Prenatal Depression: Overcoming Hispanic Cultural Stigma

What Women Really Think
Aug. 16 2012 12:45 PM

Not Just the Pregnancy Blues: Overcoming the Hispanic Cultural Stigma Against Prenatal Depression

Unhappy pregnant woman.
Stories of prenatal depression.

Photo by Tatiana Gladskikh/iStockphoto.

As part of Jessica Grose’s series on prenatal depression, we asked readers to share their stories about depression during pregnancy. The second entry comes from a mother of two whose third pregnancy was complicated by depression and cultural stigma. 

Name: D. Conway

Advertisement

I am a mother of three beautiful daughters. My oldest will be 9 next month, my second daughter is 6, and my baby just turned 10 months. With my first two pregnancies I did not experience anything negative and felt like I did well during and after the pregnancy. The third pregnancy was very, very different. I went from getting agitated easily to feeling huge amounts of rage in a matter of seconds. After that I would cry and cry. I seriously wanted to claw out of my skin because I really did think I felt my skin itch. I remember how I couldn't stand myself and constantly had to remind myself that there is an innocent human being inside me, so I had to contain my deep darker thoughts and keep myself together. I was going to school and working full-time but I wasn't counting down the months I had left of school or the hours in a workday, I was counting down the days left until I gave birth. I knew it was the pregnancy that was making me feel and act this way.

I remember I made so many hysterical calls to my husband yelling and crying on the phone demanding he be home with me (when the guy was already driving home). After one call in particular he walked into the bathroom while I was sitting in a bath just crying my eyes out. He looked at me and said, "There is something seriously wrong with you. This can’t be normal.” I looked at him and told him that yes, I needed his help to step in as much as possible and not leave me alone or with the other two children, until further notice. If he couldn't commit to that, he should let me know because I would go to the doctor and get hospitalized. I confessed to him I did not feel it was in the girls’ best interest or in the unborn baby's best interest for me to be left alone because I felt too unstable. Secretly I knew in the second month that there was something wrong and I wasn't going to overcome it on my own.

The second problem that shut the door to my seeking help is my culture. I am Hispanic and if I were to tell my relatives what I was feeling I would be told I was being ridiculous and to knock it off, that I wanted children so it's no else's fault but my own, and I should deal with it without any whining. Depression in general isn't acknowledged as a condition in our culture, let alone the baby blues. I am very thankful to my husband because he kept his word and stuck by me closer than usual. My youngest was born a week early and is a healthy, happy little girl who has two overprotective and loving sisters.

Previously in this series:

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.