October 24, 2018No Comments

Post Natal Depression: The Dark Side

It is what it says it is. And I think we all experience it differently because we are all unique. So for me, I was totally overwhelmed, unable to accept that this child was mine. I felt like a caregiver rather than a mother, I was drowning in decision making. For the longest time, I just didn't feel like Olivia was mine. It took 18 months until I fully took her in, fully accepted her. She is everything and more we could have asked for. Everything I had been praying for right before my eyes living and breathing and yet there was some kind of disconnect within me. Psychologists concluded that because of my miscarriages I was unable to fully embrace her, after months of counselling, I took her in fully embracing everything she is. She is truly incredible. My rainbow baby.

I was diagnosed when Olivia was nine months old. I had a few assessments, mental health nurses and doctors and health visitors, I was prescribed drugs, but the last thing I wanted was that. So they said if I didn't take them I would need to come up with a plan on how I was going to get better. I promised them I would exercise! I had three months of therapy with a psychologist. I had a mental health visit every week and then every month and now to this day, I have a weekly visit from a volunteer to keep my mental health on track.

By the time I was diagnosed I was pretty ill. I had reached a very dark place, I'm almost nervous to write it. I was at the point of suicide. I had just lost all hope of being capable, of fully accepting life as it was and I was totally overwhelmed by this tiny amazing human. We had no help, no family or friends nearby. And those who did drop by were totally unaware of my drowning. Looking back I wish someone had waded into my life, had seen the despair, had stayed a little longer and done the washing up, perhaps walked the dog, or brought some dinners over. But no, everyone just thought we were happy because the one thing we had been longing for had happened. Olivia was here living and breathing why would anyone think I was depressed or struggling?! (friends have since said these exact things to me). I know now I need to ask for help. Everyone is well meaning but if you don't actually say the words, 'help me', 'please do x-y-z', no one is coming to rescue you. Well at least in my case. I honestly felt like I couldn't talk about how I was feeling or thinking because I was supposed to be happy and have this amazing connection with my child, after all, I had longed for her, waited for her, had four miscarriages and carried her 10 months in my womb! (she was very very late).

I had the suicide all planned out and it seemed very ordinary to me. My escape, my way out, something I could control. It was only when the health visitor showed up to a routine assessment on Olivia did she notice something was very wrong. The very next day I was surrounded by doctors and mental health workers, my mum flew into the country. It was like labour all over again, you know when everyone rushes in to get you ready for theatre because this baby has to come out NOW. It was like that, like my suicide my dark friend had to come out NOW and everyone was onboard. I often referred to the depression as my dark friend because it felt so familiar and it felt strange to say goodbye to it, but little by little I came to terms with my miscarriages and I eventually fully accepted Olivia as my daughter.

I hope you have the strength to reach out and if not I pray someone reaches in. However hard it seems there is always a way out. I researched suicide and in amongst how to do it are websites telling you not too and one of them said if 'you're younger than 37 your best years are ahead of you', and explained the research, and I just thought wow 'the best really is yet to come'. It took months for that to sink in, but it definitely stopped me in my tracks.

And here I am two years to the day that I was diagnosed, and I am having the best days, and by that, I mean family days, days at the beach, at the farm, at the park, just spending time with my family and soaking it all up because its the only one I have.

October 3, 2018No Comments

Miracle rainbow baby

After almost 5 years and four miscarriages. Olivia, my daughter was born. She is almost three now. Before she came along there were many days where I honestly didn't think I was going to have children. I was in despair. With each miscarriage my longing for a child only increased. And the questions became intense, 'why not me? whats wrong with me? when will we have our own child?'. Hope deferred. Four times over. And our fifth pregnancy, it's hard to describe the intense anxiety within. I had numerous panic attacks in the first trimester. I want to tell you I was strong and focused. But I wasn't. Every twinge, every time I went to the toilet, my mind would just go to that place of fear.

My husband and I decided not to buy anything for the baby until after 28 weeks. We wanted to get to a place where we felt comfortable with the idea that this was really going to happen. We didn't have a baby shower but opted for a Welcome to the World party instead when Olivia was 10 weeks old.

We were never really at ease until Olivia was born (35 hour labour, episiotomy and forceps, yes cover your eyes and cross your legs!!). I'll spare you the full birth story, but needless to say she arrived safe and well weighting 9lbs and 12oz. Yes thats right she was huge!. She's still on the 98th centile to this very day. During my pregnancy the consultants were concerned about her size. But in the end all was well. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I only wish I had relaxed more during the pregnancy.

We just couldn't believe she was real, that she was here. It took a full 18 months for us to accept that she was ours and she was here to stay. She is full of life, exuberant, bold, confident, and she knows her own mind at the age of two! We couldn't ask for more. But since she's been born we've known that we would like a sibling for her to grow up with. She is our miracle rainbow baby.