After luka was plucked from my body in that cold and sterile room, something changed. I wasn’t- i couldn’t be- the same person I was before. I struggled to come to terms with what happened and it took me a long time to bond with him. I have lots of regrets for those early days. The weeks, months and then years in which I never admitted how I was feeling. After being dismissed by my gp, I assumed I was in this alone.
And despite knowing I should’ve got help, I didn’t. And despite promising myself I wouldn’t let it get like that again, it did.
My last pregnancy was not easy. There were some dark days. Days that felt like I was losing the battle to cling on to the edges of my life. Days that felt like screaming silently into a black hole. Days that felt like nobody really truly got me at all. From the horrible, awful sickness to the anguished anxiety of weekly growth scans and doppler scans and CTG monitoring… To the unknown. Would I get my VBAC? Was my baby going to be born early, or will they allow me a little longer with bump? Would my baby need special care when she arrived? Would there be anyone there to hold my hand?
Family and friends, both online and off, were amazing. But I still found myself back down there. Elsie’s due date came after she was born and the suffocating grief I felt upon opening my eyes simply floored me. It was just a date, and yet it broke my heart. That I didn’t get to see that date with my baby inside. That my hopes for her birth were taken away. That all that we’d been through was finally over. She was sleeping beside me and yet my heart was breaking.
I know now that I wasn’t thinking rationally. Hormones and stresses and sleep deprivation still have a lot to answer for. I know now that I was lucky- very very lucky- to being time IUGR baby home so soon and in such good health. I know now that I needed help.
I do not know why I found it so hard to admit. But I’m not alone. Antenatal depression is real. And it is affecting around 10-15% of pregnant women, yet it is hard to spot. I know that for myself. Despite previous birth trauma, documented Post Natal Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a stressful pregnancy, I was not offered any additional support. Nor did I seek it.
Tommy’s the baby charity want to change this, and I want to urge you to watch their video, Talk to Someone. Because that’s the first step. The step I didn’t take, but should have.
Follow @Tommys_baby on Twitter and join in the conversation on ##talktosomeone #everyonesbusiness to make your voice heard, and to support women like me who were not strong enough to speak.