Getting pregnant changes a woman’s hormonal state: there’s a normal chemical interplay between mother and fetus. Hormones affect the brain, and their effects can differ in people. So if no one is surprised when a pregnant woman feels elated, why are they surprised when some pregnant women are clinically depressed?

Image: Teza Harinaivo Ramiandrisoa via Flikr | CC BY-SA 2.0

In this week’s New York Times Magazine, Andrew Solomon takes a deep look at women who become clinically depressed during pregnancy, and the limited options for treatment they feel they have. They fear that their medications will harm the fetus, but without the meds, some women may harm themselves.

Advertisement

From the article:

Many have heard that S.S.R.I.s can be terribly harmful from online message boards, from news reports heavily influenced by an individual doctor or from small studies that have been amplified into universal statistics. The women Isnardi speaks to feel guilty about their melancholia. “They’re so afraid to be judged,” she said.

It’s worth reading the entire piece, and not just for Solomon’s beautiful prose. In our society, pregnant women are constantly judged. Given the flack I took for harmless activities like engaging-in-moderate-exercise-while-pregnant, I feel for women who are facing much starker and more serious choices.

Advertisement

Read the whole article at The New York Times Magazine.


Contact the author at diane@io9.com.

Advertisement