Perinatal Depression and Postpartum Anxiety: Regina’s Story
“I just had no idea what I was getting into, not just in motherhood but in pregnancy in particular.”
So begins Regina’s challenging journey of parenthood, which, unfortunately, featured perinatal depression and postpartum anxiety.
Regina’s first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. In her second pregnancy, her child was born five weeks premature. To prevent another premature birth, Regina’s doctor suggested that she receive weekly progesterone injections. Shortly after the injections started, Regina experienced a deep, paralyzing depression. She didn’t want to stop the shots for fear of another premature birth, but her will to live was fading.
“I had no desire to do anything and had a two-year-old son at the time, which was so sad and hard to not be able to show up and do things for him that I would have been able to do otherwise.
“I didn’t have the ambition to take my own life, but I did not care if I was alive.”
Her doctor insisted she start seeing a therapist, which was, at first, foreign to Regina’s thoughts about health care, but turned out to be the key to Regina’s wellness.
“The vibe in my family of origin—a term I know from therapy—was that therapy is for messed up people. And there’s nothing wrong with you, so why would you go to therapy?”
The good news is that Regina did start to see a therapist, and it was a turning point in her mental health. It also helped repair her relationship with her husband, which was damaged during those challenging years of perinatal depression and postpartum anxiety.
“Obviously like now, I know therapy’s the best thing ever, and everyone should go. I am literally like a therapy salesperson.”
While her story is filled with moments of deep sadness, Regina uses humor to help her navigate tough emotional terrain. In this film, difficult and tender moments are mixed with both laughter and tears as she describes feelings of rage, depression, anger and inadequacy as a mother.
“Regina’s Story” is the fourth in our five-part OC87 Recovery Diaries series titled “Holding Space: Stories of Maternal Mental Health.” The series presents five individuals who tell of touching, challenging journeys with postpartum depression and perinatal anxiety and mood disorders (PMADS). We hope you enjoy these stories and share widely.
Special thanks go to Perri Shaw Borish, psychotherapist, founder of Whole Heart Maternal Mental Health and project advisor to this series.