12 May 2015

Depression + Anxiety in Pregnancy 3: Getting Help + Buying Stuff

*This is part 3 in my series on Depression & Anxiety in Pregnancy. You may like to read parts One and Two also*

Owning up to needing psychiatric support when you were pregnant is scary stuff. Everyone has a perception of mental health, none of it is flattering. I don't think I was at major risk but between appointments with my lovely psychiatric consultant, a psychiatric nurse and also a CBT counselor, I ended up with almost weekly appointments. These completely saved me as I had regular panic attacks through the early stages of pregnancy (I lost my job at 8 weeks pregnant, just after the spotting had stopped) and without my psychiatric support I don't want to think about the state I would have been in. 

I was also mixed up about the support. On the one hand it was amazing to finally have this help but on the other, I was scared that they would think I was a danger to myself or my son and take him away when he was born. I still live with a remaining fear that this will happen. That my mental health will mean I won't be allowed access to the person I love more than anything in the world.

Alongside all of this, we also were referred to a genetic counselor due to various things. This is not really much fun. There's not much to say but it meant I awaited our 12 and 20 week scans with a fair amount of dread.  

As a result of all this, I utterly refused to buy maternity clothes, despite not fitting into my jeans from a ridiculous 8 weeks. Lets not even talk about the enormo-boob situation. Even the sonographer told me, not unsympathetically, to stop doing my jeans up with a hair band....

Me at 24 weeks
I struggled to buy things for my baby, as if in some way, it would "jinx" things. I just about tolerated a small book and babygro purchase after successful scans but planning for the larger items threw me. I spent many tearful, panicky hours wandering around the baby floor in John Lewis, whilst my long-suffering OH asked me questions about buggies and cots and clothes, as groomed mummies-to-be selected everything they needed without batting an eyelid.

I found it all so intimidating - how did I know what buggy I needed and for what occasions. And cots, cribs, bassinets, co-sleepers, moses baskets, hammocks - all that just for sleeping. I frequently just wanted to yell "I Don't Know, Stop Fucking Asking Me Stuff". I'm a perfectionist and making such important-seeming choices just threw my anxiety and paranoia into overdrive. If there is anything more likely to trigger a row than a hormonal, anxious pregnant woman, a department store, over-priced buggies and a confused father-to-be, then I don't know it. 

At 27 weeks
By the time I was at 28 weeks, poor Baby Thor (as bump was known) barely had a thing. I couldn't face the research either, it was so bewildering, so much details and WHAT IF I GOT IT WRONG. Again with the perfectionism. OH had to step in and pretty much insist we bought a buggy, a cot and some clothes. But not without me melting down every.single.time. I find decision making stressful at the best of times, but thanks to my anxiety and paranoia everything seemed booby-trapped to make me out to be a bad mother.

Want to know what happened next? Final part in the series coming soon!

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