Our very own Kate Dwyer shares her experience of depression during her pregnancy which affects between 7 and 20 percent of pregnant women.
"Life Festival 2010, friends, music, madness. Yet again one of the best weekends EVER! I lived for those heady weekends spent with friends old and new. Little did I know that Life Festival 2010 would be the last time I pitched a tent without a care in the world.
A number of weeks later it dawned on me that it had been quite some time since I had to put on my fabulous big period knickers... yeah, it was a shocker... I lay in bed and cried, mourning the life I had loved! I wasn't ready, I wasn't married, I didn't own a house, we were in the throes of a recession, I was broke. "Ah here, is this some kinda sick joke?"
I mustered up the courage to call Mammy dearest to tell her my 'devastating' news, I was shaking - thinking she was going to have an absolute conniption fit. I could hear the disappointment in her voice already "What do you mean you're pregnant! You're only nearly 30" Oh yeah, I'm almost 30, sure this is almost a geriatric pregnancy! Time to cop yourself on love.
Of course, she was over the moon...her first grandchild, champagne corks were popping, friends and family were informed with merriment and glee, while I felt as if my world was falling asunder. Why did she not share my horror and the increasing feeling of doom?
I had never looked farther than a week or two ahead and now not only was I eating for two but also thinking for two.
And so my journey to motherhood began.
I took my vitamins, I gave up my Friday night glasses of wine and ciggies, began to eat healthier, cooking all my own meals and actually enjoying it. Maybe I could do this whole mammy thing after all. I was beginning to get excited for the little family that was forming, the little babóg, my other half and I (and maybe a little kitty). This short-lived dream was shattered as myself and my partner's relationship was under constant strain and eventually broke down.
The months after were bleak, lonely, I had a huge sense of loss, embarrassment and shame of the breakup. I began to feel very low and would spend my days home, alone and crying. Pregnancy had been sold to me with smiling, glowing women in dungarees who had loving partners to massage bio oil into their growing bumps and plan for the future. I wanted that.
Depression had crept in.
I remember lying in bed one morning thinking about how to end my life but save the baby inside me. My thoughts were dark and my sense of worth was gone. I needed help. The following week I had a doctors appointment. Once the doctor was done with the usual physical checkup she asked how I was. I broke down crying and told her I wasn't feeling mentally stable and I thought I may need some help. Her words to me were "It's just the hormones love". I left the surgery that day feeling like a fool, I was overreacting, all women must feel like this, hating their bump, hating being trapped, not being able to do what I wanted. For the love of James' Street lads - give me my feckin' body back!"
The next few months were not much better, I struggled on. Eventually, myself and the baby's father reconciled and he moved back in 4 weeks before my due date. Labour came at 11 pm as I tossed and turned in bed. Eager to not 'annoy' dad for fear of him upping and leaving again, I left him in bed and laboured alone in our sitting room until 7 am. I had a cup of tea and toast and we headed for the hospital.
After turning into what can only be described as a wailing banshee for hours, my son came into this world with a struggle. Stirrups, forceps and bruising, fab! He had arrived and the dark, dark cloud which was inside me was now a beaming ray of light. I was consumed by this almost overwhelming sense of love and I still am.
His father and I didn't last long and we eventually agreed it was healthier for us to not be together. 6 years on and I could not be happier with my lot. I have a little diamond of a son and the cat! My son has two happy parents who love the head off him.
Now, if there's ever a hint of that depression creeping in I am quick to speak out, quick to ask for help and life is peachy. After going through this I'd advise anyone to seek help. I wish I had been more open at the time. It is never as bad as it seems."
Thanks to Kate for being so open and sharing her story. If you are experiencing similar feelings do ask for help or contact Aware for more information.