Depression In The First Trimester: My Story

Motherhood, Pregnancy

May 20, 2019

I’ve sat down at my computer to write this post about overcoming depression in the first trimester numerous times, but it just hasn’t happened. Maybe this will be the time I pour out my heart and hit publish. Maybe… 

Pregnancy is a tricky time for me. 

It’s more than an “ends justifies the means” situation. I mean, there are parts of pregnancy that I absolutely love. Sitting here, with my sweet baby boy kicking me from the inside is at the top of the list. 

Now well into my second trimester and nearing my third, I have more good days than bad. I’ve settled into the pregnancy routine I’ve grown to know so well, this being my third time around. But, it didn’t start out so well. 

I found out I was pregnant the day after Christmas. It’s was quite a surprise, since we hadn’t been trying.

And actually, we still hadn’t fully “decided” on whether or not we wanted to have a third baby. We had a more, if it happens, it happens, attitude. In the back (maybe more like the front) of my mind, I thought it was a very real possibility that it wouldn’t happen. We tried for a year with both of our girls, and I didn’t have another year of trying in me. I’m turning 39 this year. I’m no spring chicken, and neither are my eggs.

Maybe it was because this pregnancy was a surprise. Maybe I wasn’t emotionally prepared for it. Whatever the reason, depression hit me hard during the first trimester. 

A little history:

I haven’t dealt with depression much in my life. Anxiety, though? That’s a different story. Anxiety and I go way back. I can worry about pretty much anything and everything. And also, nothing. (Which is usually the case with anxiety.) Read about my decision to take Zoloft during pregnancy here.

Feeling depressed was a new feeling for me. It caught me off guard, and I felt totally unprepared. 

Looking back, I can see it was the perfect storm for depression to hit. 

I’d suffered from morning sickness with my previous 2 pregnancies, but this time it was even worse and on a different level. I was throwing up, and the only time I didn’t feel sick was when I was actually eating food. So, to help quell the horrible nausea, I ate all the food. And not the foods I typically eat in my normal life. The bad food. The greasy food. The donut food. Anything that had carbs was fair game. 

Around nine weeks, the pounds started to add up. I saw it happening, but I couldn’t do anything about it. 

Exercise was non-existent. And for me, that’s a problem. I feel best in my life when I’m active. Even for a little bit each day, getting my heart rate up and just moving makes me feel like…ME.

It was a challenge to sit up, much less take a walk around the block or sweat in the gym. It just wasn’t going to happen. 

Sleep was hard, too. The relentless nausea made it hard to fall asleep, and I was also suffering from insomnia, which is new for me. 

For the first time in my life, I opened my eyes each morning and was instantly filled with dread. Mornings were no longer my happy place. I didn’t jump out of bed, ready to start my day and get it cracking before my girls woke up. 

Instead, I opened my eyes and the depression washed over me and the weight of it all settled there for the day. Right in the middle of my chest. I didn’t want to face another day. I didn’t want to struggle through it. 

Somehow, though, I did. I got out of bed. I got dressed. I fed my girls. We played. We read books. I made lunch. 

I rose. Again and again and again. I rose.

And as soon as my husband got home from work each day, I collapsed into his arms and I cried. He took over like a champ, and I went off to bed, where I curled into a ball, crying myself to sleep. 

Eventually, as the days slowly ticked by and the weeks passed, my nausea improved and I gained more energy. Right at 12 weeks, I started going back to my favorite work-out class, where I was finally able to escape from everything for an hour.

Sweat poured out of me. My heartrate was well above the 140 (old school) standard. I was SLOW and my breath was thick and my feet were heavy. 

But. Something happened in that dark, sweaty room. I remembered who I was. Before my body wasn’t mine anymore. Before I was leveled by exhaustion and sickness. I remembered me. 

There have been ups and downs since my first day feeling more like me again, but overall, it’s pretty darn good.

These days, I wake up filled with hope. For the day, for my family, and for the sweet babe inside of me. 

My hope is that my story reaches at least ONE woman who is currently struggling in her pregnancy. Who feels like she’s lost herself, afraid she won’t be able to find her way back. 

Here’s what I will say: This too shall pass. You WILL feel OK again. You will enjoy the things you once did. The clouds will lift. You will be able to walk around the block. Or maybe even run. 

You will rise. 

(A note: If the depression does not lift, do not wait to get help. If you’re struggling with depression, talk to your Doctor. You don’t have to struggle through it. There is help.)


Dealing with depression in the dirst trimester
  1. Miranda says:

    It’s like you were inside my brain during my first trimester last summer. It feels like it will never end and I too collapsed and cried as soon as my husband would get home. Thank you so much for writing this. ❤

    • suzanne says:

      I’m sorry you went through this, too. Thank you SO much for sharing your story, too. It’s so nice to know we’re not alone. Thanks, mama. <3

  2. Jilly says:

    Love you boo ?

  3. ALICE says:

    I stumbled on your Blog and WS and am impressed! I want to highly commend you for your honest, open discussion about dealing with depression during your pregnancy. I have suffered with mental health issues my entire life, brought on by a very traumatic childhood. Two years ago I left a corporate sales position that I held over 20 yrs, to dedicate my life as a mental health advocate
    Mental illness is no respecter of persons. Things such as the depression you spoke of, can come over anyone at any time. You are in fashion, so I would mention Kate Spade. The tragedy in her life I believe personally, was too little too late. It seems as though you had a good support system to pull you through. I again commend your openness as many are unwilling to discuss such matters due to stigma and shame. I would welcome anyone to visit their local NAMI (National Alliance for Mentally Ill). They hold free classes for those suffering from mental illness, as well as classes for family members to learn how to cope and help their loved one.
    In June I will be sworn in as Vice President of our local Board. You can also follow my Blogs at my WS http://www.searchingforgrey.com
    I do not give my web add out for notariety. This is a serious matter that almost took my life and that does take the lives of many, every day. I love your sense of style and authenticity! Keep up the great work! Signed, a new Fan! Alice

  4. Amber says:

    I’m so glad I seen this today. I’m 6 weeks pregnant and depression has reared its ugly head again. I thought I would be so happy and excited but instead. Have panic attacks and crying spells. I feel like a horrible mom. I pray these hormones settle down soon!

    • suzanne says:

      You are not a horrible mom! It will get better. Try to be nice to yourself, even though it’s so damn hard. You’re definitely not alone, mama.

  5. Kerri says:

    Thank you for this. I’m 8 weeks pregnant with my first and I’m constantly anxious. And like you, I’m usually very active and maintain a pretty healthy diet. These things just can’t happen at the moment as I’m exhausted and carbs are my only friend. I’m really hoping these feelings pass after first trimester..here’s to hoping!! I definitely wasn’t expecting pregnancy to be like this.

  6. Rachael says:

    I’m on third pregnancy on week 7 and this has been the toughest yet, I thought it was just me but so good to know I’m not alone. I know it will be worth it but God this trimester is tough and I have been so low. Nice to feel I may be more normal than I feel right now x

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