Jillian Harris never imagined pregnancy could be anything but blissful — until she found herself battling her way through her first trimester with her second child.
The former Bachelorette star — who announced on Thursday that she and fiancé Justin Pasutto will be welcoming a sibling for 20-month-old son Leo George in October — revealed in an interview with Today that she suffered depression early on in her pregnancy.
“Pregnancy is supposed to be such a happy time … but I was just so exhausted and sick that I wasn’t happy,” Harris, 38, told Today.
The unfamiliar feelings, she says, came as a surprise following an easy pregnancy with her firstborn.
“My pregnancy with Leo was a breeze,” explains Harris, the host of Love It or List It, Too. “Women would say, ‘How do you feel?’ And I would say, ‘I feel wonderful!’ And they would say, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re so lucky.’ And I would think, ‘What’s the alternative?’ And now I know.”
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The mom-to-be found herself unable to do daily tasks around the house and found herself torn between the crippling effects of her depression and being there for her toddler son.
“I wasn’t doing laundry. I wasn’t showering. I wasn’t doing anything. I wanted to be a good mom to Leo and I wanted to take care of the baby inside of me and I could barely do that,” she explains.
“I was just so physically ill and my body felt like it was shutting down. I wasn’t able to do anything I usually do. I felt so useless.”
Pasutto picked up on his partner’s emotional state and stepped in, but despite his efforts, the conversation left Harris in tears.
“At one point , he was like, ‘I know you’re struggling, but if there is any way you could give me an indication that you’re happy, I would love to just see you smile,’ ” recalls the former reality star. “I looked at him and just started crying.”
Now in her second trimester, Harris says the depression has passed and she is feeling like herself again. But the expectant star knows there are others who aren’t as fortunate and spend their pregnancies battling the roller coaster of emotions.
“I kept praying it would pass and I’m so grateful that it has,” she says. “But there are women who experience these emotions their entire pregnancy.”