In a new interview, singer and songwriter Meghan Trainor is opening up about the hardships she endured after her son was born—particularly in relation to her son’s stay in the NICU during his first few days of life.
After a difficult pregnancy and C-section delivery, Trainor’s son Riley—whom she shares with husband Daryl Sabara—her son Riley arrived in February 2021. After her son’s birth, she had to keep him in the neonatal intensive car unit (NICU), for a few more days. Trainor says that the nurses at the time did not help her to calm down about her concerns. They made her feel like she was in pain. she It was their fault.
“They kept asking me if I was on antidepressants during the pregnancy, and I was, but on the lowest dose possible, and all my doctors said it was safe and wouldn’t affect him,” she tells Romper. “It was really f***ed up. They didn’t know what was wrong. He just wouldn’t wake up. They said, ‘It’s really up to Riley when he wants to wake up.’ I’d be like ‘Really? Can’t you just zap him and get him up?’”
Related: It can be hard to spot postpartum depression. Here’s why you should enlist your partner’s help
Women who are pregnant and take antidepressants, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be concerned about the possibility of birth defects. Johns Hopkins Medicine states that antidepressants should not be tapered during pregnancy.
“We can say with strong confidence that antidepressants don’t cause birth defects,” says Lauren Osborne, M.D., assistant director of the Johns Hopkins Women’s Mood Disorders Center. Osborne says studies finding a physical effect on babies from antidepressants taken during pregnancy fail to account for the effects of the mother’s psychiatric illness.
A developing foetus can be at risk if a mental illness is not treated. Pregnant women who are depressed or pregnant will be less likely to receive good prenatal care and may engage in more dangerous and unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and substance abuse. Osborne says that mental illness can also have direct consequences for newborn babies.
Related: You’re allowed to feel the grief and joy of being a NICU mom
“Untreated depression may increase preterm birth or cause low birth weight,” she says. “Babies of depressed moms have higher levels of a hormone called cortisol. This raises a baby’s risk of developing depression, anxiety and behavioral disorders later in life.”
Motherhood, self-blame, and guilt seem to go hand in hand far more than they should. Feeling like you’re to blame—or being made to feel like you’re to blame—during such a terrifying first few days of motherhood is absolutely awful.
After just five days, Trainor and Sabara brought Riley home. He didn’t cry for the first month, which led to anxiety and panic attacks.
“We kept being like, ‘Uh oh, what’s up with him? Is this what serial killers are like when they’re first born? They never cry?’” she said.
Despite the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and her son’s newborn days, Trainor says she and Sabara still want more children—and may even begin trying again in the fall.
She says, “I would like twins.” “A two-for-one deal.”