Depressed or Just Pregnant?

I just wrote a paper called 'Drinking the Pregnancy Lemonade: Medical and Societal Denial of Prenatal Depression'. Part of the paper discussed the challenges of diagnosing depression in pregnant women, because of the overlap of symptoms. I thought you might find this interesting.

DSM-IV TR: Major Depressive Disorder vs. 

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Criteria: dysphoria and anhedonia...

Normal mood swings of depression can take your emotions places they've never gone before, both to exhilarating highs and depressive lows... Pregnancy can be a time of high anxiety... a certain amount of worry is normal, and probably unavoidable. (p.165)

..and four of the following every day for at least two weeks, combined with distress/impairment in functioning: Significant weight or appetite change,

From the fourth month on, start watching your weight
to make sure it begins to move upward at the appropriate rate...
(p. 181) 

Insomnia or hypersomnia,

Sleep problems are common in pregnancy, and...
may be good preparation for the sleepless nights that lie ahead once your baby arrives... (p. 204)

Psychomotor retardation or agitation,

15 percent or so of pregnant women...experience restless leg syndrome... (p. 289)

Fatigue or loss of energy,

Physical or mental fatigue can... exacerbate the symptoms of morning sickness
(conversely, severe morning sickness can increase fatigue). (p. 131)

Feelings of guilt or worthlessness,

Dreams of... being unprepared for the baby when he or she arrives can reveal the common fear that you're not up to being a mother... Dreaming about becoming unattractive or repulsive to your spouse...expresses the common fear that pregnancy will...
make you unappealing to your partner. (p. 292)

Reduced ability to think or concentrate,

Like numerous other symptoms, forgetfulness is caused by the hormonal changes of pregnancy. Sleep deprivation can also play a role (the less you sleep, the less you remember)... (p. 215)

Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Topping the list of most common concerns, understandably, is a fear of miscarriage.
Fortunately, most expectant worriers end up worrying unnecessarily. (p. 140)

Editing birth stories in my spare time.

Since I'm not on Facebook, and I'm not blogging very much, and I'm not tweeting hardly ever, and I haven't checked my phone messages in a week, I thought I'd let you know what we've been up to.

Zu is doing all his Zu stuff (cooking, cleaning, working full-time, putting out - being a good housewife), Tiyo is doing a lot of hammering and has learned a new word (starts with 'n', ends with 'o',, and I'm still seeing clients and doing my backlog of schoolwork editing birth stories. Yes, I think I have found my life's calling. I am a born birth-story editor. I love love love love it.

I've been working for January at Birth Without Fear, which is pretty much the best birth blog you'll ever lay eyes on (it even won an award!) and publishes several birth stories a week, usually on a daily basis. The idea is to build a repository of real birth experiences and a community of birth/health advocates, to bring some balance to the strange misconceptions our society has about birth, women's bodies, pregnancy, and how it should all be done lying down.

Lithotomy Position from The Business of Being Born doc

My job is to read women's stories, edit them for clarity and grammar, and insert the beautiful pictures that have been sent in. It's simple but it feels good, and it fits in well with the chaos of daily life around here. It's a job that can be done in fits and spurts, and I can leave it and pick up where I left off. Often, it makes me cry.

Here are some of the stories I've worked on:

I am consistently blown away by the strength of the women writing these stories, their love for their babies, and the commitment they have, often in the face of institutional disregard, to the birth process. Some have natural births, some have cesareans; some birth their babies alone in a tub of water and others invite their whole families. There is a range of possibilities for birth, but it always has the possibility of being a profound, spiritual experience. I haven't written up Sweet Baby James' birth story, but I'd better do it sometime in the next six months...

I've also been writing articles for Birth Without Fear, about the fear-mongering and faulty logic in anti-bed-sharing campaigns, the need to look after postpartum mothers, and the controversial Quebecois 'Moi Aussi, J'allaite' breastfeeding campaign.

Oh, and I starred in this independent film.