Last year I went through lots of tests and procedures in hospital, myself and my partner were then referred to a fertility clinic because I was told I had problems with my Fallopian tubes, because they were badly damaged and I had some other problems that were causing me a lot of pain. At one point I was told to get a hysterectomy as it’s the only way to stop the pain, I have an 11-year-old daughter but I was just 28 I didn’t want to turn off my ovaries just like that, it didn’t feel like the right thing to do even though I knew I would have to face facts that I may not be able to have another baby. After so much bad news we received the final blow, my partner had zero sperm. We were told that I would need to lose 4 stone and pay for any further treatment as there was nothing available for us. We were devastated but we decided to accept the fact that it wasnt meant to be, we couldn’t put our relationship under that kind of tress and I had suffered after each appointment with my mental health and it was really having a big impact on the way I was feeling.
We went away in November and decided that would be it, we would come back and keep creating a better life for the 3 of us and we would travel more as its my favourite thing in the world! We booked a multi centre holiday to Thailand, Hong King & Dubai to take our minds of everything and I took time to convince myself that life would be better if i didn’t have another baby anyway, that there was so many more opportunities for us and my daughter was all grown up so we had it good,
I decided to tackle my weight, first of all my medication was a big factor in this so I started coming ff my pregabalin (lyrica) 75ml at a time, I had heard everywhere that this wasnt a good idea but my psychologist insisted this would be a great idea and I wouldn’t need it much longer anyway. She also told me not to take the anti depressant I had been given as it’s not a good idea to start a new therapy and new medication at the same time, so them being the ‘professionals’ that’s exactly what I did.
The withdrawal was horrific, weeks of pain, feeling sick, no sleep, crippling anxiety, crying, depression, I couldn’t leave the house and was an emotional wreck. I was hoping it would get better but I haven’t been the same since. a few weeks later I was still in withdrawal and my medication had been halved by this time. I decided one morning after feeling really unwell that I would take a pregnancy test, low and behold it was positive! (and so was the next one)
We couldn’t believe our luck! for the first few days it was so exciting! Then I began to worry as it was so early, I cried every time I had eaten something or done something that might affect the baby. We had a 7 week scan and it was a tiny dot. Then a few days later.. everything turned upside down.
With me already being so mentally unstable and the shock of everything, anxiety and the black cloud took over…I began to dread the whole thing, I hated myself, I hated my life and as awful as it may sound I resented the baby for making me feel this way. I was hysterical every day for weeks, I was self harming and eventually became suicidal. I was so distraught by my situation i was in the worst state I have seen myself in…probably ever actually. I cried hysterically day and night, I didn’t want to have the baby I thought it had ruined my life, I couldn’t see myself as a mother again, I couldn’t fit a baby into my life.
Deep down I kept telling myself ‘you tried for 2 years for a baby, you must have thought a baby would fit into your life somewhere for all that time!‘ I didn’t understand why everything seemed different now, I felt doomed I was trapped as my partner was overjoyed and hasn’t got any children, so I didn’t want to hurt him but I was sure something had to give, it was a case of my sanity of the baby. Ir reached out to the mental heath team desperate for help, they made an appointment and told me to come of my medication straight away because of the pregnancy! I said that I couldn’t stop my medication, I had been so ill for weeks just reducing it and that I am suicidal so don’t think it’s the best idea, it would be more of a risk and I couldn’t possibly feel any worse than I already did as I wouldn’t have coped.
The psychiatrist told me I shouldn’t have listened to the psychologist in the fist place with regards to medication, that it’s not her job..how was I to know that? I trusted the professionals.
I was referred to the perinatal team (Mother and Baby Mental Health Service) and was told I would be on a waiting list for 2 months before an appointment. They didn’t understand, it would be too late by then, I was ready to terminate the baby I had waited so long for. I begged and cried like never before. I was self harming more and suicidal thoughts were constant. I called the crisis team every time I was hysterical, at one point it was 3 days in a row, they promised to help me and kept referring me to the CMHT (community mental health team) who then kept repeating that the only person that could help me in the whole country was Doctor Cairns, the Perinatal doctor.
Getting through to this doctor was like purchasing rocking hose poop, it was impossible. I went on to write down all my symptoms I was experience, I was having bad dissociation episodes and I hated every aspect of my life. To gain help I wrote out notes from an assessment that I done on myself so that I was giving them as much info as possible to allow them to help me in the best way, it was my only option.
Lets see what you make of this: Here is what I sent to them describing my feelings at the time and the hell I was going through, I was begging for help out of this hole:
My current situation 05/02/2017. This is my personal notes that I had to show the doctor and make sure I told them all the emotions and things I was going through.
- Suddenly uncomfortable and unhappy in my home, I don’t want to be here anymore.
- Hate everything about my home, have a bad feeling towards it
Don’t want to sleep in my own bed or want to sit on my sofa – gives me an uneasy feeling
- Smells that have been introduced to my house in the last few months trigger me to feel anxious for example a new spray we started to use – new ornaments or changes I have made to try to improve have been taken down
- Panicking when I know I have to be in the house (after going away for the night I cried for 2 days and didn’t want tor return)
- No pleasure in doing things
- Coping techniques not working, cant distract myself
- Feeling very confused and lost
- Disconnected from everyone and everything
- Spaced out, dissociating
- No concentration
- No feelings towards anyone or any excitement or other emotions just don’t feel there. I feel like there is something wrong, like I’m out of control and I don’t know myself
- I feel like I have to move house desperately as I can’t bear to live here anymore – I loved my house a few months ago and spent a lot of time and money n it.
- I can’t bring myself to talk about the baby or make plans
- Scared as I don’t feel anything towards baby, I feel disconnected.
- After trying for years and being told I was infertile, I was devastated I know how badly I wanted to be pregnant and had well thought it through. All of a sudden I don’t feel like that anymore? Doubts.
- Nothing feels real, I just don’t feel like my life is mine and can’t put my finger on it. I thought I was happy months ago.
- I haven’t been sleeping well
- Suicidal thoughts, feel like everyone is better without me and that I just want it all to stop
- Thoughts of termination as I don’t think I can handle all this. But this would put pressure on my relationship and hurt my supportive partner and I may regret it and suffer even more when I recover
- I have an anxious, frightened feeling and I’m on autopilot the only think keeping me going is deep down I know I must have a routine for Emily and protect her and that I must have a font for my partner and to not hurt the baby.
- When I look at photos from November I feel like that was me. I don’t know who I am now, I look and feel different and have different feelings, I can’t explain it very well but its like my mind is carrying on and my body is just working itself.
- I feel like I’m going crazy, I don’t know whats happening to me. I want to be excited and enjoy pregnancy, but I just feel it’s an inconvenience and I am scared of when the baby is born and how I will feel and cope..
There was a timeline of stressful events in my life leading to this time .
I have recognised that I have felt like this before when I was going through my court case for historical abuse. I done treatment work on PTSD and dissociative disorder. I have looked back on my blog and have noticed similar feeling to now. I have written a timeline of significant things to identify the triggers or any similar trauma that could have affected me or created my problems.
Is that a normal situation? I carried n begging them for help and contacting the crisis team and anyone else I could to raise the alarm and get the support I needed, I was not going to commit suicide as I have my daughter to look after and I knew that I deep down did not want to terminate the baby. But in that state, what do I do?
I eventually was offered an emergency appointment a week later with this Dr Cairns. He spent the majority of an hour asking me about things that he had pulled from my records 7 years ago! Criminal history from when I was a child, I answered honestly to all questioned I cried as I spoke and I gave him my print out (as above) and explained my desperate situation. He told me and I quote
With Borderline Personality Disorder, There isn’t really any medication we can give to help it, there is not much we can do about it unfortunately.
I was so upset, by those words. Does that mean I’m fucked then? there’s no help whatsoever and because it’s a disorder that can’t be helped its tough luck? it’s not the first time I have heard words like these, it makes me wonder what they actually think of it. I instantly put my guard up. After speaking t him he was patronising and it was as if I was being dramatic and all the information I had given him wasnt relevant. I had a similar experience 2 years ago which can be found here . On that occasion I wasnt wrong either, I had fertility problems and my ovaries were attached to my bowel causing so many problems..and that’s pretty much lead to where I am now.
I left the appointment with Dr Cairns after being told he would be in touch with some support. I heard nothing, from him or the mental health team.. I suffered, I hurt myself and I didn’t know what I could do we know we had to do this alone and just hope that I would get through it, but at the time I really didn’t think I would. I have not had an episode that lasted this long EVER. Which makes me think, is it prenatal depression? It didn’t feel like an episode, I recognise the symptoms and the cycle, this was something else altogether.
After 4 weeks or so, yes 4 weeks! of hearing nothing I received a letter from the perinatal team. I have never felt so insignificant as I did when I read it. it was a 2 page letter, the first 1 and a half pages were about things that had happened over 7 years ago! Which was a lifetime ago to me, Things move so fast in my life. Someone with BPD can relate to how long ago this was and how much will have happened and changed in that time. I was 21 for goodness sake, there was even details of a car accident I had been in 6 years ago. Why was it relevant to bring up my full psychiatric history and not deal with what was happening right now. In this letter his conclusion was basically
‘Had reasonable insight’
‘speech is normal’
‘She has experienced decompensation of her emotionally unstable disorder in the context of her psychotherapy uncovering historic traumas and then suddenly ending without resolution and acceptance of not having another child following a pregnancy’
‘There is clearly a risk that should her mental health deteriorate any more than there is a further risk of self harm but I don’t feel this is immediate’
Did he read any of my notes? Did he even listen to me?
I felt ignored and still so upset and angry and that thee was no help for me, I had to keep on suffering alone. That letter sent me in another episode of despair, which also didn’t end well for me. I feel that I have been let down so much from the Mental Health team that I can’t trust them, they have messed with my head time and time again, they can’t be relied on, there’s not enough support or funding for them to help me.
Over the last few weeks through my depression I have managed to carry on with the support of my partner, I don’t have family around where I live and I speak to my friend on a daily basis who has helped me talk things through each day until I was in a better place. I sought comfort and support from networking sites such as Netmums, where other mothers could give me advice and support and some guidance. it’s took a long time and I am still not in the light yet, though I’m now 4 month pregnant and can see clearer with regard s to the baby, It has finally sunk in and I am being practical about it. I am looking forward to finding out the sex on my next scan and when the baby comes I hope that it will all fall into place and I will love it like I love my daughter. I am constantly scared of not feeling connected to the baby again, as I grow my bump I feel more protective and I do worry about things like ‘what if I can’t do it?’ ‘what if i get ill’ but some say that this is me already being a good Mother and already thinking of whats best for my unborn child.
At the end of that letter the Doctor said that he would get me a CPN (community Psychiatric nurse) and a further appointment in 3 months time and that was that! This was February 24th. It’s now 27 March and 3 days ago I eventually got a call from his team to orange a CPN appointment, I made a complaint about my assessment and informed them I wasnt impressed with the outcome or the help I had received. I then received another letter from DR Cairns stating that I have rejected more help and didn’t find his assessment adequate therefore I am being discharged. Well thanks for that, Great support for mental health eh?
I am now 5 month pregnant, I found out that I’m having a little boy and I seen him n the 4D scan, Finally my connection was there, I knew it had been all along but the black cloud of depression and mental health wouldn’t allow me to see it. I’m still struggling with the massive changes in my life but I’m on the mend mainly thanks to my husband. He has done everything he could for me to make me feel comfortable, support me and is constantly there to do as much as he can to get us through this. My older sister was messaged me everyday to reassure me that I would be OK and my friend is still like my therapist.. we are pregnant together so as you can imagine the messages of constant complaints, emotional support and those ‘Too Much Info’ messages are definitely for our eyes only. I was failed once again by the mental health team a constantly live in fear of whether I’m going to be that mentally ill again soon, or if I will ever be myself again to be honest. I am looking forward to Junior coming along, I feel like I love him and want to protect him and can finally think positively about our future, I am glad I got through the first few months of the pregnancy, but I will always be disappointed I didn’t get to enjoy it and have peace of mind like other expectant mothers do, the joys of Bordeline Personality Disorder.
I wanted to write this to show other people in my situation you are not alone, you shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling this way. It’s not all shits and giggles. But it will get better, there is hope!
There is not enough help for mental health during pregnancy, I have recently seen campaigns about it so hopefully, If enough people speak up something will have to be done, In the meantime try and have some hope, even when you feel like there is no way out of the dark. Just keep soldiering on. I do find myself feeling better about the pregnancy though I’m still very anxious and worrying, but not feeling so doom and gloom towards it. I noticed I started feeling even better when I could feel baby move, made it more real I suppose? Like he’s contacting me to say he is there. I also made myself talk about the pregnancy. Even though deep down I knew it was what I’d wanted, I was very worried about telling people how I felt but telling them some of what I was feeling – shock, worry, stressed not some much the abortion part as I still feel incredibly guilty – they offered their support and finally the gender scan was my turning point.
I find just taking each day as it comes works best, and making sure you make time for yourself. I’ve started reading again and quite often disappear to bed early to lose myself in a book or a film. Still have the thoughts I started out with: is this the right decision? What’s going to happen after the birth? How will I cope with my mental health? If I’m feeling particularly bad I like to write it all down. Look at what I wrote and ask myself “What can I do to ease the worry?” And come up with a plan. I also think that they’re quite normal thoughts, it’s a big thing and I don’t think any to be parent doesn’t have these thoughts at least once.
I know the last thing you want to admit to people is that you’re not feeling ‘happy’ about this pregnancy but talking helps. Whether a stranger or your partner or a friend.
But take each day as it comes, and wait until you feel the first ‘flutters’ it helps when it starts feeling more real and the horrible tired sicky stage has passed.
All the best to anyone who is experiencing the same.