When I got pregnant, I knew that motherhood was going to change me. I knew I wouldn’t be able to live a spontaneous life anymore and would have to put more thought into planning my day-to-day activities. I knew little things would be more complicated such as making dinner or doing laundry, simply because a tiny human would be relying on me every waking moment. There were things that I didn’t account for, though.
I’ve had depression since I was about 16 years old. I have always been able to manage it without medications and through various coping mechanisms. But during my pregnancy, it became unmanageable. I couldn’t get out of bed on my days off. I spent most of my time crying, and even the smallest tasks were impossible. Then, I started taking antidepressants, and it made life a lot more tolerable.
Once I had my daughter, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. It was getting worse and worse as time went on. My doctors began upping the dose of my medication to keep up with the worsening symptoms. Eventually, it evened off. But even today (6 months postpartum), I can’t use the same coping mechanisms as before my pregnancy.
Pregnancy changed me in other ways as well. Before my pregnancy, I was completely set on having a career. I never thought I would be the type of woman that would want to become a stay-at-home mom. I knew I would love my child and spending time with my child, but I also knew I would need a break.
Funny enough, though, I was wrong.
I do love my child, and I love spending time with my child. The idea of bringing her to a babysitter every day absolutely kills me. I now want nothing more than to be with my child and watch her grow and learn every day, and it hurts that I don’t have the resources to do that.
Lastly, it changed how I connect with other people. The experiences I had while pregnant and postpartum helped me connect better with those also suffering from depression and other parents. Before becoming a parent, you never really understand how difficult some decisions and challenges can be. After having a baby, your thought process on a lot of things gets reframed. It has helped me connect better and become a better support system for my friends who are also mothers.
Mentally, I was in a completely different headspace before getting pregnant. While motherhood has changed me in different ways than I imagined, it has also given me the gift of my daughter. It’s okay that motherhood has changed me: It was supposed to, and I don’t regret it one bit.