Little Sugar & Cloth: My Third Trimester Update & Antepartum Depression

By the time you’re reading this, we can only hope that I’ve already gone into labor. This means I either posted my second-trimester update way too early, or I waited way too long to share my third-trimester update. 

Either way, it’s best for the sake of physicians scales everywhere and the mental sanity of my husband Jared that I give birth soon.

And in case you’re wondering why it looks like Jared should also be giving birth soon, that’s because I made him wear a weighted, 30-pound sympathy belly with breasts for an entire 24 hour period (including sleeping at night, let’s be real that’s the worst part). 

Now rather than a long monologue of my third-trimester feelings (there are QUITE a lot of those, most of which don’t make sense), I decided to do more of a listicle this go around.

Dads, brothers, and slightly skittish men alike can go ahead and stop reading now because this is likely to get awkward for you. Based on the blog color scheme and my Dad’s general lack of understanding of what I do, it’s not likely many of you will fall under said categories, but clarifying just in case.

Let’s get down to the real chit chat…

Little Sugar & Cloth: My Third Trimester Update & Antepartum Depression by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth

1 — Most days I’m tight like a boa constrictor after eating. Actual footage of me in the grass seen here. Apparently my body realllly loves Braxton Hicks no matter how much rest I get or water I drink.

Basically, it’s setting me up for being in denial that I’ll ever go into real labor. I started having them at 27 weeks and they haven’t stopped since!

2 — Lightning crotch is my newest unsexy phrase that I use regularly. There’s nothing quite like standing in the check out line in the mall trying to act like you’re not getting stabbing ice pick feelings up your vagina while reaching for your credit card to give the cashier.

3 — I’ve had to restrain myself from hateful replies back to people who are either seriously (or jokingly) asking if I’m having more than one baby. Look bro: I don’t talk about what I think you look like, so shut your mouth.

4 — I made the grave mistake of booking maternity photos WAY too late in the game (aka past 8 months pregnant) and thus have a double chin in every single photo basically.

In hindsight, maybe it’s best that we remember this time for what it really was then to have overly idealized photos that I look back on and think overly highly of how I carried myself, lol.

5 — Somewhere along the line…sometime before I lost all sight of my ankles and after becoming a boa constrictor…I got actual bologna nipples.

Like, real life-sized bologna slices right on my boobies. Had NO idea it was physically possible to have my nipples grow that big and change color overnight. They’re basically Transformers.

6 — My husband asked me the other day if “everything was alright in the bathroom” to which I replied, “you try and wipe and pull your panties back up like this!”.

7 — At 38 weeks and 5 days, I’ve officially gained 40 pounds. We’re not sure when exactly I lost my ankles, but I had to stop wearing my wedding ring a few days ago, so feel free to do the weird biological math on that.

Coming in at a hot 5 foot 3 inches and average regular weight, I’m clearly above the weight gain approval range and I’ve officially stopped caring. Instagram needed more curves on their IG stories anyways.

8 — I’m happy to report that I shouldn’t have tried to do any woman-scaping down there on my own before labor. I looked closely in the mirror afterward and it’s about as bad of a botch job as a three-year-old with long bangs and a pair of scissors with little to no hope of it growing back in in time to not be any less humiliating than it already is.

I was too afraid to get a wax job, clearly, so now I’m dealing with this look below the waist.

9 — At 39 weeks, I’ve all but given up on regular clothes. I only wear leggings and everything stretchy over-the-bump-thing that Old Navy sells.

10 — I now have glutes of steel because I literally have to do full on squats every single time I want to pick something up off of the floor. This is only made much worse by my incessant need to clean everything “in case she comes today”.

11 — Basically I stopped making sure-fire plans because I’ve convinced myself “this is really going to be it” every five seconds which means I’ve done almost zero fun things in the last two weeks.

12 — I’m more excited to meet this little girl than I’ve ever been to meet anyone in my entire life, while also equal parts completely terrified of coming home and what life will be like.

I’m not really one to be afraid of change, but this one is different for me. I’ve never been around a lot of babies in my life and kids don’t naturally flock to me like a magnet like they do Jared.

I mean, no pressure on taking home a small human and raising them to be a loving person with compassion and strength all at the same time, right?!

Little Sugar & Cloth: My Third Trimester Update & Antepartum Depression by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth

12 — Last, but surely not least, of this trimester update is antepartum depression. If you follow along on IG stories often, then you’re probably somewhat familiar with some of my recent trials.

It’s been a hard year in general without adding pregnancy hormones to the mix, but around 36 weeks I decided after talking with my husband and OB on several occasions that it was best for both baby and I that I start taking medication (a low dose of Zoloft to be specific) for combatting depression.

I’ve dealt with depression before in high school and college and took medicine for a short period both times. Luckily it’s something that I’m aware runs in my family and personal history so I’m pretty familiar with the signs of it and have found ways to cope on all other occasions drug-free.

Number one being that I’m a BIG believer in therapy. Everyone should have a someone unrelated to their circumstances to talk to regularly if you ask me, but even with that option, I still felt this was different.

Since finding out I was pregnant we’ve renovated our studio, gone through the motions of Hurricane Harvey and studio flooding, renovated our house after multiple unexpected issues and contractor rip-offs, found out my Mom had a large brain aneurysm while they were running scans to check for internal bleeding after being in a car accident from someone running a red light, followed by having several of our employees unexpectedly leave Sugar & Cloth for one reason or another.

Followed by the chaos of trying to work ahead to have any sort of maternity leave while having both Jared and I depending on the same source of income. Then add all of the regular pregnancy hormones, aches and pains, nesting, excitement, and fears… and it just got to be SO MUCH.

Suddenly it was to the point where I was becoming so perpetually sad, hateful, and negative towards myself and then to others that I started having thoughts of people being better off without me, and that’s something that can’t go unaddressed.

More importantly, it’s not fair for my soon-to-be baby or husband to have to compete with emotionally.

I would literally just have bouts of crying and then sitting in a complete daze not wanting to get out of bed or do anything, which is not me at all. I’m a doer by nature, and I’d become a total recluse sectioning myself off from everyone and trying to hide my feelings.

I’m going on week four of medication and plan to continue it through the initial stages of postpartum while keeping a close eye on signs and symptoms. I’m still doing all of my regular self-care habits like saying “no” when things are too much, church messages, taking personal spa days, therapy, trying to keep a regular schedule, essential oils, you name it.

And instead of internalizing the need for medicine as a source of weakness, I’m taking it as a positive reinforcement of making sure I’m setting both me, baby, and our family up for success instead of failure from pride and negativity.

Did any of you deal with antepartum or postpartum depression? I’d love to hear your stories and what you found worked best for you!

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27 thoughts on “Little Sugar & Cloth: My Third Trimester Update & Antepartum Depression”

  1. I was on Zoloft during my 3rd pregnancy, got super depressed after my first pregnancy and had to go on meds then too. I also gained more than 40 pounds each time, for me it was water retention at the end. I peed off 15 pounds of water in the first 2 weeks after my 3rd one. There is no “right” way to be pregnant. The goal is a healthy baby and you’ve got this.
    I will say, pregnancy changed the way my body handled my mental health. Pre parenthood, I could manage without medication. Post, there is no way in hell and I developed an anxiety disorder. I am the best kick butt Mama ever, and medication therapy and self care continue to be part of the equation. It took me a long time to get over the shame of it, but it’s good now. Kids are 17 14 and 10. And I lost all the weight each time without killing myself worry about it. You will be fine, and your baby won’t care how little experience you have. To her, you will be Mama, and the center of her universe.

  2. Bravo for the honesty! I’ve always dealt with anxiety, depression and phobias. After having my son, anxiety and phobias hit in really hard, but felt so differently than in the past. I didn’t realize at first what it was and didn’t get help as soon as possibly. Luckily, I had a great support group for moms with babies under 4 months old. I was able to talk about a lot of my fears and it provided that crucial outlet to get out of my head and connect with other people. After getting back into therapy, I’m doing great. Obviously, there are good days and bad days, but I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be a mom and wife and confident in my ability to be both. Hugs and good luck to you all!

  3. You were so right to get help. I so agree that most people would benefit from talking to somebody outside at hard times. It should be encouraged & be a normal way of coping with life.
    Good luck & all will be well.

  4. Ashley,

    Life is too ironic sometimes….as I sit here struggling I was browsing your site which I love and am addicted to, and came upon all of your cute pregnancy photos. Immediately my mind jumped to “oh she’s so lucky…to be having a baby girl, be so successful…and sane”. I was shocked to see this post, as depression can be such a lonely state you think you are the only one suffering. I have been dealing with it for the last 20 years, but the worst time ever was during my first pregnancy. I felt so terribly alone. I had been told by my dr. to cold turkey all meds. Not a good idea. I spent my pregnancy in the worst withdrawal/depression hell. I truly did not think I would make it out alive. I thought they would have to take the baby from me as soon as I had him and put me away somewhere. I decided to go back on a low dose of meds in my 6th month. I did not get totally better but started to at least function. The day I had my son, my depression blessedly disappeared. I was perfect for 6 more years, too. It has come back 3 times since then (16 years ago). Currently I am tapering off all meds and going to natural route. Its slow going but its working. I am here if you ever need to talk to someone who truly understands. I live in LA but am from Houston. Much love to you

  5. Your honesty about pregnancy is SO refreshing. I’ve never been pregnant and cannot pretend to understand what it’s like, but since I do want kids one day, it’s refreshing to read stories like yours that tell it like it really is. I’m so sorry your pregnancy hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine, but I hope it will all feel worth it when your daughter arrives. Hang in there!!

  6. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing so openly and honestly! I am 21 weeks right now and there have been so many things I didn’t expect with pregnancy, and it’s incredibly refreshing to have someone else share like this. And you might feel huge (I do already!) but you look beautiful…and you’re growing a whole human which is absolutely a miracle! Hope by the time you read these comments she’s been born :) xo

  7. This post had me crying I was laughing so hard. Thank you for being real and honest.

    Hang in there! She’s almost here!

  8. Yeah, i remember all of them. Especially that look on people’s faces when i replies “no, i am not having twins. ” Pregnancy is not the best time in a woman’s life. Hope you have an wasy labor and a healthy baby!

  9. I just want to add one sentence after reading the different comments. I found you all amazing human beings and mothers. I wish you the very best. You deserve the very best and even more.
    Love from Laure

  10. I just read your blog and had to comment as I just had my baby girl 4 days ago and could sooooooo relate to every single item on your list (tho really wish I’d known about sympathy belly for hubs bc I’d have loved to let him see why it’s like)! My family “joked” about me having twins almost since I started showing—not to mention calling it a “geriatric pregnancy” since I’m over 35 (40, to be exact) oh and did I mention it took us 4 years to get pregnant with this little baby so how is it funny to joke about how old I am now?! UGH. Anyway, her name is Ella. And she is beautiful. And I’m slowly wearing myself off all the anxiety-inducing heavy medications they put you on and starting to feel normal again. GOOD for you, for knowing your body and preparing your mind for what’s to come. Just mentally knowing you have taken some control will help you so much over the next few weeks. I wish you the smoothest of deliveries and soon you will have this beautiful little angel in your arms and your next chapter can finally begin. XOXO

  11. You look awesome! Congratulations to you and your husband. I had an anxious & restless pregnancy with my son, I guess coz it was my first. Overall I was healthy and quite happy. May you have a happy healthy baby! ☺ ♥

  12. Oh Ashley, I’m so sorry all these things happened during your pregnancy, what a shit storm, and I think anyone would want to crawl under the covers after it all. So I gained 55 lbs with my first pregnancy, I’m also 5’3” and once I reached 183 lbs I refused to step on the scale. Something about the first just rocks your body I think, but you WILL go back to normal, it seems so far away but like you said you’re a doer! I didn’t get maternity photos because I never ever wanted to see myself so large. Now I kind of regret it. Anyway, this darling little baby girl is going to be so lucky with parents like you both! Can’t wait for you both!

  13. Oh my gosh. This was me!

    There is a lot of depression in my family, but I always thought my mom and I were the ones who weren’t effected. I thought I should be happy throughout my pregnancy, and I just wasn’t. I thought medication was not for me. It wasn’t made easier by the fact that the two women closest to me had been trying to get pregnant and I fell pregnant, not even trying. I felt I couldn’t complain or admit how sad I was.

    It took me five years to seek help and realise that despite my best efforts of therapy and exercise and sleep that I needed some medication to help me stop the negative thoughts and fears. Sadly, it negatively impacted on my relationship with my daughter. All was not lost, though, and I have worked my a&& off to get things back on track.

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. I know it is so scary to do, but there will be so many women out there for whom this resonates and for whom can get help to make the transition the best possible one.

    Hope your sweet girl is on this side soon. I still laugh at the thought of my daughter when she was born. She’s a very happy cheeky girl but when she came out she looked and me and my husband like were so horrible to get her out of that wonderful warm, dark spot she was used to.

    Oh and PS my mom reckons the horrendous pregnant feeling is an evolutionary trait, otherwise we’d be forever scared of labor. But after feeling like that, we are begging for it to happen!

  14. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over the last few years after seeing you speak at C&C in Dallas, but this is my first time commenting! :) Funny enough- I was newly pregnant when I first meet you. Its been so fun to watch your pregnancy journey! I just love how honest this post is, and I feel like number 12 really spoke to me. Before I had my daughter I was also not a baby person. It’s not that I didn’t think they were cute, I just wasn’t the gushing- I have to hold that baby- type. Once you become a Mom none of that matters. And you don’t have to be a baby person to be a good Mom. I’m so excited for you to meet your baby girl. There’s nothing like it, and until you’ve experienced it yourself it’s hard to explain. Sending all those positive vibes that she comes soon. Xo!

  15. Honestly I think gaining 40 lbs is normal. I gained 40 lbs so did some people and bloggers I know, about a pound a week. It’s so exciting that you will be giving birth soon! It’s going to be an amazing and empowering experience becoming a mama. After the first few months you will become confident as a new mama, at least I did it gets easier. Cherish it all because it goes by so fast our baby girl will be one year old in a few days! Best wishes, you will be wonderful parents and your daughter will bring so much joy to your lives!

  16. You’ve got this. I’m sitting next to my 4 month old and I get it. I had zero baby experience and my husband LOVES kids. I was an anxious pregnant lady and 4th trimester too. I love this little baby and I’m learning, but I’m admittedly awkward.

    Trust me, after faking it a few hundred times (diaper changing, feeding, even passing her back and forth), it becomes real and doable and even natural.

    Don’t worry for a second if you don’t “enjoy every moment” or “savor the little things.” It’s work and it’s okay to say that. Every stage does get easier, though.

    You’ll find a rhythm and joy again. Can’t wait to “meet” her through Instagram :)

  17. Yes, I had depression before my second child was born, something I had not experienced to that degree. Tears, puffy face, red nose and huge belly in one photo. However, it went away after my son was born and didn’t return until he was a teenager… I didn’t have depression with my first or third baby. I was also 5’3″ and gained 35 lbs. every time. Since I was only 100 lbs. when I became pregnant the first time, I had as many lines as a road map on my lower abdomen. Pregnancy did not always work well for me. I had 6 miscarriages, and spent two months in bed vomiting hourly with my first child, and one month in bed after hemorrhaging with my second. My third successful pregnancy was fairly uneventful. Now, all this took place in the 1960’s! I never knew the sex until they were born, and the first delivery the doctor gave me some witch’s brew called twilight sleep, which is never use anymore. My daughter had one miscarriage, but did very well with her other three pregnancies, had natural childbirth with the assistance of midwives and two ogf her kids were born at home! And not even one stitch! I was so incredibly grateful that she didn’t have my problems. It is much better now! I think you will feel much better after the baby is here, and antepartum depression doesn’t mean you will have postpartum depression! I wasn’t taking any medication and the depression just went away. Just take good care of yourself and enjoy that gift of a daughter. Mine is 55 years old, and I have loved every minute of her life.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle with antepartum depression. I am pregnant and experiencing much of the same, then feeling so much guilt and isolation, thinking something is wrong with me for feeling this way. Your story makes me feel I’m not alone. I have never left a comment on anything on the internet ever, but just wanted you to know how much your story and willingness to share has helped me. Thank you!

  19. Oh Ashley, I am sorry but I giggled and nodded through this whole post! Not at the depression part but the flashbacks to my own pregnancies! I promise, once she is here you forget about the entire process and will be lost in the wonder of this new person you two created! Then that wears off about a week or so when you haven’t slept and you are offending yourself with your own smell because you don’t have time for a bath! 😉 All us moms have been there, the struggle is real and our love goes out to you!

  20. Ashley, this post is just spot on. I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with #3 and all I can think is, “what we’re WE thinking?!” I feel our pain. With #1 I too got put on Zoloft during my pregnancy, the fear of the unknown just consumed my life and it was just too much for me to handle. Baby #2 was planned, and so it was mostly smooth sailing. This time around was an “oops” and for some reason that fear of the unknown, being OUTNUMBERED consumes me again. I’m having those same feelings as I did with my first! Growing a human is hard work, your body just goes out the window, your hormones are on a rollercoaster, and add everything else we’re supposed to deal with on a daily basis. You’re NOT alone!! Hang in there mama, once you meet baby girl it’ll definitely put things into perspective!! Xoxo

  21. Ashley thanks for sharing. You’re a wonderful writer and I enjoyed reading this while feeling for your struggle. Like some of the other comments… I just want to hug you and commend you for sharing.

  22. Oh Ashley! I haven’t seen you in a while but you look the cutest, as always, with your bump! I gained about that much, too, so I know how you feel. I also had post-pardum depression with our first. I waited waaay too long to get help. We were a newly married couple, I was super young, all she did was cry (no REALLY. Like ALL THE TIME) and we were living overseas with no support system. Once I got on some meds I was fine but those first few months were a doozy. The second time around I took meds preventitively for a month and I had no problems. I’m sorry that you are going through this, but your life is about to be changed in so many ways for the better. Also, girls are THE BEST! Hugs!!!

  23. I was nauseated and vomiting for about half of both my pregnancies to the point that I had to take suppositories because I couldn’t keep the phenergen down long enough to work. That made me sleep all day. I gained 40 pounds my first pregnancy as well – all during the second half once the nausea finally went away so stretch mark city!

    I also dealt with depression. When your grandma has always been described as “nervous” and your mom is pretty tightly wound and tells you she had PPD, you believe your feelings. I took Zoloft the first two times and later Lexapro for a time when they were teens. Therapy does help as well.

    Hang in there and treat yourself well.

    Andrea Dekker has a blog and she just wrote a post about the fourth trimester – the first twelve weeks of her fourth baby’s life. It would be a great read for you!

    Best wishes!

  24. Thank you for being so honest about your experience. It makes a difference when people are willing to share their struggles so openly. It’s so rare to have any stories come from mothers with mental health concerns that every story is so powerful. It makes the rest of us feel like a little less alone. You are setting a great example with this post. Thank you for your strength.

  25. Oh Ashley!! Thank you for your candidness and bravery. I struggled HARD with antepartum depression to the point where I had dreams and thoughts of cutting the baby out of my stomach so it would all be over and I could just die. It was horrible and you see and hear stories of women with glowing, beautiful pregnancies and it made me feel so isolated that i wasn’t having that experience too.
    Just know this: you are the best mom that little girl could ask for. You are everything that she needs. She already loves you so much already.. There is no such thing as the perfect mother, despite what you may see or think. I’m so excited for you to meet your gorgeous girl and hope she comes super soon. Xoxo

  26. You are gorgeous and going to be such a good mom! I was a terrible pregnant person, and also had times where I felt depressed and the anxiety of getting things done for my small business would consume me. Once baby arrived though, I was amazed how good it felt to not be pregnant. Yes, I was up every few hours trying to figure out dang breastfeeding (survive the first few weeks and you feel better), but at least when I slept, I actually slept! Plus my heartburn and nauseous went away, and those dumb braxton hicks. You got this mama and your sweet baby girl will be so worth it!!!

  27. Dear Ashley,
    I never dare to write you before; even if I am a big fan of your blog. It is always a source of excitement and joy to discover each of your post. So, after reading this one, I just wanted to hug you and tell you everything is going to be ok and f*** off anyone who dare to comment on your very personal decisions.
    I decide with my husband and best friend Nicolas to sell everything, leave Paris and its grotesque everyday life, travel the world and work via computers. We don’t want babies (you never know, maybe we might change our mind one day). We just want to savour what life has to offer. After Bali, Japan, Bangkok, we are in Kuala Lumpur where we came across the nicest, sweetest human beings. And I am with the love of my life and best friend every single day.
    You are a fantastic person, who is about to be a great Mom and who has the courage to take matters on her own hands. That is simply fantastic and huge!
    Sending you a warm hug from Kuala Lumpur. A bientôt, Laure


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