Another Baby

Almost as soon as Squidge was born people starting asking me if we were going to have another one, which was irritating for a number of reasons but particularly annoying was the fact that I’d only just had one baby and was still walking like John Wayne.

People seemed to instantly forget how difficult pregnancy was for me both physically and mentally but also how difficult it had been for my family and close friends. At one point the Northern One didn’t want to go to work because he wasn’t sure if I’d still be here when he got home.

I don’t really remember how I felt but I remember how frightened and desperate and out of control I felt; similar to not remembering how painful being in labour was but knowing that it was one of the worst experiences of my life. This probably wasn’t helped by my refusal to attend any antenatal classes due to not wanting to accept being pregnant and also being unable to leave the house most days so I had very little idea about how to cope with being in labour.

Looking back I can see how natural labour with minimal pain relief can be an empowering experience but at the time it was anything but.

Have we all not been through enough for the time being?

I don’t really want Squidge to be an only child; I want him to have a sibling or siblings to play with, fight with and learn to share with. I want him to have a partner in crime and someone to share the trials and tribulations of being a child. Me and my brother fought like cat and dog on occasions but we’ve always been there for each other and still have a close relationship and I want that for Squidge.

But I honestly hated being pregnant.

I doubt anyone finds it easy but I really struggled. In the last few weeks of pregnancy I had regular appointments with:

My GP

My midwife

The specialist mental health midwife

The diabetes specialist nurse

The obstetric consultant

My counsellor

The community mental health team

The psychiatrist from the local Mother and Baby Unit.

During pregnancy my mental health and stability was the worst that it had ever been. I was on the maximum dose of antidepressants, taking sleeping tablets and diazepam and still feeling awful. I was hospitalised on one occasion because I just couldn’t cope and I spent a frighteningly large amount of the nine months planning how to end it all.

I wasn’t able to work for the entire pregnancy or really do anything much at all. I existed in a state of almost constant fear and anxiety, misery, guilt and self-hatred.

I avoided leaving the house and coming into contact with anyone who would acknowledge my pregnancy or worse still want to congratulate me and ask questions.

I threw up every morning for five months, didn’t eat any hot food during that time and felt sick for the entire pregnancy. There were a few weeks where I couldn’t go into the kitchen as every time I opened a cupboard or the fridge I would be assaulted by a new smell that had me hanging over the toilet.

Squidge tried to arrive at 26 weeks and I ended up spending three nights in hospital having medications to stop labour and horrible steroid injections to speed up his lung development. I never went into established labour and Squidge stayed put until 37 weeks but it was still a traumatic experience I’d rather not repeat.

By the time I was about five month pregnant I was struggling to walk anywhere and had almost constant backache due to SPD. I was supposed to be referred to physiotherapy but the appointment never materialised.

I developed gestational diabetes and before it was diagnosed I had frequent headaches and felt dizzy and ill. I spent the last two months before Squidge arrived stabbing my fingers up to eight times per day test my blood sugar and eating dry rice cakes for breakfast because anything else sent my blood sugar squiffy.

When Squidge arrived my mental health stabilised within the first week or so and I didn’t develop postnatal depression but everyone involved in my care was on high alert and I saw the midwifery team every day for the first two weeks just to make sure I was coping.

If we did decide to try for another baby there are lots of things to take into consideration besides the initial hurdle of actually getting pregnant.

No one has any idea if my depression would return with the severity that it did with my first pregnancy; there’s just no way of knowing. There’s also the potential for me to develop postnatal depression even though I didn’t have it with Squidge and wouldn’t necessarily develop antenatal depression first.

Even though I feel so well after having Squidge I’m not sure if it’s a risk I’m willing to take. This is partly for my own health but even more importantly I can’t put my family through that again and I absolutely cannot put Squidge through even a fraction of that.

There would be the risk of me going into preterm labour like I did with Squidge but this time it might not be able to be stopped.

I’d be likely to have SPD again except I’d also have a small child to look after so not walking or doing much isn’t really an option.

It’s almost guaranteed that I’d develop gestational diabetes again; that it would occur earlier and potentially be more difficult to control. On top of that every time I develop gestational diabetes it increases the risk of me developing diabetes in later life.

There’s a lot to think about.

Will my body recover fully from another pregnancy or will I be left be left with chronic health problems?

Do we run the risk of irreparably damaging our family of three by trying to make it a family of four?

Is wanting to give Squidge a sibling worth risking leaving him with a catatonically depressed mummy for nine months?

How can we possibly try for a baby if there’s even the smallest risk of that happening?

We need to look after the baby we’ve already got.

But I do want another baby.

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Maternity Matters

6 thoughts on “Another Baby

  1. julesfh2012 says:

    You’ve just described my pregnancy with my first daughter more or less. I remember feeling cheated because all other pregnant ladies were blooming and excited and i spent 9 months feeling terrified. It took me years to get to the point of trying again although i felt better being prepared for it happening again. We tried for three years and then gave up when our Consultant said we were unlikely to conceive. Two years later i found myself pregnant, what a surprise! The pregnancy was entirely different, i felt fine most of the time and the agoraphobia didn’t return. I think you need to take your time x

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  2. thenthefunbegan says:

    Oh wow – I’ve never heard of a worse pregnancy! It’s funny because you hear and read so much about post natal depression but hardly anything about ante-natal depression. It sounds absolutely horrific and I’m not surprised you are really anxious about the idea of experiencing it all again but with a toddler in tow next time. Surrogate mother? Bit drastic maybe! I certainly didn’t love pregnancy the way some women seem to but this is unimaginable. I’m so glad your symptoms went away when Squidge was born. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout hon Xx

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  3. Jude says:

    So sorry to hear this sad tale. You’ve had such a hard time! I didn’t have an easy pregnancy, birth or newborn experience and had PND so get where you’re coming from, yet sometimes I still find myself feeling broody about number 3. Nutter! Biology ahey? Gladyou’re feeling better. #thetruthabout

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  4. Amber says:

    That sounds utterly horrific – I’m so sorry to hear that you had such a dreadful time of it and wish that I had some wise words about the risk of it happening again. I hope very much that whatever decision you make is the right one and brings you a lifetime of peace and no regret. x

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  5. Susanne Remic (@Ghostwritermumm) says:

    Oh my. There really is a lot to think about when you decide to extend your family, and when there are mental health issues to consider too, it’s no wonder the question of siblings is a difficult one for you. I love how you write so honestly about what you went through- we need more openness and awareness of maternal mental health issues. So thank you, once more for an important post, and for linking up to #MaternityMatters x x x

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    • blopmamma2014 says:

      I try to be as honest and open as I can. I learned early on that I can’t expect people to help me if I don’t tell them the truth. I would like siblings for Squidge but we’ll just have to see what the future brings. Thanks for reading.

      Like

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