In 2014, during my first pregnancy, I felt happy and healthy almost all the time. I rode my bike to work at the Department of Energy & Environment in Washington, D.C., until I was six or seven months pregnant and took kickboxing classes until about four weeks before my daughter was born.
So it was a bit of a shock when my second pregnancy was so different. Around the four-month mark, I developed sciatica, which is intense nerve pain that runs from your pelvis down your leg. By the end of each day, I could barely walk. I had to crawl up the stairs to the bedroom. Because of the pain, I wasn’t able to be as active as I wanted. Then other parts of my health started to decline — I stopped eating healthy food and doing other things I needed to do to take care of myself physically and mentally.
I developed what’s called antepartum depression, or depression during pregnancy. I had never heard of it, but it's not uncommon — about 7% of pregnant women experience it, according to the Mayo Clinic, and many more cases may go unreported. My doctor prescribed an antidepressant, which I know is lifesaving for many people, but for personal reasons I decided not to take it.