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
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.
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.