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New Here, Feeling Guilty about depression, 2nd baby

So I'm reaching out with my husband's encouragement. I am 35 and 16 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby boy. I have a complex relationship with depression, my health, and pregnancy and feel incredibly guilty about being depressed. Bear with me as I explain. First, I have an amazing husband whom I dearly love, but depression is making me feel very distant from him. Similarly, I have an awesome 2 year old son (3 in September) that I feel like I've checked out on. I did not struggle with fertility, did not have more than a month or so of baby blues with my first pregnancy, have had no morning sickness with either pregnancy, and am having a very healthy pregnancy unlike the first time around.

Here's where it gets complicated. I have struggled with depression all my life and am normally on 10mg Lexapro. With my 1st child, I found myself quite happy being off the medication, which I attributed to excitement and hormones. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 4 months pregnancy, had surgery, 6 rounds of chemo, lots and lots of doctors appts. I have been clear ever since, thank God. I anticipated this "normal" pregnancy to feel a bit anticlimactic without all the attention, and it has. Also, expecting a child of the same sex, while mildly disappointing, also dampens my excitement (what little there is) because it's not new. Given my experience with my first pregnancy this all, logically, seems selfish and silly since I should be happy that I even conceived, let alone am having a healthy pregnancy!

I have been quite depressed since the start of the year, seeking intermittent counseling, upping my lexapro dose, etc. It has waxed and waned but been quite persistent even after we conceived (planned) in March. I am not currently on medication because 1) I assumed my hormones would kick in the way they did before, 2) I am adverse to taking meds while pregnant, ironic given my history. But in lieu of meds I have tried several natural depression remedies - exercise (how much makes a difference? I'm doing yoga, thinking of adding swimming), making myself stay involved with friends at church, enrolled my son PT at daycare at a therapist's suggestion to free up some time for me as a SAHM, etc. What else can I do?

My energy is low (helped by a cup of coffee which I'm not thrilled with either), I'm showing but I have not gained any weight, I feel withdrawn and sad, cry easily, am anxious about the future in many ways. The biggest part of depression's negative effect is that I'm relying so much on TV to entertain my little boy, whereas before we were outside, at the park, swimming, playing, reading. And I know he is concerned (more than a little guy should be) to see me upset when I am overcome. I am also scared that my moods are having a negative influence on the new baby. I want to be happy and excited, but I just feel lost.
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replied July 2nd, 2014

Welcome to the ehealthforum and I am really glad to help you out.

I can understand your concern for depression during pregnancy. You are already trying to keep yourself busy and occupied. You should talk to your friends and family and join self help groups. Also join antenatal classes and try to be around people.

If the depression persists then you may need psychotherapy and medicines for which you should consult a psychiatrist.

I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and regards.
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