Weeks pregnant: 16
Baby size in fruit: Avocado (there is unfortunately no emoji for an avo)
After yet more travels Little O and I are now back in the UK along with Little O’s extensive wardrobe. I am honestly blown away by the generosity of my friends and family and I think there is a pretty good chance we won’t have to buy any clothes until he/she is more than three months old. To put things into context, my bag weighed 18kg on my way to South Africa. While I was there I offloaded 23 gifts as well as just over a kilogram of vintage car parts (don’t ask). When I came back my bag weighed 22kg.
That’s not really what I want to talk about this week though. I actually want to talk about something that happened towards the end of my first trimester that I wasn’t in the right place to talk about until now.
In my mid-twenties I suffered from a bout of depression that lead to me seeing a psychiatrist weekly for six months. I mention this only because it helps to put what I am going to talk about into perspective. Since that period in my life and largely because of the help I received I have been someone who is on a pretty even emotional keel. While I am not immune to the stresses of life, I am a positive person and generally able to remain in a good mood even when things aren’t quite going according to plan.
In the last two weeks of my first trimester I experienced the blackest depression I have ever been through in my life. It made the time I was in therapy look like a little holiday. I had days where I stood on the roof terrace of the building I work in and thought fondly of just pitching myself onto the concrete below. Sometimes I cried for hours at a time and could not stop, day after day. Fortunately for me almost as soon as my second trimester started I felt like my normal self and all of my dark feelings lifted. Why am I telling you this? Mostly because no one ever talks about it. Everyone acts like pregnancy is supposed to be this glorious time of epic joy where you live in a nirvana-like state of excited anticipation for nine months. So when you don’t feel like that it heightens any negative feelings even more. Even though I had sought help for depression in the past I found it very difficult to talk to anyone about my feelings because I felt abnormal and ungrateful especially since I wanted to get pregnant for such a long time. So I am sharing my experience because I want anyone else who is suffering in the same way to know that it’s not just you.
I also wanted to say please don’t be afraid to talk to someone. I ended up spending an extended lunch sobbing to my amazing best friend, Dawn, for about three hours and it was the only thing that kept me sane. I also spoke to my friend, Emma, who is a doctor and recently did a study on depression in pregnant women – it’s a lot more common that the pregnancy magazines full of pictures of glowing women, smiling blissfully as they cradle their bumps will have you think. From what it seems my period of misery was predominantly hormone related and I was lucky enough to get better without medication but antenatal depression is a real thing and there are options out there that are safe for you and your baby. Suffering in silence helps no one and I hope that this little confession finds its way to someone who has been in the same boat.