As I stepped into my third trimester who would have known how bittersweet this pregnancy would feel. I found myself questioning… Am I suffering from depression during pregnancy? I decided to publish this post after another episode of losing control of my feelings. I hope it helps at least one Mother to reach out for the help that she may be needing right now.
From The Heart
5.30am and I am laying awake crying. In the spare room. Alone.
My 6-year-old Daughter is sound asleep in her bed and I am feeling guilty about bringing another baby into the family. At 7 months pregnant why am I not celebrating with joy that Olivia is finally going to get a sibling and one that we have longed for.
My Husband is in bed in our new room, light and airy, modern and transformed to my liking to enable me a peaceful and restful environment. Truth is that although the bedroom has been ready for weeks now, I’ve just wanted to be alone in the spare room. Wanting the rest, alone time and space. Or is it an excuse? Is there something deeper going on?
My Husband cannot do anything right and I know that I am isolating myself from our marriage. A marriage and household that has always been so happy and firm is falling apart before my eyes. And he’s trying and trying yet nothing is good enough for me. I am angry one week and tearful the next.
Some days I feel on top of the world, yet some days I feel totally out of control and unprepared for the new arrival. My baby is a girl. I already have a girl that I am so in love with so why do I not feel the overwhelming emotions of welcoming another one. I know I am a good mum with so much love to give but this pregnancy has left me questioning whether I have enough energy and love to share amongst everyone. I am tired, emotionally rather than physically and some evenings when everyone is in bed, I allow myself to fall apart and cry.
What will people think?
I desperately want to go and cuddle my Husband, wake him up and tell him how I am feeling today. But will he understand? Will he judge me and think me an unfit Mother or wife. Do I just type type type and let all the emotions out. Probably for this post to go unpublished like so many of my other past writings from when I felt sad.
What if I feel normal again in a few days and regret sharing how I have been feeling. What if people that so desperately want children judge me for being ungrateful? Am I being ungrateful for most days I celebrate the tiny girl inside my tummy and fill her nursery with the sweetest decor and look forward to her having a big family with a protective sister and cousins so close in age?
When I think about this tiny newborn and rush of love that motherhood brings I smile and feel comfort. It’s there, deep inside the maternal bond is definitely there. But something is overpowering those thoughts.
This is what I do, I type. It is a coping mechanism that came from somewhere. Perhaps when my Mum had terminal cancer, writing is how I coped. I kept a diary every day and wrote about what we did and how she was feeling every night before bed. We had so many beautiful moments and remembering how close we were really got me through the most horrendous ordeal of my life. As I type now I can feel myself calming down and relaxing a little.
The day it all went wrong
My pregnancy wasn’t always like this. For the first 22 weeks, I was blooming. Every day was exciting and I stayed active, ate well and kept a positive pregnancy diary. My Husband was the brunt of a few pregnancy hormones but nothing too serious and nothing really changed, apart from the fact that I had gained a beautiful round bump and felt a little more tired than usual.
Christmas came and that’s when I noticed that the feelings didn’t just feel like pregnancy hormones anymore. I was with all of the people I loved best, the house was full with everything we all ever wanted and needed and everyone was happy. The dining room was full of laughter yet I felt so disconnected. There but not really there.
Over the coming weeks, I started to exercise less and feel nauseous around food. My stomach would cringe at every meal served and I would end up in the toilet and on the toilet with anxiety in my tummy before I had even eaten. A full plate of food was overwhelming. I had gone from a real foodie who loved to share my meals and Buddha bowl ideas on Instagram to someone who felt so out of control when it came to eating.
Then at 22 weeks pregnant, I had a small show and was rushed to a specialist neonatal unit. My body and tests showed that I was in labour. After my first steroid shot given to me in my thigh to help mature the babies lungs, l had the worst panic attack of my life. Blue lights were flashing from the speeding ambulance above me as the midwives sat by my side. My body was a wreck. I couldn’t control my bowels, my legs were like jelly and so weak and worst of all my body was shivering and shaking all over. That episode of anxiety lasted 8 hours and was hell. There was nothing anyone could do or say to get me out of that situation and I just had to wait until my brain accepted that my baby and I were safe. After a four day stint in hospital and comfortable knowing that the baby was staying put, I was allowed home. For a few days, all was ok albeit food. The steroid shots totally wiped me out but I found it hard to relax. I slowly got back to exercising and started talk therapy so for a few weeks, everything was mostly dandy. I had felt that something wasn’t quite right so I just put it down to hormones and let my a few close family members and friends know how I was feeling. I was terrified nobody would notice if I went downhill and to be honest, nobody really did.
Until one day I cracked
Until one day I cracked. I cried and cried. I cried just as much as I did the day my mum died. My heart overrun with total sadness. And I didn’t know why.
The next day I cried and cried again developing a breathtaking hole in my chest, a feeling of panic and loss of control. The anger had gone and been replaced by tears. I needed my Husband and he was there for me. He tried to help me by arranging nice things, making me rest and serving small meals that I could handle. He tried to get me out of the house and take me to the shops to do small jobs. As we walked into the card shop I immediately felt overwhelmed. Walking down the isles left me feeling claustrophobic and breathless. I felt as if a white light was shining brightly into my eyes and I stumbled my way through the other customers to get out of there. I could no longer be in crowded places yet the quietest of places left me feeling vulnerable and alone. I went back to the car and took off my bra. I had to let my chest feel as free as possible and take back some control over my body.
For the next few days, I cried and cried again. Talking therapy wasn’t helping this particular problem and was costing me money too.
I finally got help
I picked up the phone and called my midwife. I explained how I was feeling and she booked me in for a meeting the following morning. I drive to the hospital feeling out of control, anxious and tearful and as soon as I entered her room, I cried. She comforted me and told me to just cry for a while until I was ready to talk. She constantly reassured me and held me. That day my midwife fully supported my needs. Because of the preterm labour scare, I was Registered with a specialist neonatal (midwife-led) unit near my home. I told her everything, every thought and every symptom and her response was calming, effective and understanding. I was not rushed and she gave me as long as I needed to talk and take her advice. That visit followed up with a consultant and more of my questions were answered.
A few weeks on and I find myself in the same position. I know In a few hours as daylight draws that I can pick up the phone and get the support I need. There is a little voice in my head making me feel embarrassed, causing paranoia about something I ate earlier. Questioning why the baby isn’t as active today but mostly the tears are falling. I know there is support waiting for me as I take another step to admitting that I need some more help.
Please if you are pregnant and resonating with anything you are reading then reach out to a professional.
I have found a really useful website for women who may be suffering and looking for some reading material. Click here
*Images copyright of Samantha Jayne Giles / Woburn photography*