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28Aug 13

Pregnancy, Antidepressants & Guilt

Sertraline,Fluoxetine,Peroxetine, Angeline? I see a song forming here  ;) … What was your choice? Mine was fluoxetine which I had been on during the first episode of PND which really helped calm me down and help me to slow down my thoughts but during my pregnancy I was changed to a new drug called Sertraline and it helped. There is a lot of bad press when it comes to taking anti depressants whilst pregnant but as I learned, the risks are very much few and far between and if there are some side effects, they can be dealt with IF they happen and that includes any issues with the heart.. I had to weigh it up in my mind as to what was more detrimental.. my mental health declining rapidly and having an effect on my daughter and relationship with my husband..or dealing with a new born with possible withdrawal symptoms if I wasn’t able to breastfeed, but would dissapear from their system with no harm done.

Guess what I chose? I made the conscious decision after speaking with my CBT therapist, and really understanding the fears that I had and the stigmas in my own mind, challenging them and reading the information that there is regarding anti depressants and pregnancy and I decided to take them. I was able to make an informed choice and to dissect the fears that were keeping me awake at night when trying to figure out what to do, and this is one of the reasons why I feel, this time , that I managed to get through PND much quicker second time round.  Now, I know and I understand that this is not the choice for everyone to make and I am not here to tell anyone what to do because it is an individual and personal choice. What I would like to say is that there are a lot of health professionals who would advise against this but I attended a conference which was for health professionals  to gain a much better understanding of Perinatal Mental Health and one of the top consultants in this field, Dr Roch Cantwell who spoke about anti depressants which were safe to take throughout pregnancy and breast feeding, and also spoke about the ones which were not safe to take.

I am happy to say that nearly 6 months after having my second child, I am anti depressant free and although I have my bad days, it doesn’t mean that I am falling back into the depression but that its simply a normal stressful parenting day.  I know the warning signs to look out for and if I felt myself slipping back, I know that there is counselling as well as medication if needed and that there is absolutely no shame in taking antidepressants at all. You do what you do in order to survive in life.  They helped me at a time that I couldn’t cope , and for that I am appreciative.


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About Coping with postnatal depression…

Hi, my name is Angeline and I am mum to two kids, ages 6 months and 6 yrs. I had postnatal depression with both kids and prenatal depression with one. I have decided to write about my experience in order to help break stigmas relating to perinatal mental health, and actively campaign to see changes to services available for both men and women.

I am open and honest about my experience and, although it was a very dark time in my life, I want people to know that you can overcome this and there is light on those dark days.