappropriate” behavior this morning with my son. I’m 17 weeks pregnant with a two years and 5 months old at home. He would not sit still to get his sneakers on and I lost my cool. I was so upset with myself for getting mad at him. So, thank you for posting this! It really means a lot and is so timely with what I’m experiencing.

    I am able to identify my emotions better with this pregnancy than I could with the first, but that doesn’t mean I can control them at all times. Like last night, I asked my husband if he still loves me. This, of course, made him laugh, and then made me realize that I was having one of those emotional moments again just like with the first pregnancy. To your point about feeling guilty for having your upset emotions because their are homeless people and people with cancer, I don’t know if we can ever stop the feelings from coming (I think they’re hormone related), but maybe trying to recognize them when they’re happening and taking a time out or at least recognizing them right after in the hopes that next time, the laundry basket is spared.

    Thanks again!

  4. Thanks. Ultimately, I am glad I did post this after all. It was my third attempt to write out the post over a period of time due to similar feelings in the past. I’m also glad to hear that everyone thinks this is normal. Normal means that almost everyone deals with it, which doesn’t fix the problem but does indicate that there are likely ways to cope with it. The most challenging part is feeling like I don’t have the right to feel upset about anything … everything is going “right” so I just feel guilty about being so negative for what seems like no justifiable reason. There are people out there who are homeless, have cancer, whatever, so I have no right to feel bad about anything.

  5. Thank you so much for writing this post Melanie. I think we all could be more honest about stuff like this. I’m going to shoot you an email with an idea!

  6. I think you sound like a normal mother who is pregnant and dealing with a toddler, and I think you sound like an amazing mother because you realized that you should let you mom take your daughter and give yourself some time. I think all mothers with more than one can and WILL feel this way. I give you kudos for your honesty and I think more women will commend you and feel a connection for your candor. Hope you get a pedicure or some good food cooked for you Mommy!

  7. I think we all feel this way more than we would like to admit. Thank you for hitting “Publish.” We are so often asked to be supermoms, taking care if our kids by ourselves, while at the same time working that it gets a bit hairy sometimes. you are not alone, but it helps to get it out and get reassurance of that… Honestly there aren’t a slew if mom blogs on the internet because our lives are all picture perfect and we feel happy and wonderful all the time. I often wonder if my mom felt this way back when she was raising me and my sister, and the way she sympathizes and doesn’t judge when I get flustered with my kids lets me know she did, and that kind of makes me feel better. Hang in there and know we are here for you!

  8. Pregnancy with a toddler at home is a totally different animal than pregnancy on its own. It’s still amazing to me the amount of physical and emotional energy it takes to create a whole new person. Couple that with the amount of physical and emotional energy it takes to raise a toddler AND hold a challenging job…and yea. Every laundry basket in my house has a crack in it 🙂 You sound completely normal to me, as someone who went through this last winter/spring (but with an older toddler). There’s nothing wrong with skipping a party and resting…or not having a clean house! Thanks for a great post, and hope you’re feeling a bit better.

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