Can You Get Post Natal Depression After Miscarriage?

Can You Get Post Natal Depression After Miscarriage?

It’s been a bit of time now since I had a miscarriage and whilst it is easy I feel I may be vulnerable to post natal depression, but can you get Post Natal Depression after Miscarriage?

Now I have suffered from depression for years, I am quite open about this and manage it through exercise, CBT and sometimes happy pills when needed. I feel I am very aware of my mental health (sometimes this is a bad thing) but I have to be to make sure I give myself the best chance of being happy.

After I had a miscarriage I anticipated feeling a little depressed, I put into place all my support networks, stepped away from upsetting people and situations so I could focus on myself, upped my exercise to more running as this really helps me find peace. I was devastated, but that was normal, once the initial shock went and I started to be able to get through a day without crying over loss and grief I felt weighted.

Having had depression for most of my adult life (it isn’t something that ever really goes away just not always present or as bad) I expected miscarriage to trigger my usual depression, anxiety, the need to self harm, pushing people away, self indulgence and skewered perspective (the list goes on). However the weight feels different and similar to a different type of depression I’ve only felt once before.

Normal Depression Vs Post Natal Depression

It feels strange to talk about normal depression, as depression for one person is different to someone else’s depression. However normal for me follows a bit of a pattern, which through CBT I have learnt to identify and work through, I combine this with exercise and lovely endomorphins and this is often enough to keep me feeling good. There are times when I have to get more help, some private counselling or anti depressants but I am in a great position that I can often anticipate when I need help and when my normal strategies aren’t enough.

Since having the miscarriage I have been drained and empty. Physically I am not great and my mental health is in a state that I am not putting myself first enough, not eating well and not taking the supplements my body needs at the moment to recover. All I want to do is stay in bed, combined with being tired and drained I really have struggled to motivate myself and every chance I get (which isn’t much) I want to go back to bed.

The biggest change has been my children. I have 2 beautiful lovely children who my head is telling me to hold closer and love more fiercely having lost this pregnancy, but I can’t.

My maternal instinct seems to be numb

I am forcing myself to be around them and it is hard, I love them, I know I love them, I’m proud of them, but it is so hard being around them at the moment. A real struggle to be a good mum to them. I feel like I’m going through the motions but their is a wall between us.

Post Natal depression

The only time since having children I’ve not wanted my child near me is when Brutus was born, 5 days after his birth I was rushed back into hospital with a uterine infection from retained placenta after Post Partum haemorrhaging. I didn’t want my son near me, I loved him and didn’t want any harm to come to him but I wanted him away from me. No one allowed me that option though and he was forced on me and I had to carry on trying to breastfeed. It did the trick I got over those feelings pretty quickly which I do think was down to breastfeeding in my case but now I feel like this again.

I love my kids

I love my kids dearly, they make me laugh and they make me proud, I do everything I can to provide for them and even spoil them a bit too much. However since the miscarriage I just find it so hard to be around them. My daughter has always been clingy and this has always been hard but I also loved that she wanted and loved me. Right now having her cling to me all the time is making it really hard for me.

I don’t want to push them away, they have done nothing wrong and they don’t deserve this.However right now I am just going through the motions and I’m torn between wanting to run away and guilt of being a bad mother for feeling this way.

Post Natal Depression After Miscarriage

Pregnancy makes changes to your body, even in the early days of pregnancy you have hormone changes, I noticed with my second pregnancy my body ‘remembered’ being pregnant much quicker, my body jumped back into bump mode, with my first my bump didn’t pop till I was about 20 weeks, with my second I had a visible bump at 12 weeks so much so a neighbour asked if we were pregnant.

I have injured my hamstring quite badly and I wonder if this is down to my body still being soften from pregnancy, I went for a 8 km run not long after, I didn’t ease into it like I would post pregnancy because it was early days and I didn’t feel like I had been properly pregnant but my body didn’t react like it normally did and I injured myself.

It isn’t just the body that is affected by pregnancy hormones but also brain chemistry, this is why ante natal and post natal depression can occur. It is also probably why I felt a distinct different between my normal depression and anxiety and the feelings I felt during my pregnancy with Brutus and just after he was born.

After the miscarriage I felt grief and loss, compounded by grief of family and friends I’d also lost recently, some people seem to deal with miscarriages easily and put it behind them, I didn’t and felt silly as some people were saying “oh its not even a baby no reason to be upset”. After I opened up about my miscarriage I felt less alone in my struggle as a lot of people contacted me to say they had found it difficult and some said they were still struggling months and months later. You are likely in a position where you need to process through grief while also having a vulnerable brain chemistry. This can make the experience of healing feel impossible for many.

The whole attitude that women should stay quiet about their loss and just get on with things as if it isn’t a loss at all must amplify the risk of depression, combined with the hormones and brain chemistry changes this must be more common than I feel it is right now.

Dr. Ruta Nonacs, in her book A Deeper Shade of Blue, devotes writes about depression after Miscarriage and Still birth.

“Though emotional distress in pregnancy loss is normal, some women may develop more persistent or disabling psychological symptoms … Depression may also complicate the picture. One study found that during the six months following a miscarriage, about 10 percent of women showed signs of depression …

10 – 20% of pregnancies end in Miscarriage so whilst I know I’m far from being alone, my reaction to it feels lonely and my own grief is personal. Once I opened up about my miscarriage it really helped me as friends and followers came forward to support me, I got hugs and messages explaining their own personal recovery from miscarriage. I felt less alone and less like I was being self indulgent to still be upset about it. I felt more normal. However there has still been this niggle where I cannot be around my children, it is too hard, I go through the motions but my maternal instinct seems to be numb at the moment.

Little lost star, a poem about miscarriage