Depressed mom gives birth to baby hooked on happy pills
When Susan Barden, from Crawley, West Sussex was pregnant, she began to suffer from crippling pre-natal depression. Before she even knew she was pregnant, she had feelings of severe doom and despair. She was moody, grouchy and unhappy. The depression got so bad that she was having suicidal thoughts by week 11 of the pregnancy and by the third month, her doctor prescribed anti-depressants.
Honestly, I had never heard of pre-natal depression but I know all sorts of unexpected things happen when you're pregnant. I am much more familiar with post partum depression. It is believed that pre-natal depression is brought on by a combination of fluctuating hormones and the stress of the life changes ahead. Studies suggest it is actually more prevalent than post partum depression, estimating that one in seven women in the United Kingdom suffers depression while pregnant.
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As a last resort, so that she wouldn't cause harm to herself or the baby, Susan took the antidepressants even though they are known to cross the placenta into the baby's bloodstream. She and her fiancé, Luke Tomasini, made the only decision they felt they could; for Susan to take the medication. By that point, she was fighting to hang on to week 24 and considering ways in which she could commit suicide at that time. Her relationship with Luke was also being put to the test. He was ecstatic about the pregnancy and she should have been too, they had been trying for a year. Everything they had ever hoped for was coming true and all Susan felt was doom. Something drastic needed to be done.
The doctors warned Susan and Luke that their son, Etienne, could suffer drug withdrawal in the early weeks after birth due to being born addicted to the antidepressants. After he was born, he suffered sleep problems and irritability. It took 6 months to wean Susan and Etienne off of the anti-depressants but today everyone is happy and healthy and Susan and Luke are even considering trying for another baby.
It was a difficult decision for Susan to take medication to treat her illness while pregnant because even though she was depressed, she didn't want to do anything that could possibly hurt her unborn baby. I think, on some scale, all mothers-to-be go through this. We know that everything we do affects our unborn child.
We give up alcohol, sushi, soft cheeses, nitrates, smoking, caffeine and yes, sometimes even needed medications in order to give our children the best chance of not only surviving gestation but thriving in life. But when your options are wanting to kill yourself (which will ultimately kill your baby or at the very least deprive them of a mother) or taking medication to help you be a better mother for your child, sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks.
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