Post # 1
Hi ladies. I’m feeling emotional tonight and need some support. As some of you know, Darling Husband and I are expecting a baby next April. I’m about 7 weeks along and will be having my first doctors appt next week to make sure everything is on track. We initially decided that we would wait until after the 1st drs appt before telling our families… but now I feel like I’m going to have to wait much longer to tell my parents.
My mom has dealt with anxiety for her entire life, and there are lots of issues with clinical depression in her family. In the last couple of years she has gone through several phases where she has gone through what I view as major depressive episodes. She usually seeks help through counseling when these episodes take place, but once she’s feeling a bit better she quickly quits therapy and claims that she is “cured”.
Well clearly she is not cured b/c she is in currently the middle of her worst depression episode by far. In some ways, this episode will probably have some positive effects overall b/c it has caused her to realize that she can’t keep quitting therapy and that drugs (anti-depressants/anti-anxiety/mood stabilizers) are probably going to be necessary going forward. In the past she has always refused medication even though everyone around her — family, friends, and mental health professionals — have urged her to take the drugs.
I desperately want my mom to feel better, but it seems like she is a long way from recovering, and she is still struggling and fighting the advice that her doctors are giving her. In the meantime of course, Darling Husband and I have fabulous wonderful news about a new baby on its way. We want to share this news and we want my parents to be thrilled. But realistically, when you’re depressed it’s impossible to be excited by happy news. Even if you know the right reaction is to be happy, it’s impossible muster up the positive emotions.
So right now we’re left in limbo, and I’m scared that my mom will never get better and she’ll never be able to share in our exciting news. I would appreciate any advice, and please share any experiences with depression that may be relevant — either personal experiences or experiences with depression and a loved one. Thanks!
Post # 3
Well part of me wants to say tell her because If you do decide to tell her too late, she may take it very personal and spiral into something worse or just get a very negative vibe.
Does she know you have been trying or would like a child, or is this a sweet surprise for you and hubby as well?
Post # 4
@Eva Peron: My mom knows that we would like children, and I’m pretty sure she knows that we want kids in the next few years, but she does not know that we have already been trying. In some ways I agree that we should tell her sooner rather than later, but then I also really worry about her history with anxiety. Mostly I think the news will just cause her to worry more — that she’s not reacting in the “right” way, that the baby might not be healthy, that my laundry detergent has synthetic hormones in it which might harm the baby, etc, etc, etc.
Post # 5
@skibobrown: The ups an downs of mental illness are so hard to cope with sometimes. You almost sit waiting for the other shoe to drop. With my sister she takes the meds, gets better, thinks she can drink and it starts all over again. One of the things I have heard helps is journalling, writing each day “Today I took my meds and I feel good”. Just to remind themselves that there is a corelation.
I am sorry you are going through this at such a special time in your life.
Post # 6
@skibobrown: oh okay, I got ya, its really severe anxiety. I’m not sure of your family situation but If you have a Father or family member who is aware of her issues, I would definitely ask them their opinon or if you have access to her family doctor or you own perhaps they can offer you some guidance in terms of her situation and what she can handle.
I would definitely wait longer in general just to make sure everything checks out with the baby and its going a long smoothly. You can always say you didn’t know you were pregnant until ____ x month
Post # 7
I don’t post a whole lot but I wanted to comment on this one. My mom suffers from mental illness and has been in an “OK” period for awhile but went through severe depression when I was younger. I understand the feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop and not wanting to cause further stress and anxiety.
However, something I’ve learned as an adult is that each person’s mental health is their own responsibility (barring a few special cases). Yes, she has these problems, but doing what she needs to do on her end to get better is on her. You didn’t cause her problem and you can’t cure or control her problem either. I think that if you are able to accept that and really let it sink in, then maybe sharing the news even if she does not have the reaction you’d hope for will still make you happy.
Just as her problem is her responsibility, living a happy and full life with or without her excitement about your pregnancy is your responsibility. That is just the way I have come to see it. I know how difficult it is but it is the key to a happier life.
Post # 8
I can see how you’re torn. My initial thought was that maybe if you preface the news like “I know you’re going through some tough times right now, but Darling Husband and i have some happy news that we wanted to share with you . . .”
That way, you acknowledge that you understand she may not be able to give you the reaction she might otherwise feel she should. And it might also be the jolt she needs to really get herself some help.
Post # 9
Even if your mother can’t be there for you in the way you want her to be, everyone else can. I went through a similar issue when I was pregnant with my son. My mother was in the midst of a nine month long episode (it was an adverse reaction to prescription cholesterol medicine, but the doctors thought it was bipolar/schizophrenia/MS/etc and had her on a bunch of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics). We were having to lock up knives in the house, have someone with her at all times, and she was in and out of the hospital. It took a toll on me, certainly. But the other women in my life stepped up, and when she finally got better (a couple months after my son’s birth), I was able to share photos of my baby shower (she was in the hospital then), stories about my pregnancy, and she got to enjoy her grandson. As with many things in life, it’s not ideal. It’s not even good. But it is what it is. Good luck going forward and hugs to you in this difficult time.
Post # 10
Oh this sounds very difficult and I am so sympathetic for what you’re going through.
Given that the issue is anxiety, is there a case for waiting until 12 weeks? The traditional “everything is OK” timeline? That way your mother is at least anxious for a smaller amount of time. At the same time, though, I think you need “motherly” support, so is there someone else you are close to (aunt, Godmother, Grandmother) who would be willing to keep it from your mother for another 5 weeks, while still supporting you?
Post # 11
@phillygirl629: Agree agree agree!!!
OP, I know how it is to try to walk on eggshells around someone with depression/anxiety. But the thing I’ve learned is that it DOESN’T HELP THEM. It doesn’t make them feel better; it often makes them feel worse. Tell her whenever the time is right for you and your Darling Husband to tell immediate family. Her reaction is her own issue, and in no way either your fault or your responsibility.
Post # 12
I have similar anxieties. I actually don’t think I ever want my sisters or my mother to be involved- or know- if and when we have children (but how would I even pull that off?) The thing is, I am not a scrooge, I want more than anything to have a supportive family in my life and the life of my future children. But unfortunately my sisters and mother are not capable of being what I want and need. They have depression and bipolar and more than anything (because I do not believe that those things alone make a relationship impossible-) they are miserable people who are difficult and want to make others unhappy. It is hard, but I am learning that I have a new family (DH, me, and for now- our German Shorthair.) I am learning not to expect the best of others when I get continually hurt, and that others may never change.
I walk on eggshells around my sisters and mother, and they just feed off of it and hurt me more. If I ever see them again, I need to be a little more frank, and a little less kind. (Not natural to me- I still have not actually done that!) Anyway, don’t force it- follow your intuition. If and when the time is right (to tell her), it will be right.
Also, you cannot rely on other’s reactions. You will always be disappointed. You be happy for you. This is something, all of these things are something, that I myself am learning. You have to rely on yourself. If you really need something from someone, be straightforward and tell them what you need. Sometimes others just don’t know. But really, I would not count on anything from anyone. I know how you feel though, and that you want others to act in a way that you need and want, and possilby a way that you would react for them- if they were going through the same things- (big exciting news!) but other people are not something you can ever help or control (their reactions and actions). Best wishes to you!
Post # 13
I wish I could offer advice, but I have never dealt with anything like this. I can send you *HUGS* though!
Post # 14
People with depression can turn anything upside down. If she finds out you didn’t tell her more quickly, she will be depressed and sad and find some fault in herself that you didn’t say anything. If you tell her now, she could be depressed and sad and find a way to turn it around. I’ve had depression (mild) for as long as I can remember. IMO I think you should tell your parents in the same time period that you tell his parents. Don’t hold back just because she is depressed. Don’t stop your life and your happiness because of her depression. Yes, medication is going to work. But also (through CBT or some other therapy) she needs to change her thinking! If she continually thinks depressing thoughts… she will continually be depressed. It’s not easy as 1,2,3–it’s something you have to work your whole life on. But those are just the facts. I’m also a Social Worker who counsels for different mental health illnesses. Not knowing your entire background and history I can’t really give you the best advice. But I would just hate for you to keep things quite because your mom is depressed.
Post # 15
I agree you should tell her now rather than later. That way there is no risk of finding out and being upset that you didnt tell her. You just have to do it like a bandaid quick! She will get upset either way if she is going to, but at least if you tell her it will be off your chest.
Post # 16
I agree that you should tell her. I imagine it’s hard to wonder what her reaction will be. Thinking positively- she might see it as motivational. I know the family she has now should suffice, but maybe having a lil grandchild will be the incentive she needs to commit to recovering.
I wish you well 🙂