skip to main content

Have you downloaded the Bump, Baby & You app yet?


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.

Written by Laura Powell-Corbett for her blog, Life With Baby Kicks.

You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube!

Here for you...
From trying to conceive to the preschool years and beyond, we’re right here with you.