Perinatal Mental Health and Anxiety: We need to talk

This week I have been referred through to the Perinatal Mental Health team here in Doha.

And all of a sudden I feel like I can breathe again.

Yet until that referral was made I hadn’t realised I was holding my breath.

Anxiety in pregnancy

I mean, I know I’ve been more anxious this time around.  More aware of what could, what may, happen.  I’ve had more bleeding than I ever had with either of the boys and numerous scans to monitor progression.  Something which I hadn’t experienced before.

And I know that my previous births were traumatic.  A category 1 c-section is probably as dramatic as you can get, unless of course it was a silent uterine rupture discovered during surgery.  But I hadn’t realised what I was holding in until this week.

It all began with an appointment.

One which saw me being told that they would schedule me a c-section, so far all fine, at thirty four weeks or maybe if I was lucky thirty six.  Hang on.  Not so fine.  And my husband wouldn’t see me for a minimum of four hours after birth, nor would he be allowed into theatre with me.  Cue a panic attack from me.

Thirty four weeks, even thirty six, would mean a tiny baby.  The medication I take for hypertension in pregnancy means my babies are generally on the smaller side.  I mean small, both around the 6lbs mark, both full term babies.  Thirty four weeks would be a stay in NICU I’m sure.

So I panicked.

I got home to my husband and we panicked together.  I contemplated running home and staying in the UK for the foreseeable future.

The next day, no less calm, I headed up to a new hospital.  Panicked and full of worries I spoke to the MOST reassuring midwife who booked me in.

And then uttered the words

I am referring you to the Women’s Wellness Mental Health Team for anxiety

I blinked.

And again.

Was I anxious?  Did I need to see the mental health team?  I went and I met the mental health nurse and we went through my history to work out when best for me to have my first appointment and I realised that yes I do need this.

I need help overcoming anxiety after birth trauma

Although both of my pregnancies had an incredible outcome, healthy baby boys to bring home, it doesn’t mean that their arrival didn’t have a profound effect on me.  One which I hadn’t quite realised, that was pushed down and away in order for me to care and look after a newborn.  Then a newborn and a toddler.  And then life taking over.

Never really looking at it, exploring it, or worrying about it.

Except now it’s raising it’s head again, we’re expecting our little Christmas pudding.  And I will have to, once again, give birth.

I will need another c section that much is a given.

But I worry that this one will be like the others, terrifying, full of trauma and the unknown.  That I would be on my own.  Panicking, blood pressure levels rising, early baby.

Except now I’ve been referred through to the Perinatal Mental Health team.

And I can breathe again.

Because now is the time to talk about it, to work out what coping methods I can use.  To stand up and use my voice to advocate for myself, because now I have that voice back.

This time I will be OK, and if it takes me time to get there, then that’s OK too.

This time I have been referred to the Perinatal Mental Health team here in Doha, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

14 weeks pregnant

Help is available:

If you are suffering with mental health please speak out and talk to your doctor.  UK: the NHS guide to mental health in pregnancy is found here, you can also speak to MIND.
Qatar: one of the first Perinatal Mental Health Centres can be found at Sidra you can ring +974 4003 3333 for more information.

 

Perinatal Mental Health and Anxiety.  Referral through to perinatal mental health team for anxiety following previous birth trauma.

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1 Comment

  1. Louise
    June 28, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    Wonderfully written and raising awareness Laura xx I’m sure all will go well and you will have another beautiful baby. Penny was 32 weeks and only 4.5 lbs and 2 weeks in special baby unit. Always here to help you catch your breath. Stay strong fav niece love aunty Lou xxx

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