Depression, self harm, pregnancy and F*ck Ups

*This is a long, honest post and may contain triggers. For this I apologise.*

I woke myself screaming. I have miscarried, I could feel the blood all over me, my legs, the bedclothes. My voice echoed around the room, although I don't know if I made any audible sound. I was shaking too much, I can hardly move. I daren't actually look at the mess, I can feel it and that was enough. After what seemed hours, I finally have the strength to lift the duvet and manoeuvre myself out of the bed. I stagger to the bathroom to clean myself up. I am crying as I rinse the blood from my hands, body. The blood is there, I aren't imagining it, but I am awake, standing in my own bathroom, this is no longer a dream, it is reality.

Fortunately for me, a distorted one, but a reality all the same. It took some tears, and time, to calm myself down. I should have written the day off there and then. Gone back to my clean bed and slept the day away. But I knew that wouldn't happen. Besides, I had an engineer coming to do the safety inspection before 10:00. And he'd made a show of letting my landlord know I had not been returning his call(s). It was one and I was in the hospital, so no reception. By the time I got home, I'd had the call from my landlord to say it was imperative I make the appointment.

I have spent the night with my mind whirring, buzzing, not able to switch off. I couldn't fall asleep, she (as always) an elusive mistress, mixed in with waking when I finally catch her. Dreams so real that they leave you physically shaking, tearful, rattled. Knowing that you woke just before that horrible thing happened, the one that would tip you over the edge. All within 20 minutes since you last looked at the clock.

Pregnancy dreams are a normal phenomenon, or so I'm told. Apparently one of the most common is to dream of having a litter of puppies or leaving your child behind. I don't need Freud to figure what was going on with my dreams. They were so real. This is the second time I have had that particular dream.

At 10:02 I posted the following on Twitter:
You know them days where you have nothing? No patience, no empathy, no tolerance...? Something's going to give today. No sure what yet!

As I said I knew it was going to be a BAD day. I got a reply off a lovely lady, who has patience beyond belief. I sent her a couple of messages basically saying I didn't trust myself not to shout, rant, abuse people today. And I really didn't, so I stayed away from Twitter. Even when I have been at my lowest, I have often turned to Twitter for the interaction, the distraction. Sometimes found in the supportive messages of people who understand, sometimes by just talking shite. Again, no need for Freud.

By 12:00 I was manically cleaning. I detest cleaning, I don't find it therapeutic, distracting, I just find it dull. I can also assure you this wasn't 'nesting'. I had stripped the kitchen to within an inch of its gloss and lino. The living room was in the process of being sanitised too, furniture moved, dado's polished, everything moved, tidied, cleansed. 

I rang the engineer to ask where he was. 'Be there in 10' was his casual response. I was livid. I felt like he was tattling on me to my landlord, but didn't even have the courtesy to call and say he would be over two f*cking hours late. I hate people that are late and just ignore the fact. Regardless of whether I am a customer it's just good bloody manners.

He arrived, did his checks, answered my one question in a style that made me feel chastised, and left. Not checking the problem I had asked him to. Oh well.

I got back to cleaning, once I was satisfied that nothing else could be done downstairs, oh apart from finish of the jobs I had started in the kitchen, the oven, the hob, the cupboards, but it didn't cross my mind to do that. I had already moved on.

The dogs are taking the brunt of my frustration. Barking incessantly, taunting me to try and stop them. Tears and frustration build up. 

I started to hoover the steps, I have 13. I use the end of the hose to dig into the pile, get the muck, dust, whatever out. It takes my around ninety minutes to clean the steps, and not even to an acceptable standard. I know I have to get some carpet cleaner for that. I have moved to the top of the stairs, the bit that in a bigger house would be called a landing. In this house, it's about 4 foot square. After going over the first foot or so, and the edges, I put the flat normal nozzle back on. I am getting fed up, I really just want to leave it, but force myself to continue, knowing if I don't it will be a while before it is done.

I literally have picked up the hose end of the nozzle, when the other end flipped over. Simple enough to turn back over, right? Yep. I turned it over. Within seconds it had done it again. This time did I flip it back over? Nope, I just flipped! I slammed the plastic so hard on the carpet that a bit fell off. Did this help? Hell no, now I was pissed that it had the audacity to break! I slammed the thing in to the floor with so much force there was no way it was going to survive! But it did, mocking me! I continued on with my vengeance, I swung the thing with the force of a man trying to impress a girl with the hammer game at a toy fair. Bits of plastic flying this way and that, as the thing lay there beaten. By this point I have given up trying to fight the tears back, I give in, let the wailing sobs take over. In a final act of defiance, I stomp my foot on to the power switch to stop the noise with so much force I have put my foot through the casing. 

I collapse on the bed, burying my head in the pillow, I let out the tears, snot joining them in a wet stream. I have to heave myself off the bed and in to the bathroom. I need to clear my nose, to breathe... I try to calm myself, it's not happening. I take myself and tissues back to bed. I lay there crying for what feels like an eternity. Questions running around my head, not necessarily ones that need answers, or indeed have answers, questions that mean I can punish myself longer.

I can't breathe, my throat is closing. I'm gagging, choking, hyperventilating. I drag myself back to the bathroom, this time throwing up as soon as I enter. Making me cry harder, struggle to breathe more. After being violently sick several times, and cleaning up the mess, I collapse against the toilet bowl whilst being slumped back on the wall. I stayed there for about an hour, tears constantly falling, questions going unanswered. Realising that I am bitch, a worthless whore, a pitiful excuse for a human being. Not a victim, never a victim, because that meant I had no control over it, the pain, the hurt, the whatever.... It was my fault, I'd caused it, asked for it.

As I sit there, I drag my nails over the skin on my arms, I see them turn red under the pressure, flake at the force. I'm conscious I am doing it, which is new for me. The pain isn't enough, the pressure isn't enough. I want to see the skin give, the blood pour. I don't want the release, I want the pain. Physical pain has to be better than this, hurt less. I think about what I can use, my chef's knives, not as sharp as they should be, slight denting to the edges, not a clean cut. Do I want a clean cut? The extra ruggedness causing a greater wound... I think about the waiter's corkscrew, it's sharp twisted core, it makes me shudder thinking I almost killed myself with alcohol, so it seems a little apt....

Then it happened. The baby moved. My epiphany, the calling I had been waiting for, the proof my life was not going to be wasted? No! The thought that if I had miscarried I would be able to kill myself without anyone questioning it! That's right the thing I was most terrified this morning, I was thinking about happening so I had a get out clause. I mean she'd be better without me anyway. Right? I had done nothing but brought pain to those I loved, surely she was doomed? I puked. Shock? Disgust at myself. 

I had spent so many years not wanting children, knowing I couldn't look after myself. I was too reckless, too selfish, too stupid. Then after getting married, we tried. In five years it never happened. I had seen marriages break up through the stress trying caused. We, or maybe just I, decided that we weren't going down that route. I told myself if it happened, fine. If it didn't, fine. I could handle it. Hell what was one more disappointment? My head is spinning, I could see myself there, pathetic, curled up over the bowl, like some drunken, drugged up waste. 

I hate myself so much right now. I somehow manage to drag myself to my bed, and collapse on it. My husband comes upstairs to me, he saw the state of the hoover and me. He asked if I was ok, between sobs I told him I would be. I don't know what I wanted or needed at this point. But he did the one thing he always does when faced with this kind of situation, he tries to make me laugh. I tell him I had a fight with hoover and lost. I'm deadly serious, I have failed in a fight with an inanimate object. I hear him pick it up, trying to piece the jigsaw together, saying he thinks I won. Instinctively I laugh. I stop myself, hating myself. How dare I laugh? With the thoughts in my head, I laugh? What is wrong with me? He tells me to come down for a coffee and leaves me. I try to gather myself, my head which is in bits somewhere between the floor at the side of the toilet, my bed, and the floor in between. I end up laid on the sofa, crying, sobbing, and wailing, for several hours. 

And do you know what I'm thinking? Thank f*ck I managed to stay of Twitter!

Breasts & Bras

I was overweight before pregnancy and although I haven't put on much weight during pregnancy, my breasts have changed.

Gone are the pretty underwired scaffolded support, in to replace them: plain dull ugly no support hammocks.

I was reliably informed by all the pregnancy magazines and websites, that there are lots of fabulous lingerie out there for pregnant / new mums. But guess what? They lie! Well lie maybe a little harsh. But unless you are 'normal' i.e. have a bra (back) size less than 40, you can go swivel.

Of course there are alternatives, I was recently told to try Ample Bosom. I looked at their website. They offer some beautifully crafted lingerie, but it comes at a price. Unfortunately one I can't afford.

I'm more than happy to advertise, review, (flash. Maybe!) for any company out there if they offer attractive bras for larger ladies, not large breasted, at a price they can afford.

I don't even want to think of the money I have spent over the years on bras, and will continue to do for the next X years. I, along with lots of ladies, like to wear nice underwear. Having good fitting supportive underwear can alter you body shape, your stance, and your attitude.

I am pleased to say that there is now a variety of companies that go past a DD cup, including several high street stores.

Oh and as a separate issue, must all pregnancy / nursing bras be so high at the front?

If you work for, or know of a company that offers bras beyond a 40, please let me know. Soon!

Normal. Am I?

Am I normal? I mean to the extent any of us are normal.

My baby is due in just less than 6 weeks and I'm feeling fine, ok, calm about it.

The cot is up, the pram / pushchair system set up into pram mode (liner added, etc.), the first lot of baby clothes are washed and hanging ready in the wardrobe, hospital bags are packed (mine & baby) with lists ready of last minutes things to grab, checklists checked and double checked, appointments all booked in for next few weeks...

So what's missing?

The only thing I'm conscious of is my need to get some nursing bras, there's a post on that challenge coming up!

But I am not worrying about the labour or the birth. It wasn't something I even thought about until recently. Not because I was worried, but I generally just didn't think about it.

I have read quite a bit on labour and birth, pain relief, coping strategies, and even the what if it all goes tits up information in the last couple of weeks. I had an appointment today with an Obstetric Anaesthetist to see if I can have an epidural should I want or need one. I have been to my 1 three hour antenatal talk provided by the NHS to prepare me for childbirth. I have got an appointment at 36 weeks to discuss it all with a midwife.

I had a wobble a couple of weeks ago. Hormones, build up of stress, depression, whatever you want to call it. Not about the labour but about after, when the baby is here. As I've said before I have never really been around children younger than Seven. But I asked for help. I referred myself to Home Start and the Pregnancy Support midwife. The lady from Home Start was lovely. The Pregnancy Support midwife cannot fit me in for an appointment until two weeks after the expected birth.

My community midwife team referred me to the NSPCC for their new Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond course. This is a new course, currently with 4 mums to be in Leeds. I have only been to one class / group meeting so far but it was helpful as it is the first chance I have had to actually meet other pregnant ladies. This in itself is a great help at making me feel normal! I said one thing I am looking forward to (not the only one mind) is to actually go for a wee! Now that may sound odd, but I think most pregnant ladies will know how I feel. I have spent majority of the last six months worrying I wouldn't make it to the toilet every 30 seconds to be only rewarded with a drip!

I am stressed about housing, finances or rather lack of, my health, etc. but I'm not worrying about birth.

Is this normal? Will it hit me all of a sudden? Will I suddenly be a jibbering wreck in a couple of weeks?

Due to health problems I have not had a named midwife. I have being seeing LGI Antenatal Clinic as well as a midwife team based at my local children's centre. Maybe that's why I'm not panicking, as I have had great support from the hospital already?

The only thing I'm concerned about is that I haven't actually seen the delivery suites. Anxiety and stress are common for me, I can get panicky in new places, often hyperventilating just at the thought of getting there, so I really would like to visit it beforehand. Unfortunately the hospital no longer offer delivery suite tours, they did have an online version that I couldn't find, but that has since been taken down whilst website is redesigned.


I'm sorry that I haven't had time to blog recently.

I have a lot on at the moment, but I'm remembering to enjoy the rainbows whilst working towards my pot of gold.

Unfortunately, I had to visit the LGI last Friday evening due to having reduced movements, all was fine but as it was my second episode of reduced fetal movement I was booked in for a scan. On Monday, I had the scan, the baby and amniotic fluid were measured. Again all was as should be, but the sonographers need to see the baby move twice during the scan. 
And she just refused, lazy bugger (mummy's girl). 
I ended up stood up, jiggling my stomach and telling her to move. I'm sure it would have looked rather strange to anyone watching. She did as was told. Eventually!

So although I have an OU assignment and an OU EMA (which is worth 50% of my course) that are both due before my daughter. Plus a couple of WIPs that I want to finish for various reasons; financial and exposure mainly, I'm not stressing.

I was also lucky enough to get a place on the So You Want To Be A... Writer at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. An amazing opportunity, I hope to make the best of. The showcase of this is the day before my baby's due date.

I am in the final six weeks of my pregnancy now and am lucky that I'm not at the 'I just want it all to be over' stage. Obviously, I'm looking forward to her arrival, but I'm really hoping that she follows my time keeping and makes a late appearance.

She is due on Saturday 2nd June, which is Jubilee Weekend, also England face Belgium at Wembley that day for the last Friendly before the Euro 2012 starts days later.

Hospital appointments, antenatal groups, final baby checklists, and life are taking up the rest of my time. I promise I haven't neglected you, well I have, but hopefully not for much longer.

Newborn Checklists - What do I need?!

I posted recently about What the heck do I need in my Hospital Bag? and thought whilst I was asking you lovely people for help, I may as well ask this question too...

What does my newborn baby actually need? 

There are again a million and one posts, websites, etc. that list the 'essential you MUST buy for baby' lists, but I don't believe I actually need it all. Am I being naive? Or realistic?

Please take a look at my lists below and do please comment on anything you think is unnecessary, or that is blatantly missing.

Things we definitely need:
  • A pram, pushchair, or buggy that lies flat, so is suitable for newborn babies.
  • Car seat
  • Cot (with mattress) and sheets and blankets or a bottom sheet and a baby sleeping bag
  • Feeding equipment - I'm hoping to breastfeed, so do I need anything? Although should I have bottle feeding equipment just in case? e.g.  bottles / teats / bottle brush, formula and sterilising equipment.
  • Nappies - I am planning to use disposable for first few weeks at least, then possibly reuseable.
  • Changing mat
  • Nursing bra, breast pads, and nipple cream.
  • Baby toiletries - nappy wipes, cotton wool balls, cotton buds, a good nappy rash cream (Do baby’s need wash / shampoo etc.? General consensus is no.)
  • Brush and comb
  • Plenty of towels / flannels / muslin squares
  • Shawl or snow suit
  • Six sleep suits/ long sleeved suits
  • Six vests/ short sleeved suits
  • Two cardigans/ jackets
  • Hat, socks, and bootees

Things that are nice to have:
  • 2 or 4 pacifiers (if I choose to use these)
  • A special 'feeding' pillow or a 'V' shaped cushion
  • Baby bath - although baby can use the big bath (have support), share with me, or I could use a new washing-up bowl at the very beginning.
  • Baby box or bag
  • Baby carrier or sling
  • Baby monitor
  • Basket/ crib (plus mattress, sheets and blankets)
  • Bath thermometer
  • Bottle rack
  • Bouncy chair
  • Breast pump and Breast milk storage bags
  • Change table / unit
  • Changing bag with a change mat
  • Digital ear thermometer
  • Highchair
  • Mattress protectors (one for my bed as well)
  • Mobiles
  • Nail scissors/clippers
  • Nappy wrapper
  • Night light
  • Playmat for tummy time
  • Playpen
  • Portable cot
  • Rocking chair for feeding and swaddling
  • Scratch mittens (one or two pairs). Don't use these unnecessarily: most infants don't actually need them, and all babies benefit from having their hands free for exploring, and for self comforting by sucking their fingers. It's better to keep baby's fingernails trimmed, rather than their hands hidden away!
  • Sunshades for car windows
  • Rattles and other baby toys - although not really necessary at first, they are nice for me and baby to enjoy together.
As always all comments greatly appreciated, and needed before I pull my hair out!

What the heck do I need in my Hospital Bag?

I have decided to pack a bag properly for the hospital. I started to do this as I progressed in pregnancy, but as with most things in my life, I lose interest quickly, so it is currently full of lots of things but I'm not sure how useful.

A quick search on Google for hospital bag returns a staggering 46,400,000 results! Wow!
Most of the pregnancy sites have a (downloadable) checklist for what to take.

Ok, at this point, I have three options:
1) Print of all the checklists and cross reference what I need, stressful & time consuming
2) Say sod it! and buy one pre-packed - expensive and probably missing something vital
3) Breathe and ask people (i.e. new mums) who know what I actually need.

The current list I have:

Before you go:
Do a supermarket shop before your due date so you have all the essentials.
If you can, make and freeze a few meals for when you come home.
As do not have a car, I could call a taxi. Alternatively, arrange for an ambulance to pick you up. 
Birthing Partner - A pillow, blanket, and change of clothes for your birthing partner in case s/he’s in for an overnight stay. Ask them to pack their own bag, one less thing for you to do.

Mum’s bag:
  • Mobile Phone (with music & portable speakers) and charger 
  • Address book (contained in mobile). Make sure you have hospital number (phone number and reference number) somewhere accessible!
  • Watch with a second hand or digital timer to time contractions (if using mobile phone one or app, make sure you know how to use it. Practice beforehand). 
  • Pen & paper (notes in mobile if forget or it has this capability, most do)
  • Contact details for your partner/birthing partner 
  • Birth plan and maternity notes, Picture ID, insurance card and any other hospital paperwork you might need. 
  • Money in change / coins about £10 for parking, snacks, drinks {although check parking costs online, they’re bloody expensive!} 
  • Books/magazines/games
  • Nightie or pyjama’s (Choose an old nightie or long t-shirt for labour you'll feel comfy walking around the delivery room or ward in) 
  • Cardigan or sweatshirt (you may feel chilly in strong labour) 
  • Dressing gown - Hospitals can be very warm, so a lightweight one is better
  • Slippers 
  • Socks (you may feel chilly in strong labour) 
  • Underwear - (7-10 pairs). Either disposable or old, cheap knickers. If your waters break, no matter where you are, you'll want a change of underwear to help make you feel more comfortable. 
  • Hot water bottle, cool pack or Massage oil (unscented) for pain relief. 
  • TENS pain relief machine, if you are planning to use one.
  • Your own birth ball – although your hospital may provide them 
  • Facial sponge, for dabbing and sucking on or water spray / fan. Keep a water spray in the fridge until you leave for hospital. It's great for gentle cool-downs during labour.  
  • Drinks and sandwiches or snacks in a cool-bag with (for you and birth partner) to keep you well hydrated throughout labour. Pop a flexible ice pack in the cool-bag before you leave to keep the drinks cool. It can double as a cool-pack for your forehead whilst in labour. Take bendy straws too, they will make drinking easier if you are lying down. It is a good idea to take some food in case you feel hungry; you will need to keep your energy levels up. Bananas, cereal bars, and glucose tablets. 
After birth: 
  • Birth announcement cards, pen (if you are staying in overnight) 
  •  Your favourite treat - you deserve it! 
  • A mini bottle of bubbly and some chocolates to celebrate 
  • Antibacterial wipes or hand solution to help protect from bacteria 
  •  Camera & memory card, extra batteries 
  • Arnica tablets to help with bruising after the birth. Although there is no conclusive evidence that they work (NHS 2007), many women report that taking arnica helps reduce bruising and helps the healing process. 
  • Nursing bra (at least two, as you can get sweaty in hospital and if your milk comes early, your bra may get wet). A well-fitting ordinary bra if not, just remember your breasts may be larger than usual. 
  • Breast pads you’ll need these even if you don’t plan to breastfeed (to absorb leaks of colostrum and milk).
  • Lansinoh lanolin cream for breastfeeding to aid sore or cracked nipples. 
  • Maternity pads - for before the birth if your waters break, and for afterwards when you'll bleed quite heavily (24)
  • Toiletries - pack a sponge bag with a:
    • Body cream
    • Cleanser, toner and moisturiser
    • Contact lenses and spare glasses (even if you wear contacts)
    • Deodorant
    • Ear plugs, in case you end up on a noisy ward!
    • Eye mask, If you have trouble sleeping with the lights on
    • Face wipes
    • Flannel
    • Hairbrush, a hair band or scrunchie to tie back your hair or keep it off your face
    • Lip balm (gas and air can make your lips very dry)
    • Make-up and remover
    • Medications (check suitable if breastfeeding)
    • Mirror
    • Shampoo
    • Shower gel
    • Soap
    • Tissues
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
  • Towels (preferably dark coloured so won’t get mixed up with hospital laundry). 
  • Flip flops for the shower. The best hot shower you will ever take is after giving birth 
  • Going home clothes - Bring something loose and easy to get into - preferably a selection from your maternity wardrobe - along with a pair of flat shoes. 
  • Laundry bag for dirty clothes 
  • Front opening nightdress or pyjamas for after the birth for easy breastfeeding (if you've made the breastfeeding decision) 
  • Pillows - It is comforting. Just make sure you have a colourful cover on it to distinguish it from the hospitals. Also a v-shaped pillow (can help make baby feeding more comfortable)

Baby’s bag: 
  • Sleepsuits / babygrows x 2 /3 - 6 
  • Vests x 2/3 – 6 
  • Scratch mittens 
  • Hat 
  • Socks – that can fit over babygro’s
  • Going home outfit
  • Outdoor clothes suitable for the time of year (cardigan, jacket, snowsuit) 
  • Baby bottles - if you are bottle-feeding. Some maternity units may have sterilising equipment, so check with them and bring your own formula milk and sterilising equipment if needed
  • Muslin squares 
  • A pack of newborn nappies, nappy bags and nappy rash cream (if you're using terry towelling, include your own nappy pins) 
  • Top and tail bowl (in case the hospital does not provide one - check with your midwife in advance)
  • Cotton wool balls / unperfumed baby wipes / baby sponge - for bathing. 
  • Hooded baby towels 
  • Baby nail clippers 
  • Colic drops may be useful as many newborns suffer
  • Blankets 
  • Pushchair or car seat - babies travelling home by car must be strapped into properly fitted car seats
  • Soft toy suitable for newborns

How much of this is necessary? Anything I have forgotten? Or any extra nice to haves?  
Please leave me a comment if there is.
I am at hospital numerous times shortly, so I will check with them.

Pregnancy and Depression

Pregnancy and Depression are no longer new to me. Although this is my first pregnancy, after eight months, I am fairly used to it. As for depression, I don't know if I will ever be used to it, but it has been part of my life for the majority of it.

For the last few weeks I have been really struggling. Not with anything in particular, but all of it. Life in general. As usual, there was no defining moment, no spectacular single event, not major mishap, just an ever increasing feeling of shittiness. As always the feelings of low motivation and lack of interest escalate in to complete 'I don't give a crap, what's the point? what does it matter if I can't drag myself out of bed after another night of little or no sleep'

Last month I had discussed with my G.P. about increasing my meds again. I said No. I didn't want to. To be honest, I don't want to be taking them at all and doubt I will ever accept that I will have to for the rest of my life. During the last three years of so, I have been on numerous medications, anti depressants, combinations of pills and dosages.

I have never accepted the depression / mental health diagnosis fully, too often the diagnosis has changed and never been explained to me why. Besides once you are labelled with mental health issues, everything and I mean EVERYTHING becomes a consequence of that. 

You (are):
Not sleeping = side effect of mental health problems
Want to kill yourself = side effect of mental health problems
Gain weight = side effect of mental health problems
Lose weight = side effect of mental health problems
Get a cold = side effect of mental health problems
Feel stressed = side effect of mental health problems
Feel down = side effect of mental health problems
Get a headache = side effect of mental health problems
Get a stomach ache - see the pattern...?

When I fell pregnant I was at the lowest I'd been for a while, I had attempted suicide and really did not want to live. I wanted to just sleep. It wasn't the first attempt and I doubted it would be the last. I remember telling my CPN that although it may not have worked, at least I slept for 14 hours!

I knew I was pregnant within days and my mood flitted frequently between happy, scared, and full on What the F*ck?! As I have mentioned previously when I found out I stopped taking my medications, in conjunction with Drs' advice, gradually. I tried to cope without but as my head was all over, it wasn't a good idea. I thought of suicide again several times, but would not / could not bring myself to do that to my unborn child. Eventually, near the start of my second trimester, I went to see a pharmacist for information. She was great, gave me actual information, numbers, etc. but stopped short of over loading me with information. 

When I restarted on the medication, just one of them, I felt bad, but was assured by medical professionals that the risk to baby was less than if I relapsed, as according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists 'you may need a higher dose of medication if you become ill. Sometimes you may need two or more medications to treat a relapse. This might be more risky for your unborn baby than if you take a standard dose of medication throughout pregnancy.' Only one doctor actually said directly to me I was risking my baby's life. I told him bluntly, it was a lot less risky that me killing myself.

Finally, I started to feel human again, worthwhile. I actually thought about my future and not just the baby. Hell, I know it sounds selfish but what I wanted to do! I have never fully bought into the whole depression (etc.) thing, I often think it's a lazy diagnosis, especially seen as it's not my only one! The end of feeling rubbish and feeling better, was to me the ending of the couple of grotty years. A lot had happened, much of it very unpleasant, so naturally I was stressed. I spent years self medicating and managed to get through the years preceding it, so I would again. Maybe...

But recently my mood has dropped, seriously, again. Again seems to be a popular word around me, so perhaps I should have expected some form of crash.

At the beginning of this week, I was fast approaching breaking point and would have probably hit it face first at full force had it not been for some great people on Twitter keeping my sanity, reminding me I was normal! That's no mean feat!

I thought enough is enough. I was so stressed out I needed help. I don't know how much of stress / anxiety is normal for a first time mum, or whether I passed that a long time ago. It feels like the latter. I'm normally one of those people that once she finds something of interest, in this case pregnancy, I dive in head first finding everything I can about the subject. At the beginning of my pregnancy, knowing that this was probable, and possibly not healthy for me, I made a conscious decision not to do this. 

However, as I am in the 'High Risk' pregnancy category, I am being seen by both the hospital midwifes and the local midwifes. I am not seeing anyone consistently, so it's hard to develop a relationship with them. I have been reliant on the Internet, which presents its own problems. As I said I wasn't sure how much of my stress was normal, at least if I was around others in the same position (i.e. pregnant) it would help. I asked one of the midwifes for support, to be told she didn't know anything but maybe try the health visitor and the Mental Health in Pregnancy service. She also referred me to NSPCC. As she had no leaflets I wasn't sure what for! I have received a letter since to say it was for their Pregnancy, birth and beyond course, although I still have absolutely no idea what that is!

My CPN also called the health visitor service and was told I would be getting one appointed during this last week. I have not heard from them yet though.

F, who has kindly volunteered to be my birth partner, had mentioned Home Start to me a while ago. I didn't really know what they did, so read a couple of the posts on their site. I sent an email basically blurting out my current state of mind and begging for some help, or at least a point in the right direction. After a couple of emails, a lovely lady rang me to discuss coming to see me to see what type of help they could offer. She asked casually how I had heard of them, something they ask everyone. I said F had mentioned them to me, as she used to be a volunteer with them. As soon I mentioned her name, I could hear the smile on the lady's face. I knew I had made the right decision to contact them.

My psychiatrist also referred me to the Perinatal support service, so I am awaiting an appointment from them.

At my therapy appointment this week, I mentioned all this. He told me I was emotionally dysfunctional and that I needed to accept help, but also know when to ask for it. He is right obviously, but I couldn't help but think 'No shit, Sherlock'!

I have also increased the meds. I feel slightly better in that I have asked for help and seem to be getting things in place. Although I think 'surely, I shouldn't have needed to be in this state for someone to check I was coping?' But again, maybe that's just part of the I need to accept help, ask for it, and admit that I am not weak for wanting the help anyway. 

I would hope that there was some kind of service that signposted what help was available and where to find them. Given my 'diagnosis' and at risk category, surely they should be clear signposts? 

If you have already suffered from mental illness in the past you're more likely to become ill again in the first year following the birth, even if you have been well for years. 

I would have loved one point of contact throughout my pregnancy, someone to answer my questions, I had to wait nearly a week for a call back from my midwife. I know that is not possible in the ever decreasing NHS but it would have been nice. Someone I could call and ask those silly random questions to. And believe me I have lots of silly random questions! I'm sure they are 'normal' (to the extent normal exists), but don't feel it to me. I don't have many female friends, especially not ones with children. And have little family, so am rather alone in this.

For anybody that does need help, I will post my sources when I find them, or are given them. My Angels (hey, it's Easter and a nod to religion is allowed) and me have found these so far:

08457 90 90 90; 
(Ireland): 1850 60 90 90; 

Perinatal And Mental Health Unit
The Mount
44 Hyde Terrace
Tel: 0113 305 5509 
Ask your local hospital as they will have a similar service.