Ellisa Edeyaoch shared her struggles with pain, fatigue, illness, social isolation and mental health during her pregnancy were all worth it when she saw her newborn son, Elijah, for the first time. “No matter how hard it was for me and how unprepared I was, at that moment, in that split second, I remembered all of the good times I had while I was pregnant.”
Edeyaoch, a senior studying Pacific Island Studies from Micronesia, said she wished she had known more about the trials of being pregnant before her own experience after giving birth to Elijah in September 2022.
“The first trimester was one of the hardest months with school and with my mental health. … I was kind of overwhelmed,” she said. While working at the Joseph F. Smith Library, she said her employers were very understanding of her health condition, allowing her to have days off. However, she said she felt guilty for taking so many days off, especially from school.
Edeyaoch’s husband and Elijah’s father, Kaytano Edeyaoch, a BYUH alumnus who studied communications and is currently working at the Banyan Dining Hall full-time, said, “I am sure about 80 percent of our co-workers had no idea what was going on.”
He shared he had several pregnant classmates and saw them missing classes, but he said he did not know what they were going through until he saw his wife going through her pregnancy. She had days when she couldn’t even get out of bed, said Kaytano Edeyaoch.
Ellisa Edeyaoch said she felt lonely during her pregnancy but thought it was just a pregnancy hormone. Since the culture where she grew up does not consider mental health to be a real issue, asking for help was embarrassing to her, she said.
“I remember feeling very alone, but at the same time, I was too shy to reach out for help,” she added. Because she felt ashamed to have those feelings, she said she kept them to herself until she noticed it was affecting her schooling and work.
Read more at KeAlakai.BYUH.edu.