Pregnancy was not an easy road for me, that's no secret.
About a month into James and I's relationship, I fell pregnant, unknowingly, and I miss-carried. I didn't know I was pregnant until I found myself crippled with agony and my 'late' period intensely heavier. Emotionally, I was in pieces. I felt, and still feel like I've missed out on something so precious from just not knowing. They say you cant lose something you never had, but losing something you never knew you had, and in your eyes losing the chance to have it, is very different. I hardly told anyone, I told my Mum, but I couldn't face telling my Dad. Despite having James, who was incredible, I felt so alone and distanced myself from everyone around me. I calmed my lifestyle down and just decided to enjoy my relationship with James and move with life, or in other words I bottled it up and got on (very poorly) with it.
By November, we were living together with two of our best friends and everything seemed so carefree. On December 19th I found out I was pregnant. Both James and I were very, very drunk when I decided to pluck up the courage to tell him I thought I was. It was about 2am when I took the test and immediately called my Dad, who as per usual was very supportive but understandably thought that it wasn't the right time in our lives. My Mother on the other hand, responded to her hysterical drunk daughters 3am phone call with, 'this could have waited until tomorrow.' I don't remember much after that.
Our first decision was to have a termination, and if they allowed you to get one the day you call up, I wouldn't have Arabella today. By the time I had a consultation, it was mid January, and amid all the all day extreme vomiting and nausea I had grown quite fond of being pregnant. During the consultation they do an ultrasound and I looked at the picture whilst the woman was out the room. This little bean was all mine, and I wasn't going to allow it a chance to grow. I'd say this was when the depression started.
It wasn't until about 6 weeks later James and I went to Pret to get lunch and he said, 'do you want to keep this baby yes or no?,' yes was the answer, as in my heart it had always been, but those 6 weeks seemed the longest. Every minute an internal battle on a decision that would change our lives forever, and I was heartbroken with the guilt of considering a termination and those moments of thinking it was a good idea.
I've always unfortunately been privy to the odd spell of depression and since the miscarriage I'm quite sure it was brewing and the guilt I was feeling for initially not wanting to keep the baby just made it bubble over. The pressure from my friends and family was unbearable, it was about 50% do it, and 50% don't. I just wanted to shut off the world, and after I had made my decision I was paranoid of what people would think. So paranoid that social media was my enemy. Under no circumstances could my family or friends post anything, anywhere and they certainly couldn't tell anyone. I mean, what would all my distant friends think and the people that don't like me think? I could hear them laughing, judging and disapproving in my head and that didn't end until my best friend put a picture on Instagram when I was about 25 weeks.
My worrying and aggressive nature pushed everyone away, I was beyond irritable and it was near impossible to live with me as I decided that everyone was against me and nobody respected my decision, so our two friends moved out and we haven't seen or really spoken to them since. Two more friends moved in and quite swiftly it was clear that I couldn't carry on. I was having anxiety attacks, something I suffered with as a teenager and I was putting myself and my child in grave danger with my volatile attacks. I couldn't go to work without breaking down and shouting at somebody, or everybody.
I went to my midwife and she thought I was suffering with pre natal depression, something that is still all a bit hush hush and 'whatever.'
There was initial relief that there was something wrong and it wasn't my fault but that didn't make me understand it any more than before.
The day I found out I was pregnant I stopped drinking and smoking, I ate healthily and did everything I could to not ingest anything that could potentially harm her, I did it all by the book. Unfortunately on regular occasions the baby would stop moving or I would have crippling migraines where I would vomit blood. I went into early labour at 28 weeks (luckily kept her in until 38 with the help of bed rest) and the fear of losing her, like I had that first baby was all too real and in my head it was because I didn't deserve a child and it was the universe's way of preventing a child from a terrible mother. Now, I honestly blame all of my heath scares on the irrational emotional and mental stress that I had put myself under and had developed due to the depression.
Still to this day there's hardly any information available about it. The depression literally consumed me and my every day, and when I told people they made me feel ashamed of it, or that it wasn't a big deal. When actually it is, something changed that drove me to physically hurt myself and put my daughters health in jeopardy.
I would have killed to protect her, but yet wanted to kill myself, and pregnant women regularly suffer from this, so why isn't there more help? Why isn't there more information? Why is it such a taboo and why do we as women feel ashamed to admit something is wrong? Will it make us bad mothers?
We shouldn't feel ashamed to be scared, there's so much more to our minds that's unknown and unpredictable but we shouldn't let something like this defeat us. Writing this and knowing that people will read it makes me feel scared, it makes me feel vulnerable, I worry that people will judge me for these words but if it can help just one person then thats all that matters. I don't want anyone to feel as alone as I did during those months.