Last week was Mental Health Awareness week and October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, with the fifteenth being it’s own Remembrance Day. It’s fair to say that these two topics go hand in hand which is why I’m going to publish this post in the hope to open a dialogue, be true to myself and maybe break some taboos by simply putting it out there on the big ol’ scary internets.
In saying all of that this is still an incredibly hard post for me to write. I pride myself on being a really honest person, I’m open to talking about grief and pregnancy loss and my most intimate thoughts around those matters but bringing mental health into the mix is something else. The shameful and/or embarrassed feeling is all too common around mental health and the shame spiral is definitely something I’ve experienced with each of my miscarriages. However, I’d like to concentrate on antenatal mental health in this post.
I think pre and postnatal depression is something that remains quite taboo. When I found out I was pregnant again I was a bundle of mixed emotions and I think they became too much so I just shut down from it all. The best way I can describe the whole experience since seeing that positive test is numbness. 90% of the time I feel detached from the twins, disconnected from the neck down and it has spiralled into something more sinister what with the other major events happening in my life. Logically or not, this is something I’m ashamed of, something I can look at from a rational point of view yet feel completely irrational about it all at the same time.
I’ve been crying a lot since moving. I feel unsettled in so many ways and I do not feel like myself.
I confided in Hubby in the “hey, I’m not doing so well, but how was your day?” kind of way. Trying to keep it casual, trying not to worry him when what I really wanted to say was that some pretty dark thoughts have entered my head lately.
I did some Dr Googling and found numerous mental health websites that discussed the many reasons of why a pregnant woman may feel a little more than just down in the dumps. Things like moving house, feeling cut off socially, anxiety about the pregnancy, having had previous losses, worrying about having support when the baby/ies arrive etc. I basically ticked all the boxes.
Now, I don’t make the declaration that I’m depressed lightly and I also refuse to self-diagnose so I’m not saying “look at me, I have prenatal depression”, but, I’ve been in this kind of space before. After the miscarriage of Zoe I wasn’t sure I could survive. I went to a very dark place and I’ll be completely honest in saying that I did think about killing myself. Having been there, planning how I would do it, is not something I ever want to return to and while I’m relieved to say that I’m not anywhere near there I still don’t feel right.
I’m sure it’s from everything that has happened with our previous pregnancies and the huge life changes we’ve just experienced. For the large part, I simply cannot get excited about the pregnancy. I can’t believe it will end well. It’s all happened far too easily and the fact there are two in there just creates more risk and therefore more anxiety. I keep focusing on the end result yet this also fills me with dread. Will they both survive and if so, just how the f*ck do I cope with two? Either way I feel like I’m screwed. Lose one or more and the grief will be unbearable. If both survive how will I cope when Hubby is at work all day? I have to say I’m less worried about the latter because I know you just cope and things can quickly become routine, but still, it is something I’m concerned about.
I’m ashamed to admit all of this, that I’m feeling anything other than excitement. Surely I should be unbelievably excited? Isn’t this everything I’ve ever wanted? After all we’ve been through don’t we deserve this? How ungrateful am I really?
These are the questions that fill my mind everyday and ones that leave me feeling so very confused because I know I want the twins but I also don’t want to be in this situation either. Maybe I’m too afraid to let myself really want them. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and admittedly some days are more of a struggle than others.
The whole process of selling our Queensland house was (needlessly) extremely stressful so it will only help now that is out of the way and I do feel a little weight has been lifted. However, some days, everything just seems so hard even though I know deep down it’s really not. I just can’t explain it. I’m hoping the feelings ease as time goes on because the biggest step is acknowledging that they’re there. I’m fortunate that I can talk openly to Hubby and if I have a really overwhelming day he’ll do everything within his power to let me rest when he gets home from work. When I cry he and Little Man comfort me so I know I am in an extremely loved position and that means more to me than anything and cuts through the dark cloud like a light filled knife.
I know I’ll bond with the twins when they get here but as of today it’s just not happening, and while I fully understand why it still hurts.
Thanks for reading and I’ve added some links at the end of the page specifically in relation to antenatal mental health.
Until next time,