Maternal Mental Health, Antidepressants & WEIGHT GAIN!

This is perhaps, ironically, the hardest post I have ever written – it’s so personal and it’s by far my biggest vulnerability on display. However, I know there must be others out there, who feel similar to me or are struggling too. So, if this helps one person know they are not alone, then it’s worth it.

I weighed myself this weekend. I haven’t been on the scales for over a year, in fact it might actually be more than that, maybe even almost two! I don’t do it that often – I can’t bear the stress of building up to stepping on them, the fear when I open my eyes and then how the numbers swarm around my head for hours afterwards.

This weekend I knew I needed to face the truth. I know I have put on weight – my clothes tell the tale – and I wanted to be able to face the numbers head on and deal with them.

Weight gain was a major concern for me when knew I was to begin Antidepressants. My weight has always been an issue – I have shared about it and my issues during pregnancy in this post

The reality is, the month before I got pregnant I was super skinny – I was ‘under weight’ on the BMI chart and secretly proud of it. I had no intention of slowly down either. Then I fell pregnant and knew things had to change and were going to change and I was terrified of it –

When we found out I was pregnant, in January, I’m guessing our mix of emotions were similar to many other peoples’ in this situation; shock, uncertainty, excitement, fear, anticipation, huge expectations and lots and lots of questions! For me, however, there was an overwhelming emotion or fear I had to battle right from day one  – “How on earth am I going to cope with all the weight that I am going to gain?”.  More here


If you read the above post, you’ll can see how my weight progressed during pregnancy.

Just prove I’m not making it up, here I am 6 months pregnant. This dress I’d worn numerous times, before carrying my wee one – it wasn’t even that tight to zip up here!!

After giving birth the weight just fell off. In recovery, after c-section, the nurse said “Look at how flat your tummy is, you lucky thing!”.

Just before my six week Postnatal GP check-up, I weighed 10 lbs heavier that I was at my tiniest (I know now I was too thin back then,”under weight” is not a good look). I was only sort of happy with that, even though it was actually 6 lbs lighter than I was when we got married! My abdomen was still swollen, from the c-section, but I imagined I could loose another 10lbs easily enough, to get me back on track to my ‘skinny minnie’ days!

I never did get back on the scales.  Instead, for the next 2 years I just got even more ill and my weight was not on my mind in the same way – I was tiny but it was due to my anxiety, obsessive walking, no appetite and feeling sick so such. Now honestly, I loved the fact that my jeans and clothes hung on me – it was about the only thing in life I did feel good about!!

So last September, starting Citalopram (40mg) I did have concerns about weight gain. But I was so desperate to get well that I knew I had to give the tablets a go.

I also believed if I kept to my good diet (of course I have a few treats but I am a very disciplined eater and very strict) I would be able to keep on top of it.

I’ve had a few clear outs of clothes that don’t fit me right or sit in a way I’m happy with anymore, over the last few months. Granted, some of them where 8 years old – I am a hoarder!! So I have known that my shape has changed (apparently that’s just part of becoming a mum) but my weight has too.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-09-34-27This weekend I faced the scales and the numbers… I am almost a stone heavier that I was before the 6 week GP appointment. Oh my word. I was almost sick as I read the numbers, though not unprepared – I know my body well and could tell I was not going to be happy. Flip, I can’t tell you how hard it is to see and know. I have no idea how I going to cope if they continue to creep up!

The biggest emotion I feel is shame  – I am utterly ashamed of myself for putting on weight. How could I allow this to happen? How could I be so undisciplined? I am throughly disappointed in myself. But here’s my problem – my diet isn’t perfect but it’s not significantly different to what it has always been. I also now swim 4 times a week, the energy burning walks aren’t happening – Reuben won’t sit in the buggy for a power push so we normally end up having a wee stroll! So it’s not like I have been willingly encouraging this, I think it would be easier if I had. I feel quite powerless about it now.

The only two things that have changed, in a major way, are:

1. I am now well. I have recovered significantly from where I was this time last year. But even that doesn’t really console me. I’m delighted to be much better but the ‘me before PND’ was well and thin. Honestly, where has that girl gone? Why is my body now responding like this, when I am still taking as much care of it as ever? Which leads to me to…

2. Citalopram, Antidepressant. I have done my research. I am not the only one to put on weight with     AD’s. I reached out a little this week and I’ve now heard from other mums who are struggling too. So it’s not just me, that feels a bit better but doesn’t help in front of the mirror. I know that not everyone experiences significant weight gain (i.e. more that couple of lbs) but it seems like at least 25% of us do – why on earth I have to belong to this statistic I don’t know. Thanks PND, it really feels like the last thing I need.

I also have read information about it and have found these both somewhat enlightening –



And yet, even with all that information at my disposal I still am not coping that well. I am terrified that certain people are looking at me, with disgust, and wondering why I have not been able to be keep the weight off. I feel quite disgusted with myself and when I catch a glimpse or photo – I am trying hard to battle those thoughts.

I am now reducing my dose – at my GP’s suggestion. Though, it’s not for anything to do with the weight problem, I have been too embarrassed to even mention that to him! But I am praying as I eventually become medication free that I will be able to loose the weight and gain control of the pounds… here’s hoping!

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-12-03-48The one thing keeping me going is this wee dude – my little Reuben!

He doesn’t care one jot about the extra pounds I am carrying, his cuddles still come all the same.

He is the very best thing to come out of PND and all that it has brought to my life!

What’s your experience been like?

Do you have any tips or suggestions?

I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you all for your love and support!