Guest Blogger: Amy Taylor
After a complex first pregnancy I was anxious that number two would be the same. Much joy but some trepidation when the doctor called to say I was pregnant. I lost that baby. I held my fetus in my hand and weeped. On my very next cycle I was expecting again but this time the anxiety gripped me every day. Each time I went to the loo, I’d check my undies . I found myself sitting on the loo far more often than I needed to just as an excuse to check. My first midwife visit I was a nervous wreck. My midwife was kind, understanding and supportive. She assured me that past complications were not necessarily an indication of future complications, but I would be well looked after anyway. I was well looked after but every extra scan and every appointment brought with it fresh anxiety. I was very run down and struggling with constant, painful Braxton Hicks contractions which really fed into my fears of losing the baby. I guess I suffered antenatal anxiety throughout my pregnancy but it wasn’t diagnosed. I think the medical team knew I was anxious but also knew I had some good reasons to worry. Anyway baby was born normally at 38 weeks and I went home the very next day.
Day three the baby blues hit in a big way. I threw a pie dish in my poor mother in laws direction for daring to ask me if there were tomatoes in the stew. As the days wore on I started to realise that things were not getting any better. I worried heaps, didn’t sleep even when baby did. I’d lie awake next to her listening to every noisy breath. When my husband went to work I’d lie and watch tv in my sweat pants. I’d never worn sweat pants before this baby. I knew things weren’t right and I decided I could fix it by returning to my much loved job..
So I put my three month old in care and went back to work. I bought a scooter and rode to daycare to breast feed. I pumped and pumped. For a couple of weeks things felt better but then the deadlines started piling up. There weren’t enough hours in the day. I was exhausted. Oh and the guilt, the guilt was insane. I was an awful mother and a worse employee. Pressure from work kept building, I needed to be working far more hours, there weren’t enough hours in the day. Baby had bad reflux and was refusing the breast. I felt so inadequate, I couldn’t even feed my baby. Then there were the dark thoughts. They would pop into my head unannounced, so hard to shake. What I really struggled to do was ask for help. I should have asked so many times. Like the time I cried for three days straight after my three year old was naughty at ballet or numerous doctor and plunket visits where I pretended everything was ok. It was driving home after one of these appointments when I almost drove the car off the road that I realised this wasn’t something I could solve myself. Thankfully the baby had fallen asleep. I got home, phoned plunket line, who were amazing and then called the neighbour so I wasn’t alone. That evening when my husband got home I finally asked for help. The next day he took me to the doctor and I was admitted to hospital. It’s four months later and I can honestly say I’m heaps better. Mothers Helpers were instrumental in getting me the funded home help, which along with the drugs and quitting my job are the things that have aided most in my recovery. I now have a little time for me and I’m getting out of my sweat pants and back into the world!