We had a rocky road to parenthood. We’d endured three years of infertility and negative pregnancy tests, plus my now-husband had experienced a stillbirth with a previous partner. We’d got used to the idea that we weren’t meant to have any children.
In March 2014 I went in for a routine operation and came out with a scan photo. I was eight weeks pregnant, I’d had no idea.
My husband was over the moon; I was in shock. I was terrified.
I’d gone from Mrs Infertile to Mrs Eight-Weeks-Pregnant in seconds and I didn’t know how to feel.
I didn’t know what to eat, how to behave – I’d never googled what to do in pregnancy because I never believed I would ever be pregnant.
Our family and friends were planning ahead, and wanting to buy things. But I couldn’t even look through the windows of baby shops, as it felt like it would tempt fate.
I should have been happy, I should have been enjoying every single moment, relishing every kick, and rubbing my growing belly. But I was the opposite. I panicked every time I couldn’t feel him move, every time I didn’t feel anything. I knew this was my one chance to have a baby, and it could go wrong so quickly.
It all started when I was around nine weeks pregnant; a (former) friend had commented that it was pointless being booked-in with the midwife so early on as so much could go wrong and told me how her friend had miscarried at 18 weeks.
It triggered anxiety so bad that I didn’t enjoy any part of my pregnancy. I dreaded every scan and I woke up every morning anxious that my baby had died.
We bought our first baby item at 28 weeks – reluctantly on my part. Around the same time my husband attended a midwife appointment with me and my mental health was discussed for the first time.
Pre-natal depression is a thing, a real thing. In my case it manifested as severe anxiety and a refusal to acknowledge that I was pregnant.
In November 2014 my little boy was born, and as soon as he was born the anxiety went away. However a traumatic birth led to post-natal depression which apparently was unrelated to the pre-natal depression I’d experienced.
Everyone talks about post-natal depression but no one about pre-natal – pregnancy is expected to be such a happy time yet for some it’s terrifying and far from the carefree and beautiful experience it’s hyped up to be.
Pregnancy, birth and the after-bit, which is sometimes referred to as the fourth trimester, is a chaotic blaze of shock, change and hormones, and it’s no wonder that so many mums suffer with depression and anxiety,
What have I learnt from my own experience? That it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to not feel happy. It’s completely normal in fact, and if you speak to other mums they will agree with you.
Growing babies is hard work – it’s emotionally, mentally and physically draining and it’s okay to not enjoy it.
Just remember you’re not alone, and if you are worried things are getting too much please talk to a friend, family member, midwife or doctor.
You can read more from Lisa on her blog Pass the Prosecco…Please