We are supposed to be elated, excited about the anticipation of having a little bundle of joy after finding out we are pregnant. For some expectant ladies, this isn’t the case. Whether you have suffered from depression, anxiety, or any other mental health before, now is the time when it is more likely to happen again. This is because of the surge of hormones running through your body, the anxiety, and the realization that you have to be responsible for this tiny human being. Also if you suffer a traumatic experience during birth, this can then cause PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This can also happen to your partner.
We have no idea how hard it is growing a little human and the way the body changes in the first weeks, months before pregnancy and after. We don’t realize how our body would feel afterward, you often don’t recognize your body, we don’t recognize ourselves. Your breasts are painful and huge, your bottom gets bigger, legs and arms suddenly get bigger and the skin is different on our tummy. We have a jelly belly, and often stretch marks and if you had a tear like me, it’s uncomfortable to sit down.
The birth plan you made months before giving birth, the perfect one, scrupulously planned within an inch of its life, went out the window!
You can feel suffocated, stifled, and out of control once the baby is born. You can never find a minute for yourself, you are not sleeping and you can feel frustrated that you can’t do anything on your own. Also, you can not even eat your dinner, without a baby to care for or get much sleep!
All of these combined can and do play a part in low moods. Also, you may struggle to breastfeed because of pain with tiredness. Most of all, you may struggle with having a body that is alien to you.
If you are left with a Diastasis Recti (separated abdominal muscles) and still looking pregnant this can also make you feel low. I think there is so much pressure to lose weight within the first few weeks because that can make you feel unattractive.
Exercise and going to the gym will really help not just for weight loss and to get back into shape but also for mental health issues, depression, and anxiety.
I now truly understand the meaning of “depression” and “Perinatal Mental Health”, as I suffered this myself. We all assume it’s meant to be a happy time, but it isn’t for everyone. There is a high rate of suicide during the prenatal phase – I had no idea of this at the time! I never felt suicidal but I certainly had a lot of symptoms of mental health issues.
There are many different forms of perinatal mental health such as OCD, Anxiety, Depression, Psychosis, and it’s very scary. Where do you go for help? Who can you talk to? If you tell someone how you feel or your thoughts, will your children be taken away from you? Will you be sectioned for being mad!?
There is actually a lot more help out there than you know and for free!
It is just about knowing who to turn to and what to do. It’s about knowing that you are not alone in this!
I will be discussing all of this on my Facebook page for FitMumzuk in the next 4 weeks. I hope this will help others realize it is more common than you think and where to go if this does happen to you!
You are not alone x