It is thought that between 7 and 20% of pregnant women will develop antenatal (prenatal) depression, OCD, PTSD or anxiety.
Pregnancy is considered a time of happiness for many, but for a substantial amount of women it can be an incredibly difficult few months. They feel absolute despair, guilt, hatred, judgement, fear, sadness and a large variety of other overwhelming negative emotions.
Through working with and supporting women experiencing perinatal mental illness, I have learnt a lot about how they may feel and this poem is a tribute to them. To all the women struggling. To those feeling guilt. To those wishing they were never pregnant.
There is support available. I know it is so frightening to admit you are struggling and even more difficult to reach out, but it is the first step to exploring and escaping from these feelings.
You are brave, capable, safe and worthy of support.
My small bump is growing in size,
If I said I was pleased, it would be a lie.
I first hear your heart beating, so clear and loud,
My heart feels nothing, I am certainly not proud.
My baby, so longed for, so wanted and meant to be,
I couldn’t feel more different and no one can see.
I’m scared, I’m resentful and I can’t tell a soul,
I know they would judge me, think I’m out of control.
I never knew how being pregnant would make me feel,
I don’t even want to admit that this is all real.
My family and friends can see I’m unhappy,
Maybe it is because I am constantly snappy.
This can’t go on, but where do I turn?
Is loving my baby something I can learn?
The midwife asked me if I was okay,
So I plucked up courage to say I wish it would all go away.
She told me there’s an illness called prenatal depression,
It is more common than you think but a taboo expression.
Its not my fault and it can be treated,
With the correct support it can be defeated.
I am not a bad mum for feeling this way,
So from the bottom of my heart I just want to say,
I can understand that you don’t feel good enough,
But you are not alone; there is help out there when it all gets too tough.
There are so many people who have been there before,
Your innermost feelings cannot be ignored.
Reach out for help to people who will listen,
And somewhere along the way, a ray of hope will glisten.
PANDAS Foundation: www.pandasfoundation.org.uk
Samaritans: www.samaritans.org / 116 123 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Maternal OCD: maternalocd.org
Reframing Birth Community: www.facebook.com/reframingbirthcommunity
Hypnobirthing, Antenatal Classes, Pregnancy Relaxation & More: www.reframingbirth.co.uk