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So I've told bits of this story on the boards over the last two years, so I figured I'd save some time and start a thread. Feel free to add yours.

My husband and I talked about becoming pregnant. I was stable, I had a job, and we lived comfortably. Three weeks after we talked about it, I found out I was pregnant. I had made an appointment just to talk about becoming pregnant with my psychiatrist, and I literally found out the night before the appointment. Go, go, Early Response tests.

My psychiatrist suggested I go off all of my medications for the first trimester. I was given a three day taper schedule for the 150 mg of Lamictal I was taking, and I discontinued 5 mg of Abilify completely. I felt really out of it for a week, but I was more or less okay. My doctor gave me 1 mg of Ativan for the anxiety I was experiencing.

Three weeks later, I found myself suicidally depressed. I threw out all of my old meds because I wanted to OD on meds and alcohol. I quickly made an appointment with my psychiatrist:

"Doc, I think I want to jump off a bridge."

"Have you decided which bridge?"

"Nah, there aren't any high enough. Maybe a building."

"OK, make sure you don't fall anywhere were you can hurt anyone else." And he proceeded to write me a prescription for Lamictal. I was to titrate up weekly up to 100 mg. He told me to call every time I titrated up.

I felt better my second trimester. The first was wrought with fear. I thought about having an abortion because I was so scared of continuing to be pregnant and having a child. I stuck with the pregnancy, though. I never told my husband what I was thinking. Or anyone else. I felt so alone.

In my second trimester, I got my 20 week ultrasound. They said they found a spot on the heart, which they didn't make a big deal out of and said they would send me to get a Level II ultrasound.

I got a call a week later from a high-risk doctors office. I was told I had an appointment next week for a Level II ultrasound, a genetic counselor, and to talk with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. I was to have a quadruple screen before the appointment. I was in shock. My OB/GYN did not prepare me for the appointment. Again, I was terrified.

I cried and told my husband. I had finally gotten comfortable with being pregnant, and now something was wrong. I didn't know what to do.

I got home and looked up echogenic intracardiac foci (the name for the spot) on Google, and the results turned up something that terrified me. Down Syndrome.

We went to the high risk OB appointment. They did the ultrasound and didn't find anything on the heart. We found out we had a healthy baby girl. We were overjoyed. The maternal-fetal medicine specialist canceled our genetic counselor appointment, and told us congratulations.

The next day, I received a call from my OB/GYN. She said the blood work had came back, and it came up positive for Down Syndrome. I was shocked. She told me I could have an abortion in a large city close by if I wanted to. Having seen my daughter and felt her move, I couldn't do that. I asked her what I should do if I kept her. She told me there were support groups available. She referred me back to the maternal-fetal medicine office for another appointment. Twenty minutes later, the OB I had seen at maternal-fetal medicine called me up and said we could do amniocentesis if I wanted, but the odds of miscarriage were higher than the risk of having a child with Down Syndrome. He advised against it. So I said alright, and hung up.

I had undiagnosed with OCD at the time, and I did nothing but cry for hours after I got home from work. I feverishly looked up articles on Down Syndrome on the Internet. I didn't know what to do. In my mind, it was over.

When I hit the third trimester, I was up to 100 mg of Lamictal. I was angry, tearful, controlling, and verbally aggressive. Most of my coworkers chalked it up to simply being pregnant, so they were kind to me. I was miserable, but I still functioned on a superficial level.

I had to be induced because I was two weeks past my due date. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl the day I was induced. She was perfect and healthy.

My psychiatrist encouraged me to breastfeed, so my medication was not increased. The nurses in the hospital commented on my child's grogginess and inability to feed via breast, syringe, or bottle. They said it was the medication that probably did it. They discouraged me from breastfeeding, and they gave me literature from the lactation toxicology website that had a compilation of studies on women who breastfed on Lamictal. None of the studies indicated any developmental problems from breastfeeding and using the medication.

I was discharged after being successful in feeding donor breast milk to my daughter by syringe. She took a bottle that evening, so I was no longer worried. I suspect it was the narcotic and epidural they gave me during labor, but no one would admit that those two things can cause a baby to be unable to feed after delivery. It was my fault.

The first week I was tearful and sentimental. I got very little sleep, which made me cry more. On the eighth day, I woke up, and everything was horrible. I had intrusive images of throwing my daughter up against a wall and killing her. I swore at her when she cried. I did not love her. I felt disconnected from her, yet I checked on her every five minutes to make sure she was breathing. My husband went back to work after two weeks, and I was alone in my thoughts. My family didn't come to help me. I stayed alone with her every day when my husband was at work. I never hurt her in any way, but I was miserable.

Three weeks later, I went back to my psychiatrist. I couldn't bring myself to tell him what was going on. Even though I felt no emotional connection to her, I was afraid she would be taken away from me. I told him I was fine, just a little tired, and I went on my way. My then-therapist urged me to call my psychiatrist back and tell him what was going on. I did over the phone. My Lamictal dose was raised to 150 mg like I was at before I was pregnant, and 2.5 mg of Abilify was added.

In a week or so, I felt my depression lifting. I began to bond with my daughter, and I adored her. It was still difficult. I had no one to help me during the day. I slept little. My house was a mess, I ate little food because I didn't have the energy to cook, and I felt very lonely.

My obsessive thinking was unbearable. I went back to my doctor when my daughter was three months old, and I told him that I was experiencing anxiety. I explained to him what it was like, and he said, "Oh, you mean obsessions. You need something that affects serotonin. If you want. You probably shouldn't breastfeed anymore, though." I took the medication, and I stopped breastfeeding.

Over time, I found I was rapid cycling, which I hadn't done before. Lamictal was eventually raised to 200 mg, and I crept up on Abilify for two years. When I hit 20 mg of Abilify and felt little relief, I was done. I have since switched to Geodon, and I feel much better. Every episode since then has been nasty, agitated, suicidal, and angry. I bounce back every time, but it's been a struggle.

I adore my daughter. I've never raised a hand to her, and I stopped swearing when she cried when my depression lifted shortly after I went back on a reasonable medication regimen. But had I known I would have experienced, I would have never stopped taking medications during the first trimester, and I wouldn't have tried breastfeeding on so little medication. I would have stayed on a full medicated regimen my whole pregnancy. It was that miserable. I have few happy memories of pregnancy and the first two months of my child's life. I still feel guilty about it to this day.

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I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story, I am sure it makes a lot of us moms feel a little better including you to know we aren't alone in the struggle of pregnancy, being a mom and MI.

I hope all is well :)


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Having a child, being pregnant, gonig through a birth, trying to bond, the sleep deprivation, the fact that you feel like your life is totally out of control, the rage you feel to your husband because their lives appear to be on course, while yours appears to be crumbling, this little child who is so dependent on you, the fact that you love them one minute and hate them the next, the idea that you cannot imagine living without them balanced against the need to pack your underwear and run away, and added to it all the hormones, the total exhaustion, the loneliness, as you stand in your grubby blue bathrobe, with your crying child against your chest looking around your kitchen than looks like someone took a sh&t in it.

And that is how having a child is without an MI.

Adding an MI and it is pushed to the furthest point of what a person can bare.

I feel for you.

I offer little in the way of advise - as I have experienced some of your stuff.

My only "solution" is I try to make sure I am never alone in the house with my kids. It makes me feel safe, that they are safe, from me who sometimes does not feel safe to be around. Some days I do feel totally out of control.

<not sure if that makes sense.....>

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rowen ~ Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Being 30 weeks pregnant myself and going through much of what you've described myself during previous pregnancies and this one, your story offered me hope. I have an appointment this evening with my pdoc and after reading your story, it has given me that little bit of encouragement to stand my ground with my meds. Thanks again rowen!

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Rowen, you really went through a lot. You showed so much courage in the face of suffering. I am so glad your daughter is healthy. I think you made a lot of hard decisions with your child's best interest in mind. You are a heroine to me. Thanks for sharing your story. It will help many women I am sure.

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That was a powerful pregnancy story. I have 2, one happy, one sad.

The first was my pre-dx pregnancy, which was pretty much precipitated by me and my drug dealer using MJ as B.C. with some foams every now again, go figure I was pregnant a month later.

I immediately stopped every drug and ETOH and even smoking the minute I found out, sort of a miracle in itself. Being pregnant was easy emotionally and physically, and I did not have any MI sx. I wasn't very happy however, as I found out for the first time what living with a drug dealer was like while SOBER. I was also very young, and kind of screwed up. I had a wonderful baby boy, bonded with him immediately, and got married out of guilt a few months later (though most of my family advised me not to do this). I went back to binge drinking sporadically after I was done breastfeeding, whcih is pretty much all you CAN do when raising a child by yrself. That said, I got to experience a lot of my husband's drug use and ETOH use sober, such a throwing chairs and peeing in corners and stuff, and it wasn't a healthy environment to raise a baby in at all. I broke up with husband several time and moved back in with my mom, only to go back later. Then I had my first ME and my mom told me "you can get sober and healthy or I will take your child" which was pretty much the most motivating factor and a very healthy message. I did this successfully for many years, and did like 3 years marriage couseling before giving up on the marrriage. I did shared custody which again, was not so healthy, but "I" was the crazy BP one, and well, I was still plenty screwed up.

Meanwhile, I was single, working, and in therapy every week, and happy and glad to be so. I was pretty stable. I met Mr. A and relapsed while on prozac, which sent me back to rehab after 2 weeks. Oops. The prozac was prescribed because I was "so stable" but had bulemia on zyprexa. It was my first SSRI and I really think it worsened the BP, overall, seriously. In any case, I got sober again pretty quickly, got married to Mr. A (after some counseling, heh) and then ex went through a crack relapse that was pretty damn bad (he'd had a few half hearted attempts to get sober). I got full custody and paid for a LOT of therapy for the kid.

Meanwhile, I had pregnancy #2. I got off meds to prepare, me and Mr. A got pregnant on the honeymoon, on purpose, and I destabilized VERY RAPIDLY. I had to get on a lot of meds, and finally depakote and all my doctors including OB.GYN told me to have an abortion. I didn't want to and Mr. A was pretty christian. I am pro abortion but never thought I'd be in the position of having one. I knew I could care for and love a special needs child, but I always carried the health insurance in the family and felt it would be selfish to jeapordize everyone else for an unborn fetus becuase I didn't think I could work full time and care for a special needs kid.

My insurance paid for the aborition at the PP in deepest, darkest, Baltimore. I was pretty sure I was having a daughter. I wanted to just drive myself and isolate, but MR. A was like, "are you crazy" and it was awful. I had a lot of medical questions that the techs didn't know how to handle and one told me "you could bleed out on the table, though that doesn't happen very often" in response to one question. I asked for the doc at that point and she was pretty good. She looked very tired. They took me back to this little waiting area and there was a youngish black girl there, by herself. She asked me, "is it going to hurt?" and I knew it probably was, but I told her I was sure it wouldn't hurt much, and she told me she had 2 kids already and was putting herself through school and her mother told her she was going to hell for this. We held hands and I told her that no one was going to hell for doing something right for her own family and the children she already had.

So I went first and it DID hurt and I'm normally a yeller, but I didn't, because I knew little black girl was left. I just remember looking at the medical vacuum jar and thinking of all the babies in there and wishing they could be donated for cord blood or medical reserach or something useful, or that I could steal my kid out of there and give her a decent burial but I couldn't. So then I went and waited while they offered me depo shots and I explained that I knew my options and had been using them, this was an on purpose pregnancy.

I wonder about that little girl somtimes, she helped me a lot more than I helped her. Then we went home, I blew bubbles, and just watched them pop. It was a pretty depressing day. Mr. A had gotten me the bubbles, including some other stuff. He was pretty awesome, he's never said a word other than loving things about it, and worries about my health being the most motivating factor for him.

Every now and then I see a little girl about her age and I still cry about it. I think I was having a daughter, and I would have loved a daughter.

So, those are my two stories. I thank goodness for my son every day, and how wonderful he is, and how lucky I was to get accidentally pregnant before I got really sick even though I thought it was the Worst Tragedy Ever. At the time.

I wouldn't dissuade any MI person from having children ever, but for me, I use an IUD. If Mr. A were up for it and we could afford it, I'd consider surrogacy or an adoption, but he isn't, and we aren't, and we're both getting older. I get to hold babies all the time at work, anyway, so win, there.


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I am glad you pinned this for all us moms and previously pregnant people to talk about.

My story is actually pretty typical for the most part with some exclusions.

I was on the patch, I had been for 2 yrs and going strong, I worked full time and I lived with C at his moms. at the time we thought Cs son might have CF, he wasn't growing, he was 8 yrs old he was the size of a 3 yr old so when C asked me to move in their with him I said yes. I worked at a diner, night shift and I thought I was fine until I started getting weird cravings, I never really had regular periods and BC seemed to stop periods for me all together so I had no clue until someone said that she thought I was pregnant, I had lost weight, I was moody and the cravings. She immediately insisted I go to the drug store and get a test. I took the test in the non smoking area bathroom at my work, it didnt take the 3 mins the box said it was 30 second and it said "Yes" I was scared, I called my mom I told no one, no one asked either. At that time I didnt know my mother was the local broadcast system, I was 20 scared so of course she was who I called thinking I could trust her. I got off work and went home and took a shower trying to get the guts, in previous conversations I told C that I didn't want kids so on and so forth. When C noticed me acting strange I told him, he laughed and didnt believe me, he put the patches on for me, he knew they where on and 2 yrs I was taking it so he thought it was all good. He was stunned.

The next day I went to work and people where congratulating me, I didnt want this out, I was thinking about an abortion, I called the place that day and scheduled the abortion. After I scheduled it I thought up a plan, to say I miscarried, I was told by the clinic to get have a doctor do a test and I did. I went to the appt and they were pressuring me, they took the test it was positive and gave me a baby bag with all this stuff before the ultrasound and then they did this exam and it was freaky, I hear this heartbeat, this little thing was growing in me was all I could think. I went home stunned, freaking out. When I got back C was asking why I had a baby bag and what about the appt I had and I ran upstairs crying and praying to god that it was all a bad dream and then I flipped I was hitting myself in the stomach, I tried to intentionally miscarry, this went on for like 20 mins. When I calmed down, abdomen hurting, eyes swelled I told C that it was my decision to make not his and if he doesnt want anything to do with it, this was the time to say so I would pack my stuff and leave. This was the first argument we ever had. In the end he said that he had to absorb it, I told him DO NOT tell his mother or anyone and he agreed, I was 6 weeks along I found out on July 5th 2005 this was July 10th or so.

A month went by and Cs mom was acting weird, I think she could tell. I went on like nothing was happening, I was waking up wanting to puke waiting for his mom to leave so I could, trying to dry heave in to a office trash can silently is a skill I mastered. Around the end of August C told his mom, she said she already could tell. One day when his mom and I were driving to the store she said "M___ I know what is going on and I want you to know this is it, no more grand children after this, I knew I would have 7, that is all you need is one" She bought me a baby name book.

The month that followed we talked about names A LOT, I wanted a boy, C wanted a girl, I said Nicholas or Charlotte, C came up with Sydney or Jessica for a girl. a week later Cs mom decided she no longer liked me and kicked me out and C said so long and came with me to my mothers. We both started school, C went back to get his degree in horticulture, me I went for my degree in microsoft to become a specialist. We lived at my mothers peacefully for the most part. I had 3 scares, first at 12 weeks I had SEVERE abdominal pain, I was freaked and went to the ER, I was DXed with round ligament syndrome, when I was 6 months I fell on my mothers front stairs and in February at 8 months I belly flopped near my doctors office when I was leaving my weekly appt. Other than that I was depressed, I wished I would die, I said that a child, no child deserves to have a person as fucked up as me for a mom....I was a mess emotionally the whole pregnancy. I would cry and rock myself to sleep at night. On the weekends I worked nights at the diner with 4 other pregnant girls and 3 of us where due at the same time, and on my birthday in october my sister found out she was pregnant too. I was miserable inside though. the baby shower was torture to me, there where so many gifts that the dining room was full, I hated it. Cs aunts came in to town and they are rich bitches. On several occasions I told C to leave that he didnt have to stay here with me, I was a burden...he never left and he let me cry and what not, he complimented me...things have changed. He was everything you want when pregnant, he knew what to say, what to do.

I found out I was having a girl...Sydney was the name. Her name actually rhymes. I was 9 days late having her and the week before was chaos and actually waht caused the labor was me getting pissed off at 10 am, I felt the first contraction, I went to Arby's with Cs mom and ate while in labor and she insisted I go to the ER I said hell no and she didnt argue with me. I went to my sister while C and sisters hubby went to take down a tree stand in the woods near by. I didnt leave for the hospital until 7pm. My sister and her SIL sat there with me, laughing at the faces I was making, the contractions where in the back...back labor sucks. I told C it was time and my sister insisted that they drive me, I said I wouldnt go to the hospital until I got a DQ milkshake, and they got me one lol. When I got to the hospital the place was packed with pregnant women all in a stage of labor, I was taken back immediately. I was 7cm my sister felt bad, I had my sisters hand and was crushing it so hard I hurt her. the phlebotomist was threatened by me when she tiold me to stop moving, I told her to shut the f up. When we got in the sweet I thought this was time, NOPE Sydney AKA bubbers refused to come out, I wouldnt dialate anymore and the water wouldnt break. at 1 AM the doc broke my water. The epidural wore off at 7 am and at 8:09 am sydney was born, she was the most beautiful thing I ever saw, she is the most beautiful thing I ever saw, at that moment when I saw her I felt the connection and I knew that no matter what I would have her, she was my baby and I went through hell to have her and I would do anything for her.

Bubbers was the best baby ever, she cried at birth and then that was it, she never cried and at 4 months she decided to start yelling at us, it was a "Hey" noise, never a cry. She grew perfectly and still does. Cs sone doesnt have CF BTW he has a tumor on his pituitary that is stopping him from growing, he started the growth hormones when I was 7 months pregnant. He is perfect now, and Bubbers is perfect.

I never knew back then what they meant about when you find out, when you feel the first kick, the first time you see the baby, now I know. She is my world and although I scare the hell out of myself soem times and I am nucking futs, she is my baby and always will be and I will do what ever I have to to keep her safe and happy. That is why we live at my mothers, that is why I go to school, that is why I work 60 hrs a week, for her, she is and always will be the light of my life, the reason for me to live.

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  • 6 months later...

Thank you for sharing your stories ladies, that is admirable and brave of you to put yourselves out there to give others encouragement that things will get better if you keep trying. I always feel scared to talk about my PPD for fear for being shunned by Mothers I think are "perfect", which logically there is no such thing but from the outside looking it it always appears to me that they are so happy all the time and have children hitting more milestones at faster rates than either of my mine. The grass is always greener on the other side though, isn't it? I wish there was more public awareness for PPD so that those of us who are or who have suffered through it don't feel so alone, embarrassed, guilty and ashamed like I did.

Edited by kr723
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  • 2 years later...

I got pregnant with my first 3 months after my mom died of cancer so I was already pretty unstable emotionally. The pregnancy itself wasn't bad but the birth was pretty traumatic. Inducing nurse gave me way too much pitocin so my first contraction lasted 5 minutes and when it was over the bed was soaked with blood. Then babies head was tilted wrong (brow presentation) so I had to have a c-section. When they gave me the spinal I stopped breathing. They gave me general anesthic but didn't tell me what was going on so I thought it was death pulling me under. I just kept thinking "close your eyes and you're dead!" Then I woke up with a tube in my throat. They gave me morphine and wouldn't let me see the baby until I made a big deal and my SIL promised to stay the night with me. The next three days are a blur. Me and the baby were so high and exhausted that I didn't wake to feed him and he didn't wake to eat. So I just remember getting yelled a lot by the nurses. Besides that first night I was alone. After three days in the hospital we went home. Husband went to work two days later. When my son was about 7 days old he woke up and didn't sleep for more than an hour or so at a time for the next 6 months. All he did was BF and cry. I took him to the doctor because I thought he was sick and the dr said he had colic. I was devastated! I swore my husband to secrecy and lied to everyone. All day long the baby cried and all day long I cried. I resented him and was sure he hated me. And the BF was awful. I never made enough milk so although I was feeding him all the time he didn't gain as quick as he should have. And we had persistent thrush. And then I kept getting mastitis (it feels like you are BF a piranha). I now know how mothers can hurt their babies. I never hurt him but I cut myself a lot. And I hid it from everyone because I just wanted to be perfect. I thought if my dr found out for sure they would take my baby away. It took me years to bond with him. Now I'm honest with new mums. I talk openly with them about how it was for me so they at least can have one person to confide in if things get bad.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...

Thank you Rowen and all of you amazing ladies for sharing your stories.  This is a very old thread but it randomly popped up when I logged into CB today.  I don't usually read these random threads but I had to today.  I'm a man, and I can never understand what it's like to carry and have a child which is never easy in the first place.  Thank you all for sharing though.  I'm the father of two amazing little girls and I needed to hear these stories. 

My wife doesn't have an MI, thankfully, but I have plenty.  Getting pregnant with our first triggered something in me that, combined with the wrong dx and being on meds I had no business being on, sent me spiraling out of control.  I was there, but I wasn't 'there' for the first 4 years of my first born's life.  And I made it all so much worse with drugs and alcohol.  We did want another child, but when we found out she was finally pregnant with our second, she wasn't happy - she was devastated.  That really says it all about what I was like at that moment.  I wasn't a man, I was a piece of shit.  I've woken up now and sobered up, for good, finally.  But I'll carry that with me the rest of my life.  Without a doubt, mentally I was not in a good place at all, but I wasn't going through anything compared to what she was going through and all I wanted to do was feel sorry for myself and waste our money on booze and drugs. There's so much more I regret like letting myself get so angry at our little babies just for crying, for interrupting my sleep.  What the fuck?  I am so amazed I haven't put a bullet in my head yet.

Anyway, you don't need my pity and I won't offer it.  You are all so much stronger than I could ever hope to be.  If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that life is really good at waiting around the corner to punch us in the face again with some crap when we're least expecting it.  It's going to happen.  All we can do is keep getting back up off the pavement, wipe our faces off again, and continue on.

I'm not sure if anyone is even going to read this but who knows?  I hope life has gotten better for you amazing women.  Just being on the road to proper treatment is huge and things will get better eventually. 

Thank you all again for sharing.

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So glad to read these stories. I had a very traumatic birth experience, and it destabilized my bipolar disorder for five years afterward. Mania, depression, and mixed states. I have had a lot of trouble bonding with my son because of it, and I often regret having had him. I know that's awful to say, but it's true. The thing is that in a very real sense, having him was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I had a miscarriage before I got pregnant with him, and that basically started to unravel me. The second pregnancy was not joyful because I was so anxious about miscarriage. The birth went terribly, and my mental and physical health have suffered so much because of having him. I do love him, and I think the world is a better place with him in it. But it feels like I had to take a fall to get him here, and I worry I will never forgive him for putting me through hell. I know it's not his fault, but I have also learned that trying to talk myself out of feeling something doesn't work, even (or especially) when my feelings are dark, as they often are. But it is so comforting to read the words of other moms (and one dad) who have been through similar experiences. I often feel like I'm the only mother in the world who isn't particularly happy about being a mom.

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