Antenatal depression after IVF

Hi everyone. I've hesitated about posting this mostly as I didn't want to seem ungrateful or negative after being lucky enough to get this far. But I wanted to share this just in case anyone else is going through what I am. I've honestly not found very much on the subject and feel a bit like a nut case so even if I do sound ungrateful or self-pitying hopefully by sharing I'll help someone feel not quite so alone like I do at the moment.

We are lucky enough to be 18 weeks pregnant (will be 19 on Tuesday) and little one is doing well so far. I had a lot of depression that really skyrocketed after the second round of IVF where we had an early miscarriage. This carried on all the way into our third cycle. I've been negative and tired all the time, I haven't cared about things I used to love, I don't want to do anything even things I like and I often just have these crying fits over such little things. Honestly most mornings getting out of bed is this traumatic struggle.

Even all through our third cycle, every 'positive' point we came to I was still just negative and not uplifted at all, always expecting for the next disappointment and the next thing to go wrong. Unfortunately we lost one of our twins really early in this (our third cycle) which has all fed into this dark feeling I've been sucked into.

So now it's come to 18.5 weeks pregnant with our remaining little bean who is doing so well (I've even felt her moving a bit) and I'm still left feeling like I'm waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Even something as stupid as a bit of cramp in both my thighs tonight set me off in my usual mood of "well here we go, this is where it all starts to go wrong".

Everyone has been saying I can't dwell on the negatives and I shouldn't waste this I should enjoy it and my god do that agree with that but it's not an on/off thing I can control. I've been to see a counsellor once and to be honest, I don't know if it was just an introductory session or something but we didn't really discuss anything and I felt like the whole journey there was pointless. I am going to go again in may though and give it another shot. I don't want to take any medication, I know the dosage to baby is minimal etc but it's just a feeling I have. I was told that medication for a UTI would be safe and I took it during cycle two and we miscarried a week later. I know lots of women take it and are fine but I am convinced taking it when I was so newly pregnant is what caused the miscarriage so I really have a thing about putting medication in my body while I'm pregnant even if people say it's safe.

I really don't know if this has stemmed from the traumas of IVF, all the drugs us ladies have to take or if this is just grief for our two losses and my head trying to protect me from disappointment by expecting the worst? It's horrible as I want to enjoy every minute of this in case it never happens again but I feel like I can't fully let go and get excited because I'm just expecting the other shoe to drop.

I've obviously heard a lot about post natal depression but I've never heard of antenatal depression until my midwife spoke about it at our last visit. One thing the counsellor did say was that if antenatal depression isn't addressed in time is it can get worse when the baby is born - which would be my worst nightmare after all we've done to get our baby, to have their first few weeks/months of life tainted by that. Unfortunately at the moment can't see a way out if this hole.

Why can't I just be happy our little one is going strong and enjoy it properly? I really feel pretty disfunctional and tired all the time and like I'm wasting such precious time. I honestly do feel ungrateful and overdramatic but I can't turn it off. It's horrible to be hounded by this sense of doom, that it's all going to go wrong and while my husband is really strong for me and tries so hard to understand me, he just is (naturally) ecstatic for the baby and is struggling to understand why I can't feel the same.

Of course I love the baby already and I am looking forward to having our dream come true but everything feels tentative and overshadowed by all the negative feelings and fears

And because my husband can't understand it either and no one else I've spoken to, including the midwife and counselor have really had anything constructive to say other than an elongated version of 'be positive' I just feel really alone in this and isolated.

I thought after getting this far all the nightmare feelings that the IVF journey gave me would vanish and they haven't at all. If anything they've gotten worse because I've seen and even felt this little person moving inside me and she's a she and she's real, got fingers and toes and a heartbeat and everything and now if the worst happens I really don't know what I'll do.

Sorry if I sound every bit as wretched as I feel, or if I've offended anyone that hasn't even gotten this far I really didn't mean for it to come off that way if it did. I just wanted to post just in case someone else was going through this and they felt as crazy and isolated as I do xxx

7 Replies

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  • I don't know how you feel and I have never been pregnant. But well done for sharing how you feel. That seems like a big step in itself. Big big hugs. You will get better. Thinking of you xxx

  • Hello there Kitty,

    I wish I could reach through my phone and give you a big hug. I would let you cry on my shoulder then I would say:

    Sweetheart it no wonder after everything you have gone through you feel like this. I know it doesn't feel like it but it will get better. You just need to take each day as it comes. I myself have had depression in the past and boy it reared its ugly head when my cycle failed. It's a awful feeling that black hole but you will get there and when you do your little bean will be there for a cuddle.

    Start each day with a small goal nothing big, like clearing out a cupboard. Sounds silly but by achieving this you will feel like you have accomplished something.

    I know a girl who had ivf and was lucky enough to fall pregnant first time. Since this she has not been able to shake the feeling of doom. So your not alone.

    Always here for you.

    xxxxxxxx

  • Hi! Kittyk, i do understand your pain. i too is pregnant using IVF on our second cycle. Before i had ivf i had to have two surgeries to remove scar tissues. We been trying for almost five years, i'm 38 going on 39 next month. I have been praying for my miracle for a long time and now praying that god keeps my baby safe and healthy. When i was five weeks i was bleeding and then it stopped in my 6 weeks it happened again twice. the last time it happened i had a good size blood clots. I really thought it was over. Every Time i wiped i was expecting to see blood at one point i was just waiting for it to be over. Even though the the first scan at 7 weeks was all fine, i was stressing about the worst. the 2nd scan at 9 weeks was fine but it did not make a difference.

    Until my nurse said to me all is fine, try to enjoy your pregnancy because any amount of worrying wouldn't change what the future holds. For some reason that got me calmed a little then eventually i stopped looking at the tissue when i wipe. Now i barely think about what if i miscarry, i just keep praying that all is fine. Keep myself occupied with work, friends and family. Sometimes i even forgot that i am pregnant, because i am too busy making my life normal as possible. IVF treatment can play havoc with your mind but it can also give blessings to us. I am now 11 weeks pregnant and is trying to keep positive. Invest your time in whatever makes you happy and lose yourself in it. I truly wish you peace of mind and god blessings. You are not alone, it normal to feel that way when you want something so bad and you been through hell and back. Tell yourself it your time to be happy, that have been working for me, it may work for you. Positive thinking. Sorry for the long response, i thought that i may share my story so you will see you are not alone. Lots of hugs!

  • Hello KittyK

    I am so sorry to hear of everything you've been though and how you are feeling now. I think in order to feel positive and happy about the future you need to address everything that you've been though. There's been a lot of hard time and a lot of grief and it's no wonder you're finding it difficult to believe that this time things will be different! You can't turn off all the old emotions just because you've seen two lines on a stick!

    We had a baby last year after many years of trying and IVF. Although, I was delighted and enjoyed my pregnancy I did find it stressful. After all, no one knows better than us ladies the lack of control we have over our bodies, yet at the same time we feel this huge sense of responsibility to carry out babies safely into the world.

    Keep talking to people about your feelings. I went for counselling before and found it hugely beneficial. If the counsellor you are seeing is t helping them try a different one. Once you get a connection with the right person things will get better.

    Take care of yourself x

  • Thanks everyone. I have scheduled a phone assessment with a new counsellor, after which they will place me with another counsellor who will hopefully help me feel a bit better about this all. So scared going to have bad news next weeks scan. I just want to look forward to it like a normal woman :( thanks everyone for your support it means a lot and makes me feel a bit less crazy xxx

  • I get you, you are not alone 😢

  • Thank you my dear. I saw my new counsellor last week and (he was a man actually so i was a bit apprehensive about opening up to him but) he was brilliant. I felt immediately better after speaking to him. I still have had a good few anxious/miserable moments since but i feel i picked myself up from them quicker than i usually do without a full scale melt down. I also even felt positive enough that we went and started stocking up on nappies and baby grows and it didn't make me feel this impending sense of doom just touching them.

    I did have a fairly bad episode last night since little one has stopped moving as much in the last few days as she has been, so I'm hoping all that I've read is true and that it's normal. Everywhere I've read said it's normal at this time anyway.

    I don't feel fixed by any means and i still feel this lingering sense of dread that something could happen at any moment but i am able to ignore that now and again now, whereas before it consumed me. Going to keep seeing the counsellor for now as i really think it helped. I didn't think it would since the first one was such a flop but i really recommend anyone who feels like this to try as it's the only thing that's helped me with this horrible feeling xxxx

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