At 30 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with antenatal depression (you can read my diagnosis story over at Mumsy Midwife). I can’t describe what a crushing blow it was. Even though on some level, it was a relief to hear that there was a reason behind my debilitating mood, hearing those words made me feel like a complete and utter failure. I thought it was my fault. I cursed myself for already being a ‘bad mother’ and was determined – for my sake and Pickle’s – to turn things around as quickly as I could.
Although any form of perinatal depression is more common if the patient has a history of mental health concerns, it wasn’t something I had ever experienced before. I didn’t really know how long it was likely to last, and how I’d feel on the medication I’d been given. I wanted to feel like there was a light at the end of a tunnel, but without having an accurate measurement for how long the tunnel was, it was difficult to feel hope was coming any time soon. However, I knew what I could do to help myself feel a bit more like myself again. I knew I needed to make myself feel a bit more proud of my achievements (however small!), I knew I needed to get some better nutrition and I knew being honest and open with my friends and family would make me feel less alone…. So I made myself an action list of things I wanted to do – some daily tasks, some weekly or some one-off – that I hoped would pull me out of the depression cloud quicker.
Whatever I had chosen to do this weekend, I’d be wracked with guilt. Guilt is a weird word to use because it inherently implies that I’ve done something wrong, something naughty or illegal… which I don’t think I have, but I still feel guilty. Mummy Guilt. This weekend, I’m missing out on my best friend’s hen do.
Before Pickle was born, I was determined that I’d be able to attend. Admittedly, I was nervous – I had no idea how I’d feel about leaving a baby behind and not knowing how easy or difficult I’d find it made me anxious. But I knew I wanted to go. She’s my best friend! Of COURSE I had to go. I wanted to be there to celebrate this huge milestone event. I wanted to drink cocktails and be all embarrassed by dressing up in the typical hen do regalia! How could I miss it? It was such a no brainer that I didn’t even really consider the practicalities thoroughly. I just had the vague idea that I could express my milk and it’d be nice for LPD (Little Pickle’s Dad) to have a whole weekend exclusively with the baby. Easy peasy.
It’s something I’ve alluded to for a while but not openly admitted: I suffered from antenatal depression whilst pregnant. Thankfully, now that I’m feeling a million times better, I’m ready to be more open and honest about my perinatal mental health and I’m looking forward to sharing more about my experience.
Read the beginning of my antenatal depression journey over on Mumsy Midwife
If you think you might be suffering perinatal mental health issues or know someone who is and haven’t yet sought help – I can’t encourage you to do so enough. It MASSIVELY helped me. I am by no means an expert or even that knowledgeable in the area, but I am always here to listen if you or someone you know would like to talk. You can find me on the following social media links or feel free to send me an email.
Much like Pickle, this post is long overdue… but I am incredibly proud and excited to properly introduce our beautiful baby boy.
He was born at 4.50pm, on Friday 3rd June – at exactly 42 weeks gestation via an emergency c-section. After starting my induction at 10am on the Wednesday, it was a long long affair but that’s a story for another day. If you read my post about facing my fears of induction, pretty much everything I didn’t want to happen, did happen! But that’s okay, because our gorgeous son is here safe and sound and I have absolutely no regrets.
I’m writing this at 9pm on Tuesday 31st May 2016. 11 days overdue and no longer under the illusion that Pickle will be a May-baby. I could throttle all those people who have said to me over the past however many months ‘Oh May, what a lovely time to have a baby.’ I’m about to enter the world of labour induction.
On Wednesday 1st June, at 8am, I’ll be ringing the Antenatal Ward at Worcester Royal Hospital to see what time they want me in for a labour induction. The one and only thing I always said I wanted to avoid.
As with all things pregnancy and baby-related, there’s no one way that this could go. And just because I’m in ‘the diary’, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I could ring up tomorrow and be told one of many things: