How Robin Williams has helped me talk about my pregnancy experience

I think it’s safe to say the entire world is saddened by the news of Robin Williams’ death. Not only because of his legacy in show business, but also about how his life ended. There’s a lot of internet chatter today about mental health, eliminating the stigma and how we can bring it more out into the open.

For weeks now, I’ve wanted to write about my actual pregnancy experience here on the blog. But, I haven’t. So I’ve instead stayed silent.

And it’s due to a couple of reasons.

First, I should be so lucky to get pregnant and be blessed to have children. I truly do feel blessed and fortunate to be able to have kids, especially with such a ridiculously supportive husband. Seriously – that guy has more maternal instincts than I do.

Secondly, I have also felt that it’s something I’d be able to talk about once the pregnancy is all over and we’ve welcomed our second child into our lives. I thought it’d be better timed so that it didn’t seem like I was whining while in the midst of it all.

But why not talk about it now?

So…here goes. I’ve struggled with prenatal depression.

I don’t feel like myself. It’s hard to get work done. I’ve felt anxious. I just wanted to stay in bed. And for a while, I was sad a lot of the time. There were a lot of tears.

As parents, and especially as women, we’re expected to be thrilled about the pregnancy and there’s a lot of talk about having ‘the glow’. Fortunately, there is an increased awareness and dialogue about postpartum depression. But according to some reports, one in four women deal with some level of prenatal depression.

I ensured I communicated a lot with my husband about it as well as my doctors. I’m guessing the blues had a lot to do with being so sick in the first half of the pregnancy. It’s hard not to feel down about things when you’re spending a lot of the day hugging the toilet. It could have also been related to the medication I’ve been on to help reduce my vomiting and nausea. Since the nausea has reduced, so has my anxiety.

I had some of these same symptoms with my first pregnancy, but not to this degree. As soon as Alex came into the world, I felt like myself again.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s okay not to enjoy it. I don’t feel like myself when I’m pregnant, and that’s okay. Instead, I’ve tried to take it one day at a time, and reflect on what the outcome will be: welcoming yet another love of my life into the world.

Baby Alex

The news about Robin Williams made me think about how silly it was not to talk about my experience, especially if it is relatable for other women. When I learned of a mutual friend having suffered from prenatal depression, I reached out to her and she immediately made me feel ‘normal’ for facing such struggles. That kind of support goes a long way.

I’ve been scared to talk about it on the blog, because I think it sounds selfish when people ‘complain’ about pregnancy. But sometimes there’s a deeper level to it. And we should be able to talk about it.




12 thoughts on “How Robin Williams has helped me talk about my pregnancy experience

  1. Fantastic post Cathy. My thoughts are that no matter what we say or don’t say there are always going to be people that judge. However, generally there are so many people that can relate and feel support from women actually talking about their issues. We had problems getting pregnant and if it wasn’t for the other women sharing their trials and tribulations I don’t know how I would have made it through.
    So congratulations on sharing your story, it takes courage and I hope that you feel better soon.

  2. This article is me totally, and yes it is hard to talk to people without being judged. thanks for talking about it good to know I’m not alone:)

  3. This line stuck out to me: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s okay not to enjoy it.” This is true for pregnancy and for parts of having kids. We don’t enjoy it all, and that doesn’t me we don’t love our kids, want our pregnancies, or understand how lucky we are. I had an emotionally challenging second pregnancy and it was the people who got that it was scary and sad for even as it was happy and exciting made it so much easier for me to hold the joy a little more. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Fantastic post Cathy!! It takes enormous courage to write about personal anxiety and depression. Having personally dealt with depression, I feel for you.
    I am so thankful there are people like Clara Hughes in the forefront, speaking about their own personal struggles. It’s conversation like hers as well as yours that helps others.
    I too, hope you are feeling better very soon.

  5. Feeling down during what we perceive should be a happy time is huge added pressure. It’s a dance for me to balance acknowledging what’s really going on when it’s dark and sticky and messy without letting it consume me or swallow me whole. When other people share their own stuff, it reminds me that I’ve been to the other greener pasture before and I’ll be there again, and that for the good to truly be good, we must have experienced the dark side at some time or another. And hopefully with experience we pick up some really sweet dance moves. Thanks you for sharing Cathy. You’re incredibly awesome.

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