Postnatal Depression: A literal “bump” in the 2013 road… Pregnant? WHAT!

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The above quote very much sums up my PND experience over the past 2 years… I’ve always felt capable in my life, not matter what was thrown into my path.  I always felt I could overcome any obstacle, any hiccup, any “bump” in the road (excuse the pun).  But alas, since my PND diagnosis I’ve come to discover (and slowly over time, accept… well, sort of) that I can no longer be the same person I was.  This experience has redefined me in ways I’ve struggled with, by changing some of the things I felt were my true strengths and turning them into (perhaps perceived?) weaknesses.  But if I’m honest, the reverse has also been true… Parts of myself of which I was not always proud have now been redefined and become strengths in their own right.  The difficulty for me however, remains in my acceptance of these changes and in moving forward with my redefined “tool kit for life”, in feeling comfortable in my ability to positively contribute to the world.  It’s been a long, yet inspiring journey and just when things were finally seeming to make sense and falling into place again, something came at me from left field to disrupt my new equilibrium… Hence, my new journey begins here:

I’ve been a bad mummy blogger over the past couple of months… Very bad.  In fact, I’ve not posted anything since the beginning of February!  Shocking, I know.  But I do feel justified in having this small blogging break, at least somewhat anyway.  I’ve been dealing with something I wasn’t quite prepared for and certainly didn’t think would be happening again in my life… I’m pregnant with our second child.

You may recall my blogging about whether or not to have another child, reasons for and against, back in September last year (Postnatal Depression:  To have?  Or not to have? That is the question…).  Fast forward to the present moment, and my HF and I are already 6 months down the road in our journey to becoming new parents again.  Was this expected?  NO.  Were we shocked?  YES.  Am I scared out of my mind?  ABSOLUTELY.  And with that being said, it has taken me all of this time (up until the past month or so really) to come to terms with what is happening in our lives.  And I’ll be honest, some of how I’ve felt is not what you’d expect a soon-to-be-mother-for-the-second-time should be feeling… My ability to cope has been very much pushed to it’s limits and, at times, I’ve failed miserably in my handling of all the residual feelings I still have regarding pregnancy, birth, and the “new baby” phase.  This part of my life was something I thought I had “dealt with” and would not be re-visited.  The stark realisation for me has been that regardless of whether such feelings were “dealt with” or not, those feelings will most definitely be dealt with now – whether I like it or not!

And so, here we are… again.  The two things I’ve felt most strongly about reconciling within this journey so far have been:  1)  How will I birth (vaginally or CS)?;  and 2)  We are having a girl (please refer back to my blog post, “Helpful Steps: Things I’m afraid to tell you…“, point Number 5).  Both points probably at one time or another deserved a blog post in their own right, but for now I’m content just listing them as I’ve had enough time over the past 6 months to work through them at my own pace.  And guess what?  I feel I’ve come to a clear resolution on both points!

After much discussion with my GP, my specialist, and my Obstetrician (Dr B), my HF and I decided we would opt for an elective caesarean section for the birth of our daughter.  My first birth was vaginal and incredibly traumatic (not what I would call “natural” at all!), both for the LM and myself, and both of us were left with “issues” as a result – mine emotional, his medical.  Combined with this experience, is the fact my birth canal is simply too narrow to safely birth a “normal” sized babe (the LM was only 7.3lb and long at 57cm).  Had the LM been even a smidgen larger it is no secret we may have lost him during the birth.  This is a reality I simply can’t deal with this time around.  The idea of going into a vaginal birthing situation with this knowledge and very real “lived” experience of the trauma involved has made the decision a fait accompli in my mind.   I have spoken with those present at my first birth, I have spoken to midwives I know and trust… both have differing opinions on what I should do, whether it would be different this time around, etc.  But one question in my mind remains constant:  Do I knowingly want to put my unborn child at risk by having another vaginal birth?  And the answer, for me, is simply “No, I do not”.   I certainly appreciate there may be mothers out there so much braver than I with regard to such decisions, but rightly or wrongly both my HF and myself feel this is the right decision for us at this time.

Now, about our having a little girl… Funnily enough, my resolution with this fact has been much easier than I ever imagined possible.  And it was all due to something BF1 said to another friend of hers who was struggling with the knowledge she was having a little boy – “This is your baby’s story to live, not yours.”  Pretty powerful words, aren’t they?  Not to mention amazingly true!  The perceived issues I’ve had regarding having a little girl in my life were MY issues, and mine alone.  This tiny, unborn baby inside of me has no knowledge of the life I’ve lived, the relationships I’ve experienced with my own parents, siblings, etc.  Why then did I feel it necessary to burden her with my problems?   Because I was afraid.  But not afraid for her, I was afraid for me.  The idea of having a daughter – a “girl” – brought back so many memories and hurts for me it was seriously confronting!   I can recall so many conversations where all I heard was how “difficult” girls were compared to boys, how much “harder work” I was in comparison with my older brother… the list goes on and on!  So much so that even having Dad stay with us over this past weekend was proof in this recurring pudding.  He kept bringing up the terrible things I would do as an 18 month old child, to the point where I had to say, “Dad!  Enough!  I am not a little child anymore, I am a 38 year old woman!  Don’t you think it’s time to move on?”.  But that’s what my family are like, they can’t seem to let go of what “was” in favour of what now “is”.   Sad, but unfortunately true.  So yes, with these simple words my BF1 was able to relieve the pressure and fear I had placed upon myself and allow an acceptance within me to finally raise to the surface and embrace the little girl who will soon complete our family.  Because that’s exactly what she will do.  Her life will in no way replicate mine because her story is hers alone to write, with a little assistance from us of course.

So, this is where we currently stand with regard to what was initially perceived as a HUGE detour in our 2013 journey… We have come to accept what is happening in our lives as a mere “bump” in the road.  An experience with the potential to impact our lives in a uniquely positive way, whatever that may transpire to be.  My little family will grow by one more come September, and together we will create our own experiences and enjoy everything wonderful we each have to offer – okay, and I’m sure the occasional awful thing too!  I am now looking forward to it in a way I didn’t feel was initially possible.  I still have a little apprehension (that’s only natural – right?), but hopefully my blogging mojo will kick in again and I can share more with you too!

Thank you as always for being here,

TSM… xx

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2 thoughts on “Postnatal Depression: A literal “bump” in the 2013 road… Pregnant? WHAT!

  1. Clair says:

    Firstly, welcome back 🙂 Secondly, congratulations! Thirdly, wow you’re are so brave. You’re truly inspiring and so much of what you have written here resonates with me, because I’m at that point myself where I am umming and ahhing about having another baby because my first delivery and recovery was such a monumental cock up (PTSD and PND finally diagnosed 15 months post partum). Sometimes I think we should just do it and get it out if the way, despite knowing I’ll be a basket case throughout the pregnancy. My mother and other close women assure me that no two pregnancies and births are the same. One other good thing is that you know about your medical history with PND. There’s hopefully no way anyone, especially your partner and your GP, would miss it, since you too, know the warning signs. I’m looking forward to hearing all about the remainder of your pregnancy and when your little girl is here. Good luck xx

  2. Thanks so much for your lovely and supportive comment, Claire… It honestly means a lot! I do also believe no two pregnancies are the same, and my experience through this pregnancy has actually been a better one for the understanding I now have of both ante and post natal depression. Whilst mine was unexpected, I feel only you will know when and if you can venture down this road again (I honestly don’t think I would have had I the choice). And you’re absolutely right when you say the support around me this time will be much more aware (just so long as I don’t get burdened with everyone asking me “So… How are you feeling today?” – on the flipside, that would drive me crazy too!). 🙂 I look forward to staying in touch. xx

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