Set up by Sophie over at One Unique, Huddle and Cuddle is a campaign to help raise awareness of mental health issues buy using the means of social media. Influencers have teamed up to help this campaign and to spread the word, allowing people to never feel alone by sharing their experiences with you. Huddle and Cuddle wants people to get involved by talking to people, whether it be an influencer, family member or a helpline about their thoughts and challenges they may come across.
Here is my story.
So i was finally pregnant. After 3 years of trying, various appointments and lots of injections later i finally conceived our first child with a little help from science. You’d think i was happy, ecstatic that it was finally my turn. But your wrong. Oh how very wrong. My anxiety went through the roof and no one really understood.
I felt alone. Although my husband was very supportive and stood by my side through the tears, anxiety and anger, in my head i was still alone. I think it all started with the IVF. You can read my IVF story here.
Theres no shame in needing IVF. We wouldn’t have Poppy without it. But its not just a simple case of injecting yourself everyday, the lab doing its bit and hey presto, your pregnant. My IVF journey lasted for 56 days, 1344 hours. Thats a long time to be in constant fear that its not going to work. So you’d think on my official test day when we got our positive pregnancy test result, that id be able to relax and enjoy the fact that we had been successful. Of course i was happy! I screamed, cried, jumped up and down like a little kid at christmas but the anxiety was still there in the back of mind.
So now the fear had switched from the IVF not working, to losing the baby we had waited so long for. The anxiety wasn’t so bad to begin with. But at 5 weeks and 6 days pregnant i was at work and i had a large bleed. The Dr informed me that my cervix was closed but that i could possibly be having a threatened miscarriage. I was devastated and so so scared. We waited around for a hospital scan but they couldn’t fit me in until the following week. I couldn’t wait that long to know if we had lost the baby or not so we decided to pay for a private scan that evening. I’m so glad we did as there it was, our little bean with a strong heartbeat fluttering away. The relief was instant. I cried and cried with happiness.
The dark circle above the gestational sac was what the Dr called a Subchorionic Hematoma. Apparently it is quite common in pregnancies but in most cases it absorbs on its own and causes no long lasting problems. Well that didn’t stop me worrying for the next 270 days of my pregnancy.
270 days is along time to have constant anxiety and fear. I tried not to show it to my friends and my colleagues but it was really difficult. There became a point when i knew i had to be honest with people. And once i was, i felt so much better for it. I began to open up and be honest with my friends and colleagues at work. It felt good to talk about it instead of keeping it all bottled up inside. Over time people began to understand what i was going through and they became more sensitive to it.
Towards the end of my pregnancy things took a turn for the worst. In my head that is. The pregnancy was going great but i became irrational. And i knew it. I began thinking that i was going to have a stillborn, or she was going to die shortly after giving birth. Or that i was going to die post labour, or die from cancer 6 months after giving birth. Really irrational things that would have so much detail would enter my head and it became difficult to get it out.
I finally seeked help from my GP at around 30 weeks pregnant. Although there was a risk the baby would develop an addiction to the anxiety medication i would be taking, i knew that this baby needed a healthy mum and that the risks were small. Being a neonatal nurse myself, i know the facts around Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome which was a good thing but also a bad thing. It gave me the knowledge but also the fear. Sometimes i think it makes things worse when you know too much.
Luckily Poppy was born without any side effects from the medication. She was tiny, perfect and finally here. She arrived in to the world at 17:50 on the 3rd of February 2017 following an induction as i had developed Obstetric Cholestasis. You can read my labour story here.
Although i still have a daily battle with anxiety it is becoming much better with the fantastic support i recieve from my husband, family and friends.
If you have anxieties like mine my advice would be to try and accept help. It doesnt make you a bad mum to admit defeat. I am now a much better mum to Poppy now that i have my anxiety under control. I would also make sure you talk to people. Your family and freinds arent physic, if you hide it well like i did they will be none the wiser. You will feel much better just for talking to people about your worries than keeping it all bottled up inside. Sometimes it can get frustrating for you and the people around you as they don’t know how to act or may say things that trigger you. But remember they aren’t always aware of the damage they can cause.
This is why im sharing my story, so that i can help to raise awareness. So when Sophie over at One Unique , the creator of the campaign Huddle and Cuddle asked if i was interested in sharing my story i jumped at the chance. Mental Health is NOT something to be ashamed off. I am not ashamed to say that i have struggled with mine. So if you take anything away from this blog post, make sure that it is that its ok to talk to people. Infact talk to as many people as you can. Sharing is caring and people want to help. You can check out Huddle and Cuddle here and on Twitter here.
I hope this has been a helpful insight into the anxiety i suffered in pregnancy. And remember, if you feel you need help, take it. Your baby needs a healthy mum 🙂