My story by Rachel

Mother and Baby

The names have been changed in this story, and the picture is just for illustration.

My maternal mental health journey began when I regrettably informed close family members as soon as we found out we were expecting. Then came the comments "be careful before 12 weeks", "don't do this, don't do that".

Comments about how they'd look after baby when I was back at work, how they'd spoil baby... baby didn't even have a heart beat at this point and I was crippled with anxiety, fear and immense pressure that I was going to loose the baby or something would go wrong. 

 

I felt a constant pressure to be happy and enjoy pregnancy... the cravings, the 'glow', the baby kicking (the anterior placenta didn't help) etc. But I really didn't enjoy being pregnant. 

 

My midwife asked as is protocol about my mental health but I felt this was purely a ticking box exercise. Asking "have you suffered from anxiety before?" The answer was "No" so felt that shut down that line of communication. 

 

Looking back I should have spoke out and sought help as I feel this ruined my pregnancy alongside the breakdown in close relationships I was also experiencing. 

 

I took these anxious thoughts, fear and stress into my induction. Unfortunately I ended up having an emergency C-section.

 

I have been waiting 5 months to hear from the NHS regarding a afterthoughts meeting... when reaching out to my GP regarding flashbacks and potential PTSD I was sent a text with a number to call! 

 

Happy Mums has been my life line of incredible support! Being able to open up about my birth trauma early on, pregnancy experience and everything that comes post partum including relationships. 

 

At Happy Mums I have a voice, I feel validated and surrounded by strong beautiful women.

Resources:

First Step: NHS services which provides free talking therapies in Cumbria, you can refer yourself or talk to your GP.

The Birth Trauma Association: A national support network for people who have experienced a traumatic birth and/or pregnancy.

Postnatal PTSD and birth trauma: Information from MIND about these conditions.

The Samaritans: Has a 24-hour helpline (116123) and an email chat service (jo@samaritans.org) if speaking to someone is too overwhelming.

 

Papyrus – They focus on people under 35 and have a phone line (0800 0684141) Monday to Friday 9am – 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm-10pm, and a text service (07860039967) and email service (pat@papyrus-org.uk). They also have a really good database of Apps that can help.

 

Mind – Side by Side is their new online community to support people with mental health problems (it replaces Elefriends from September 2020)