'I felt like I didn’t even know who I was anymore'

When I fell pregnant for the first time, I was so happy I couldn’t believe it. It was a dream come true. When I was around 6 weeks, however, I started being sick. It wasn’t “morning sickness.” It was HG, and I spent most of my pregnancy in and out of hospital on IV fluids & anti sickness drugs. At around 12 weeks, I hate to say it, but I almost felt like I wished I wasn’t pregnant, and from then I noticed my mood change. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I felt alone, like noone wanted to help me, and I was a burden to them. I didn’t want to do anything, and all I wanted to do was sleep. This feeling came over me a few times, and it was mainly when I was out shopping. I never wanted to look at baby items. We picked up the pushchair and I remember just bursting into tears because I just wasn’t feeling as excited as I felt I should have been. From that moment, I realised I wasn’t ok, and I spoke to my midwife who told me it sounded like I was suffering from depression. I didn’t want to hear that, but I knew she was right. I went to see a specialist twice, but I didn’t come away feeling any better, which then made me feel worse. My worst fear was that when my baby arrived, I wouldn’t love him because the pregnancy had been so hard. I had thought pregnancy would be an amazing experience, and I was worried that I would resent my baby for the fact that it wasn't. I felt like I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I was so weak, but around 4 weeks before I was due to give birth, my mood lifted and I felt relief that I had spoken about how I felt, and that I was getting more support. When I gave birth, the negative feelings luckily went away. I didn’t know is was possible to love anyone like I loved my baby. I had told everyone I wouldn’t have another baby, but was pregnant again 10 months later. I did panic that I was going to have the same negative feelings all over again, and I felt anxious and worried, telling myself I wouldn’t cope. Now, though, I have 2 boys 18 months apart, and I am coping just fine. Some days, when I’m stressed, I do feel anxiexty creep up on me, but I have found a way to control it, by being kind to myself and giving myself time and head space. I always talk about how I feel, and I give myself time, either an hour after the boys are in bed, or an hour before they wake up... or both. My advice for anyone who is feeling anxious or suffering from low mood is this: Always talk about how you feel. It’s ok to have bad days, and it’s ok to feel different to how you think you should. Take control, and don’t doubt yourself. If I've learnt one thing, it's that becoming a mum gives you the ability to do things you think aren’t possible.

Author credit: Hollie Taylor

#MaternalMentalHealth #depression #anxiety #pregnancyanxiety #mentalhealth