Emma has very kindly shared her experience of her personal struggles with her mental health as part of this BLOG series being made available tae support the mental health foundations awareness week 2020. The theme is kindness. By sharing her story Emma is demonstrating kindness in two ways. Kindness tae herself for getting the help she needed when she needed it and kindness to others who might take comfort and or action due to her honesty and openness around a subject some people may not know much about. Emma wrote this post to raise awareness around Perinatal Depression, she’s very kindly invited others to get in touch with her if you’d like to discuss this subject further so you can find her on Instagram @emmaloulee1 Thank you so much Emma, you’ll be helping people you’ll never even meet with this post! Withoot any mer chat fae me, here's Emma’s words....
In 2001 I experienced something that I wasn’t prepared for at 18 years old
My first pregnancy & my first loss.
I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant, I wasn’t in a good stable relationship in-fact the father of my child was a dangerous man as I would later discover.
My son was stillborn at 24 weeks gestation, he was perfectly formed but tiny, inter uterine retardation was a term used, just one of those things was another.
I never got pregnant again until 2017 when I found out I was pregnant in early January.
The first thing I thought of was about the loss of my son, but I assured myself that I was older and more able to cope with life and that the past wasn’t going to haunt me, I was obviously very wrong.
I spent weeks worried about losing my baby and was given an early reassurance scan at 9 weeks, all looked well and it then began the long wait between scans, it was the waiting and not knowing that was so hard and scary.
My 12 week scan came and all was well baby was measuring well, I was happy for a while then it began again, the waiting and not knowing what was going on inside my body.
The weeks between scans got too much for me, by 18 weeks I was inconsolable, my family was worried about me so we went for a private scan, we were having a girl!
I was happy again for a few days but this constant nagging in my head kept me from enjoying my pregnancy.
My husband was at his wits end I was crying constantly worried our daughter wasn’t moving enough, he called and got me an appointment with my GP, he had done all he could to reassure me.
My GP was less than helpful and referred me to the community midwife, where I was diagnosed with perinatal depression they decided it was best that I was seen by a psychiatrist and started on antidepressants, I wasn’t on board with this as with all medication it held risks during pregnancy and they couldn’t guarantee that the medication wouldn’t be detrimental to my unborn daughter but they kept saying at this point in time it was my mental health that was the priority but I couldn’t accept that.
They told me my baby may be born with withdrawals from the citalopram but it would be treated and they laboured the point it was for my mental health, I had to agree to take these pills
I must admit things improved, my babies movements became more noticeable over the coming weeks and I started to feel less anxious but it was always lurking.
I had to wait a few weeks to see the consultant psychiatrist at Leverndale, I was worried that I would say the wrong thing but it was a relaxed appointment and I explained how I was feeling and it all started to make sense.
My fear had intensified as I approached the gestation of pregnancy that I had lost my son, this made perfect sense and I wasn’t being judged or belittled.
I continued with my journey and later seen another councillor at the Qeuh and again it was a positive experience and I was told I should be proud of myself for coming so far and coping the way I had.
I had never heard of perinatal depression and it scares me to think that so many people may go through their pregnancies feeling the way I did.
My daughter was born at 35+4 all 6lb 6oz of her, i was induced due to developing preeclampsia but it was detected very quickly and I can’t fault the care I received.
I have since had another baby in 2019, it was a much better pregnancy and although I was still on the medication I wasn’t up the pole the way I had been in 2017.
I want to highlight that depression can strike at any moment, pregnancy isn’t always a bed of roses and sore nipples!
Don’t be afraid to seek help as it’s there for you, don’t let yourself get as low as I did, you owe it to yourself to seek help and be the strongest you can be for your new chapter.
I am still on citalopram now, it was increased to 30mg when my son was 8 weeks old, as a precaution as I was not in the best of places but I didn’t have PND.
I will be reassessed by my GP in June for a dose reduction, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and I am happy to muddle on and not rush into anything I’m not ready for.