Pregnancy comes in all shapes and sizes: Lianne from MrsMummyHarris
Thank you to Lianne from MrsMummyHarris for sharing her experience of suffering with depression from an early age. She explains that for a long time the NHS has been ill equipped with the knowledge, understanding and resources to really help people manage and work through mental health problems. Luckily the NHS have recognised this and with the few resources they have got are working hard to be able to provide the support people really need.
Tell us a little about your family.
My family consists of me, Hubby and Benjamin. me and Hubby are both 30 and Ben is one next month. we’re based in Essex and live with our two cats, Leo and Harley.
When did it become apparent that you were suffering with a mental health problem and what was it?
I’ve suffered from Depression since I was 13 years old. With a broken relationship with my father and my stepmother who died from cancer before the age of 11, it was really no surprise that I would be affected. I realised once I was at college that my anxiety was leading to panic attacks to the point i couldn’t sit with my classmates and had to sit at the window. I must have looked like a right oddball!!!
Once I got to university, it seemed to calm down and I felt great. However in 2012 I had a really bad low, where I often had suicidal thoughts and just hated my life. Hubby was my rock and together, we got through it. Until 2014 another low hit me and again, the suicidal thoughts came; but this time I was planning our wedding so knew there was something to look forward to that pushed me through to the other side.
If you were diagnosed before pregnancy did you receive adequate support during your pregnancy from health professionals and from family/friends.
In all honesty? I thought the health professionals really let me down. i was assigned to a consultant but not explained what it was for. then to have a receptionist tell me my depression could be a risk to my child.
I had a really bad low on the easter weekend in 2016 when I was about 35 weeks, and the out of hours midwife was AMAZING. she booked me in for an emergency appointment the next day and I felt so positive that I would get help. To then find that the midwife I saw wrote in my book I appeared fine and she only did a regular check up.
Once Ben was born, our HV offered extra support with additional appointments but she kept on turning up late or cancelling last minute or even asking me to go to her clinic when she knew I don’t drive. It was more hassle than its worth so I said no.
My family and friends were really good though, so supportive and so are the blogging community, they definitely helped me through this all!
If you were on medication, did you feel that your questions regarding the medication were answered and did you feel confident with the advice given? Was it consistent?
I had discussed with my GP coming off all medication prior to attempting to conceive so that my pregnancy would be drug free. I only actually started taking anti-depressants in 2012, as when I was a teenager they only gave me the pill – because that is meant to help with depression??? I think not!
Luckily, I did research before I went on anti-depressants and I was made aware of a couple of days stay to watch Ben incase of side effects. But with the horrible labour and his NICU stay, it all became redundant in the end!
How did suffering with mental illness affect your pregnancy?
Until the last few weeks it didn’t, but I think the build up of it all got too much and my anxiety blew up. I stopped enjoying it. I didn’t get excited by kicks, or shopping. But I knew this was wrong so it was a vicious cycle!
How did it affect your birth experience?
My birth experience was completely awful, but not related to mental health. However I think that is part of what gave me PND to the point that I was 100% sure there would be no more kids at all. But now I’m about 75% sure.
PND is a whole other kettle of fish that is just plain awful!
How are you now?
I am better, not 100% but I can live a reasonable life. I am on 3 times the dosage I was ever on and even now there are days I consider a higher dose would be better but then after a couple of low days I usually have an ok or good day which makes me think its a blip. last thing i want is to be a numb zombie. id rather feel a low for a day or two than miss the emotional highs that you get through being a parent.
What is the best piece of advice you would give someone else suffering mental illness during pregnancy?
Get support. From my experience the NHS unfortunately cannot provide the adequate care and attention you need so find it where you can. Even if that just through having a bitching session with a friend or family member. I am all for talking to people if they need it so please do not feel like you cannot chat to me at all… My contact details are all down below.