I didn’t even know Pre-Natal Depression was a thing.
Sure, everyone has heard of Post-Natal Depression but I actually thought I was taking the piss when I burst into tears (again) at my midwife appointment and sobbed “I think I have Pre-Natal Depression, I just can’t stop crying, every day, I’m crying, and I’m angry ’cause I’m crying, then I’m angry ’cause I’m angry, then I just cry some more”.
Up until that point I had just put it down to stress…
Earlier that year we made the big decision to sell our home and move closer to the water. Three days after that decision I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, and my first had just turned 1. The following week an offer was put on our house and we accepted. So we scurried to find our new family home…hubby had his eye on one place right on the water and we offered our top price even though we thought they would probably reject it but we just knew we would always wonder if we never just did it…
…and they said yes.
We could see the potential in this tiny 2 bedroom house (yep, that’s right we left our modern 3brm home with a granny flat for a 2brm 1950’s beach shack) but it needed a tonne of work to make it even livable so we stayed with a beautiful friend (whom I am forever grateful to!) for 2 months while hubby renovated his butt off every day after work and all day and night during his holidays.
This pregnancy knocked me around quite a bit,I was not the glowing picture of health I always imagined I would be whilst pregnant.
I was overweight (starting this pregnancy 10kgs heavier than I was for my first pregnancy), lugging a 12kg toddler around all day every day, I was completely rattled by being so unsettled from the move and everything just seemed so hard, I felt so lost.
I have chronic lower back pain from breaking it in a car accident when I was 17, and then later developing degenerative arthritis, spinal fusing, and abnormal spiny growths.
Throughout my first pregnancy it was like I had been injected with a miracle drug and was pretty much pain-free throughout the pregnancy but this time around it got so bad that some days I was (reluctantly) taking Panadeine Forte. This triggered anxiety as I felt so guilty for being selfish and putting drugs into my system which could possibly affect my unborn baby.
I could easily write a 5,000 word essay on how shitty this pregnancy was and how sorry for myself I felt. I cried more than once for most days of this pregnancy. I selfishly wanted my baby in my arms so desperately, for the most part I sometimes think just so I could stop crying and maybe start to feel semi-normal again.
So 11 days overdue, after countless tears and a long anxious wait they finally broke my waters and within 2 hours and 15 minutes my beautiful little girl was here. So tiny. So peaceful. So perfect. And I was so in love. Post-Natal depression never occurred to me because I had no problem bonding with my amazing little human, this gorgeous little girl I felt like I had already known forever.
I didn’t get to breastfeed as long as I wanted with my firstborn. We made it to 8 weeks, and Mastitis got the better of me.
This time around I was so determined to succeed…
Bub wasn’t latching in hospital and once we got home her demand started exceeding my supply. I was pumping and feeding at different times, setting alarms to wake me through the night to pump so I had enough for when she was due to feed, getting back to sleep only to be woken an hour later when she was actually ready for her next expressed bottle.
I felt awful for her not even 2 year old sister who was also adjusting to this huge change in our family dynamics and all this time spent pumping and feeding through the day meant absolutely zero time for her to be held or to sit on mummy’s lap and cuddle without being scolded for unintentionally hurting my stupidly sore gimormous boobs. I was still crying, and still angry, but the health practitioner in me said it was completely normal because I knew I was still amidst the crazy post-birth hormones.
This scenario lasted 3 torturously long weeks, before making the decision to dry up my milk.
Logically I knew I was making the best decision for me and both my girls but unless you have been in that situation yourself you just cannot fathom the gut-wrenching guilt, self doubt, and feelings of epic failure that go hand in hand with that decision.
The weeks went on and we were finding ourselves a bit of routine…but I was still crying. My pain levels were the worst they had ever been and with 4-6 Panadeine Forte daily under my belt, I was snappy, I was on edge…and I was miserable.
My husband and I were having stupid arguments, I was insecure and anxious, and I was crying in the shower every night because this was the only place in our tiny little house that I could be alone…it could be my private little sanctuary, if only for 10 minutes, and I could try to spare my poor husband the angst of seeing me crumble yet again.
At my babies 4 month check when the midwife asked me how I was doing now, I choked on tears again and finally admitted I was not coping. After filling out the mental health questionnaire the midwife tallied my results and gently but firmly told me to go see my GP as soon as possible.
5 days after I started on antidepressants I published my first blog post.
I figured it was time to tap into what made me happy, reduce my stress, and figure out what brought me Bliss.
I know you are probably thinking shouldn’t your babies bring you bliss? That’s what I kept thinking, I should be on top of the world, stressed and tired yes, that’s normal, but I shouldn’t be filled with despair. So the answer is yes, they do bring me bliss…but I needed to find some balance.
This blog has been my therapy. I am relieved to say I have stopped crying. In fact, I think I have only cried a handful of times since taking this action.
I don’t know if one would have worked without the other. While I am feeling more fulfilled working on this little biz creating raw treats and blogging, I am also scared shitless to stop taking the pills, for now anyway.
I am a huuuuge believer that “Everything happens for a reason”, and it’s usually only hindsight that shows us this reason so…
Watch this space.