For a friend

Two posts in one day? That’s craziness!

One of my subfertile friends is having a really hard time managing her depression while ttcing. She has gone off her drugs, but is finding the clomid and the progesterone are really affecting her- to the point that she is considering asking her f/s to move directly to IVF because she’s not sure how many more cycles she can handle.

Does anyone have experience with managing depression without anti-depressants while ttcing and pregnant? It is the medications that are the biggest issue right now, along with the disappointment of a failed cycle every month (she is on IUI #3).

Any advice would be really appreciated- I will pass it along to her.

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8 Comments

Filed under Emotions, Friends, ttc

8 responses to “For a friend

  1. Coach Louise

    Hi Turia,

    It sounds like she might need a break. Sometimes we let the pressure of the biological clock spur us on, but really we need to listen to what our body is telling us. When we move on from cycle to cycle, its difficult to focus on ‘normality’ and our life becomes all about the cycles and the outcome. I know from my own experience that 3 months off, can do the world of good. When depression gets bad, she might want to consider seeing a therapist who can help with support, and help her to manage using the drugs for depression. The other thought would be for her to see a homeopath, who can give her homeopathic drugs for depression during the cycles. The doctors do seem to be of the opinion that the better known anti-depressants have minimal if any effect on the foetus. But with any drug one has to make a call on that. She might need to stay on the drugs, so that she is able to have the least stress free cycle for the best possible outcome. Every time we do a cycle and the result is negative- there is a grieving process to go through, again support from a therapist, or support group would be helpful.

    Please send your friend my best wishes and lots of baby dust.

  2. My doctors were perfectly comfortable with the idea of my taking prozac, which is the drug with the most data showing safety in pregnancy (from what I’ve read, the concerns actually come in later in pregnancy as I think it can cause withdrawal symptoms in the newborn). I decided not to take it after all, but again there was very little concern over my possibly taking it. If your friend is suffering that much and could benefit from the medication she could maybe talk to her doctor about it? But I do understand her desire to cope with it unmedicated when ttc.

    One non-drug thing that she may find helpful is the book Conquering Infertility by Dr. Alice Domar. Contains lots of useful mind/body strategies to deal with anxiety and depression over infertility.

  3. Without knowing all the details of your friend’s history, it may be hard to give advice. I know that I am extremely sensitive to hormonal changes and it affects my moods. Clomid made me crazy. I also don’t do well on lupron or birth control pills. Of all the hormones that affected my mood, pregnancy was the worst. I was depressed and the most anxious I’ve ever been in my life. The reason I’m saying this is that if your friend is having a hard time coping with Clomid and progesterone, the hormones from pregnancy are very likely to have the same effect. If anti-depressants worked for her, I suggest she work with a psychiatrist who understands which anti-depressants are safe to take during conception and pregnancy. IVF is very stressful. The hormones you have to take for will probably affect your friend’s mood as well.

    Having said all that, support groups and having a good therapist are also very supportive. Chinese medicine and acupuncture can help as well.

  4. I was thankfully able to take wellbutrin right up to the + hpt. Going off it was hard. Something that helped me greatly- and might help your friend as she transitions- is fish oil pills. I also endorse massages and acupuncture. And honestly? blogging/writing is a great way to get through.

    oh- and as a TOTAL side note- can your friend ask to get off clomid and switch to femara? It has WAY less emotional side effects with very similar results.

    Best of luck to your friend!

  5. I suffered from depression after three years of TTC and our first failed IVF. I had to go on a break for a little while until my hormone levels stabilized and until I reached a point where I felt well enough to try again without meds. It took a while. I caution your friend against going straight to IVF in order to avoid the effects of Clomid and progesterone. I found IVF much harder on my hormonal system than clomid and had a much more difficult time stabilizing myself after the massive amounts of gonal-f and big doses of progesterone (not to mention the added effects of exhaustion with daily monitoring and stress over follicle size, endometrial thickness, retrieved eggs and their quality, etc.).
    The best advice is to take a break and start again when she feels well enough. I know that time is an issue and that we all want to be pregnant yesterday. But the goal is to have a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby and be healthy too.
    Please send her my email address and tell her to email me if she has any questions at all. Infertility is lonely, but infertility with depression is almost unbearable. I’m 8 years in…it’s a hard road.

  6. I may not be offering the advice offered, but depression and infertility are two subjects close to my heart, since I live with both. What I would want to know is, why does she want to stay off the meds? Is it because the doctor doesn’t think she should be on them, or is it because she just wants to soldier through this without them? If it’s b she needs to take a very hard look at the situation. I’ve talked extensively with my doctors (all of them), who all agreed that being of stable mind and emotion was better for a pregnancy and baby than me being off meds. if she’s suffering that much, meds *may* be something she should consider going back on. I’m sure there are other things to try – maybe acupuncture, massage, therapy. But I know stress and I know depression, and I know that it is a horrible place to be.

    IVF is not going to be any less stressful, so I’m not really sure how she thinks that will help.

  7. Mel

    It’s interesting you posted this today…I just came from an appointment at my Gyn’s and they’ve decided that it would be best for me to go back ON my Zoloft. I’m currently 8 weeks pregnant and have been off the meds since the beginning of September. Fighting back endless tears/anxiety/intense sadness has just been too much of a struggle with the progesterone supplements I’m on. I’ve done TONS of research on the safety of Zoloft/Prozac during pregnancy and have determined that it’s more risky for me to be off it…for the time being. I’d really encourage her to have a heart-to-heart with her RE/OB/Psychologist. Please send all my best to her.

  8. Coach Louise

    All these posts and information is wonderful. I wanted to mention that a friend of mine who wasn’t depressed before she got pregnant actually became depressed during – apparently this can also be triggered by pregnancy, its not just post- partum.. so if your friend is prone to depression it might be important to address her depression by staying on the pills during the pregnancy. She could also explore natural ways of supporting herself, as I mentioned before, as well as having the support of a therapist or professional.

    Warmly,
    Coach Louise

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