Ante Natal Depression, Part 2

It’s been a while since I posted Part 1 of this blog and there are a few reasons for that. 1, There is so much I want to tell you, I didn’t really know what to say, 2, I have a 5 year old, heavily pregnant and the wrong side of 40, it’s all too consuming and 3, i’ve been diagnosed with Pelvic Girdle Pain, so have been shuffling around never mind like a geriatric mum, I think we can safely say just geriatric getting the nursery sorted and house straight. Am in total nesting mode now.

But, today I find myself all caught up with mundane life admin and it seemed like a good day to write.

So I left Part 1 wanting to flee my husband and son, not a good place right! I didn’t leave! I came home and made an appointment with my GP, where I sobbed my heart out. I was advised to self refer for counselling, which I then did and this was back in August, but am still waiting for my first counselling appointment. As I’m getting this all out, i’m trying to figure out what to say that will be beneficial to anyone reading this and if I have any words of wisdom on how i’ve got through the last 5 months. I just had to pull my pants up and deal with it because I did not want depression to define me or stop me doing anything. It could well have done and I did crawl back to bed a lot when my son was at school or i’d disappear at 8pm. I would literally count down the hours when I could sit on my own and wallow.

I appreciate that is not the case for everyone and it wouldn’t be so easy to just ‘man up and get on with it’, but I can only go on my experiences and feelings.

Cry – Truth be told, I cried …a lot …, I opened up to my husband fully and honestly about how I was feeling. We had a huge heart to heart over a romantic dinner pour deux one evening where I yet again sobbed into my starter and mains (if the tears come, the best thing you can do is roll with it, we did actually end up having a lovely evening together). It was good to also hear things from his side and realise he wasn’t against me, didn’t hate me, things he’d been doing were all for my benefit and us as a family. I think for me, that was a HUGE relief and the acceptance from him I needed that I was OK to have down days and he’ll be there to look after me and our son.

As much as us women like to think we can do everything (and I am one of these women), it’s OK when you can’t and it’s not shameful to ask for help. It took a lot for me to accept that.

Acceptance – Also, I was still until very recently (and again, i’ve accepted this and no longer feel guilty for these feelings) struggling with accepting we’re having another child. Having one, as much as I would never be without him, was a huge deal to me, the maternal side of my personality leaves a lot to be desired and so to find out I was pregnant, hating that I was in this situation, miscarrying, finding out I was pregnant again, was a massive fucking deal. My first birth did not go to plan and was pretty traumatic. This could have been something that was putting me off the idea of doing it again subconsciously maybe, who knows, but this shizz needed dealing with head on.

Talk – Talking to someone neutral, that has helped me so so much over these last 5 months too. I practised hypnobirthing with my first pregnancy and unfortunately didn’t get a chance to put it into practice, but this time round, lets not rose tint it, i’m freaking petrified for all manner of reasons and before I felt I could refresh my mind with hypnobirthing, I saw a birth trauma counsellor. What an unexpected relief and liberating experience. I sat for an hour and half in our first session, sobbed (again) and got everything out about my first pregnancy, the birth, the miscarriage, this pregnancy, my fears, the depression. She listened, gave me tissues and my god did it feel good.

There’s a lot of hard work that goes into facing up to something traumatic and don’t get me wrong, it was emotionally draining and upsetting, but the process of being able to accept what happened, put it into perspective and have someone make you think differently about your experience, was so therapeutic and helped re-focus my mind, begin my hypnobirthing practice again and prepare myself for however this baby is going to make it’s appearance into the world. I genuinely believe it also knocked some of my depression into next week too.

Know your Worth – I am so bad at accepting I have the right to anything. To feel good, to feel scared, to feel vulnerable and ask for help. This does not do you any favours. We are all worth it, deserving of it and allowed to have all these feels with no judgement. Now i’m on maternity leave I spend at least half an hour every day doing my meditation and treating myself to a good bath. Sometimes i’ll even have a full on ‘get into bed, snuggle down’ nap too and make no apology for it. I am (as are you), growing a tiny human. I need these moments for me, to check out of real life and prepare for the things I know put me in an anxious state. I took out a small mortgage in Lush picking out lots of yummy bath bombs to treat myself (please ask the sales assistants about any you can’t use due to the ingredients in your pregnancy) and I indulge in the hottest bath, sometimes with relaxation music, sometimes with a podcast or sometimes in total silence and it is bliss.

Photo from Pinterest

Now where I am at as of today, I honestly can’t tell if I still have this ante natal depression, I don’t feel like it, but that’s the thing with depression, it’s a lurker. I mean i’m tearful constantly (Please note: do not watch Instant Family if you are pregnant, it’s a tear jerker), but i’m also nearing the end of the pregnancy and super hormonal. I feel content with my life and happy with some decisions i’m making currently around work. I can feel my creative juices flowing when it comes to creating a home for my family and our baby has a beautiful nursery to call their own, which excites me.

I’m no expert and don’t pretend to be (please, please, please seek medical advice if you even just think you may have slight depression), but from me to you, take each day as it comes. If you feel shitty one day, accept it, acknowledge it, but don’t dwell on it. If you want to put your partners tracksuit bottoms and jumper on, do it (come on, it’s not just me), if you want to throw on a dress and some make up do it. There are no rules, just your emotions and you need to roll with them how you see fit. Spend some time focussing on you, however that may be. Grab a coffee, grab a mate and go for a long walk, get fresh air, have your fancy lush bath, treat yourself to some posh PJs and take a nap!

Husbands clothes and no bra, sheer bliss!

I feel like there’s so much I want to share about my pregnancy. I really hope as infrequent as they are, these blogs are useful. I can’t dwell anymore on how the ante natal depression affected me, but please share any comments below. I don’t feel there is enough information out there from women who have been through this, so let’s talk!

If you are interested and I cannot sing her praises enough, my birth trauma counsellor was Clare Curtis, based in Leigh on Sea, Essex. She started the #motherssupportingmothers campaign 3 years ago as a way to bring women together and offer her support as and when we need it through pregnancy and beyond. Clare, you most certainly do!

I use the lush products due to their ethos around being kind to the planet, made with all natural ingredients and lack of plastic packaging

A few websites that I found useful, but always start with your doctor Tommys – Ante Natal Depression Mind – Ante Natal Depression Miscarriage Association

Ante Natal Depression, Part 1

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