I will be doing interviews with people that suffer mental illnesses. Each interview will have a subject to focus on. My hope is that we will help others understand that they are not alone and there are all types of people that suffer.
Todays interview will feature a soon to be mother. She will tell us about the struggles she has faced due to her mental illnesses and how she defeated them. Pregnancy does not always mean perfect beautiful glow and astounding preciousness. Sometimes it is hard, especially for those that have a battle within.
Tell us a little about yourself first.
My name is Morgan, and I’m 26 years old. I’ve been married to my husband for four years this June. We are already the happy parents to two great cats named Sensei and Neko. We are expecting our first child in April, a girl we will be naming Calliope Mae. I’m currently taking a small break from school thanks to baby, but I plan on returning part time this fall to work on my history degree. I love humans, and I believe that knowing our past can help us with our future.
My minor is anthropology, which is an extremely interesting field (to me). My husband is finishing up his graduate degree in Operations Management in December. When we have free time, we love to travel. In the states, we’ve been to Miami, Chicago, Key West, New York City, Atlanta, New Orleans, Gatlinburg, and Nashville… Outside of the states, we’ve been to the Bahamas.
With baby coming soon, we are taking a small hiatus from traveling, but we will pick up and take her with us when she is a bit bigger.
What mental illnesses do you battle?
I have been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. I have also dealt with depression in the past, but that was before I began seeking help for my illnesses.
What are the coping skills that work for you?
I started therapy about a year ago. My therapist suggested that I go see a psychiatrist, because I could definitely benefit from medication. My psychiatrist then diagnosed me with anxiety and ADHD. At the time, my husband and I were trying to conceive. My psychiatrist and my OB-GYN worked together to approve a low-dose SSRI that would be okay to take should I become pregnant. For me, that was 20 mg of Celexa.
I take this every day, and I attend therapy at least twice a month. I am currently unmedicated for my ADHD, as there are no safe medications to take while pregnant. I’ve had to add other things to my self-care list. Pregnancy is hard, man.
I find myself worrying about the littlest things, which I’m sure is common for others during this time. Having open communication with my partner is key. For example, last night I laid in bed and cried to him about how I feel I’ll be less important to him after I give birth, and how I feel scared I’ll lose my identity. He reassured me that I’ll always be important to him and that we can make sure that I don’t lose a part of myself after having Calliope. I also find that when I’m alone or at the house for too long, my symptoms worsen. I work during the week, but on the weekends I have to make sure I leave my house and go somewhere.
It doesn’t matter where, as long as there are other people around. I don’t even have to interact with them. My favorite place to go is Target, although maybe my bank account would suggest going somewhere else.
How has your illness effected your pregnancy?
I second guess everything. I spent the first twenty weeks scared out of my mind. I did have two miscarriages prior to this pregnancy, so that could have something to do with it. I had a smaller version of an anxiety attack before every appointment (think increased heart rate and breathing, as well as being snappy with my husband and family).
If I hadn’t been medicated at that time, I believe it would have been worse. After I hit twenty four weeks, also known as ‘viability day’, I began to feel some relief and only have mild worries until I can hear her heart beat at the appointments. It was a good feeling to know that she could survive outside of my womb at that point.
My OB has told me many times that my previous miscarriages were not my fault, and that nothing I could have done would have prevented them. However, when I told him that I was diagnosed with anxiety and needed medication, he said it would be good for me and the baby to not be stressed out. I don’t know if my stress and worries caused my prior losses, but I know it did nothing to help.
What are you scared of when it comes to the baby being born and your illnesses?
I’m nervous that I will develop postpartum depression. I have been in some very low places in my life, and I can’t imagine being there again while having to care for my daughter. I’m scared that I’ll be so scatterbrained (thanks to my ADHD) that my daughter won’t receive the level of care she should from me.
What advice can you give pregnant moms that suffer from mental illnesses?
Take everything one day at a time! You might not be feeling mentally well one day. Don’t let that drag you into a spiral of darkness if you can help it. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are people out there – doctors, therapists, friends – who don’t want you to struggle alone. I was worried that taking medication wouldn’t be the best thing for my child while I was pregnant, but honestly, having a mom who isn’t crying every day and having panic attacks weekly is the best thing I could do for my daughter.
Morgan is one of the most deserving and strong women I know. She has been my friend for almost 10 years now and I am so proud to call her my friend. I am convinced that the people you meet on the internet can become some of the most important people in your life.
Thanks for reading,