It’s pre and post natal depression week! Yes, it’s possible to have prenatal depression. It’s not something that is widely talked about. For me, prenatal depression was the most agonising time of my life. I suffered badly from it in my first pregnancy from the start of my second trimester. Some people never know what causes the on set of depression but I knew what triggered it. It was like I had an out of body experience and could see myself going through it but couldn’t stop it. Weird, right?
My trigger was when we first found out that something was wrong with the baby’s growth. My, the hospital scared us good and for weeks we were told to prepare that the baby would have Down’s syndrome or would have some form of dwarfism. I blamed myself as any parent would, and we prepared and got our heads around it as we knew we would love this baby regardless. Just as I had pulled myself together, the hospital threw another curveball at us, the baby’s growth was behind but baby was ok and the stunted growth was put down to the fact that me and my husband weren’t tall anyway. Then, the investigations began and it slowly felt like every time we went for a scan or a normal check up, something else would be thrown at us. Every time this happened, I felt myself slipping and slipping until I found myself crying myself to sleep every night praying that the baby was ok.
With prenantal (and postnantal) depression, you end up just going through the motions. You have to carry on for the baby’s sake. All you want to do is breakdown and pretend like none of it is happening. But that little miracle gives you a sense of strength and it takes hold, even it’s just for a second. But there’s a sense of relief, right in that second. I didn’t get a sense of proper relief until I heard my baby let out his first cry in the operatating theatre. And it was the weirdest feeling when he came home 6 weeks later. All my anxiety and dread had disappeared. He was home. He was safe. He was healthy and that’s all that mattered.
In my experience, prenatal depression can be ended quickly. Once that baby is in your arms, you forget everything and become super mum. It’s the best feeling ever. Post natal depression is slightly harder to come out of. It’s usually coupled with a lot of self blame. For example, thinking that your not good enough, or a good mum. I remember the health visitor coming and telling me that my son was underweight and that I needed to feed him more. And they are still telling me today and he’s 2! My point is, it’s easy to take it like it’s being said against you. It’s only after that you realise that it was all said in your best interests.
So how to combat postnatal depression:
▪️Join some mother baby classes, such as Rhythm time or Gymboree. I made some amazing friends at Gymboree who have become friends for life!
▪️Go for a walk. Now I don’t mean round the block. If you can’t do that far then don’t push. Just go in the back garden and chill. Take in that fresh air! It will do wonders.
▪️Don’t be afraid to ask for help! No one will think any less of you if you ask for a little or lots of help! Everyone needs a helping hand at some point. So talk to your midwife, health visitor or even GP.
▪️Believe and trust that you are doing the right thing for your baby. If you have doubts, ask someone. Don’t sit and think about it and make yourself feel worse. Believe me, I know that’s all you want to do, but it doesn’t help you and doesn’t help baby. Happy momma equals happy baby!
Most importantly, believe that it will end! That rut will end. You will become you. You have done the most amazing thing of bringing this life into the world. Be proud! Be strong! Yes, we will still be anxious but I don’t think we will stop worrying about them ever!
Prenatal and postnatal depression is such a harrowing thing. If you, or someone you know is suffering please seek help, whether it’s from a friend, family, health professional or even a stranger! Talking it out can sometimes release half the problem! Don’t suffer in silence! Remember, happy mummy equals happy baby! And you both deserve to be happy!
My inbox is always open for those who need an ear.. don’t hesitate to message ❤️