2018 I got lost in a cycle of self-loathing and anxiety, where I lost sight of what matters.
I let people make me doubt my every decision, every word spoken and I dreaded what was to come every day. This behaviour had been enabled a few years previous by a superior of mine and where they had been and gone, the mentality had remained.
If I’m honest, I still harbour resentment of this time of my life because I lost a child. Where it could be a coincidence that I was under such stress at this point in my life, I’ll never know for sure why I lost that little one and I’ve always held on to the pain of this, which is why I take every criticism so very personally. So as in 2018 I was pregnant again and this behaviour remained – I was terrified this was going to happen again.
I had convinced myself this pregnancy would end without a baby in my arms once again. I felt so worthless that I thought I’d used all of my luck on having one healthy little boy that I was sure I wasn’t worthy of another and what happened in 2015 was going to happen again.
The year started with appointments because I kept losing my sight, this started the previous summer as I returned from maternity leave with RLT. It took five months of various appointments to be told, I didn’t have a brain tumour or glaucoma, what I was experiencing was my body’s way of coping with anxiety. It was causing me to go into tunnel vision to cope with one task at a time because my mind was working overtime.
Within weeks of finding out I was pregnant I was in pain, every day I expected to bleed. I was very honest with my midwife from the booking appointment that I was terrified, she was great, she organised early scans to put my mind at rest and my phantom pain turned out to be the start of ongoing Cysts on my ovaries that were bigger than the growing baby; obviously this did nothing to help the cycle of paranoia I’d gotten myself into.
With this, in the back of my mind, was how uncertain my OHs job was, as his company had debts to pay by June 2019 which were millions. I felt as though during my last maternity the world had changed so much and they’d decided I was surplus to requirements and that hurt so much.
How could I possibly provide for my family if his company went into administration? I felt as though people were working around me, like anyone could do my job because anyone who took a guess at what to do seemed to be listened to and favoured. My defense mechanism went up, I’d trained so hard to prove myself, took on consultant advice and followed it to the word, took on extra qualifications until I was six months pregnant and it all seemed to be for nothing. This career was all I had before kids, it hadn’t been an easy ride but I believed in what I was doing was for the best for the organisation and I tried to look after those who worked with me, but I now felt like the odd one out because new teams had formed when I was off on maternity and had found their own way of doing things, whether this was within their remit or not. Everything was built on sand and I was like an angry ogre.
This took it’s toll on me throughout the year and I felt helpless. I felt as though everyone I went to for help had me down as a crazy pregnant person and I ended up believing them too. There was only the midwife who dealt with pregnancies all of the time knew this was more deep rooted, she tried to get me to go off sick at about five months, but I felt as though this would be a sign of weakness so I carried on regardless, putting everything before the health of my unborn child, I am ashamed to say.
It took seeing the impact of a crazy labour, in which I lost consciousness and the baby had the cord wrapped around his neck twice, on my other half to realise I was fixating on the wrong things. He thought he was going to lose us both, and seeing how that made him feel made me realise that nothing matters except us.
It soon became apparent that our two year old needed me more than ever, medical appointments and a new sibling made the end of 2018 quite the big deal for him, so I will be going into the New Year putting all of my focus on him. I lost myself and it’s impacted on him and I’ll never forgive myself for that. But all I can do is to not let it happen again.
So I don’t really buy in to ‘New Year, New me’ but I owe it to these two to bloody well try my best to do just that.
I’ve written this for me because the feelings that I had during pregnancy have not gone away and if I’m honest, they’ve only gotten worse since 2015, so it is up to me to stop this cycle and enjoy my life. This is the way I feel, it is legitimate to me, it may not be to anyone else but this is why I need to work through things.
My midwife gave me details of who to talk to when I was ready and just before Christmas I was assessed and recommended for cognitive behavioral therapy, because I’d recently had a child I was fast tracked through the wait list and started within three days.
I had my first appointment on 21st December and where I went into it thinking it couldn’t help, the therapist had helped me identify triggers and didn’t dismiss how certain situations and people made me feel. So I go into the New Year hopeful that I can change this cycle.
I need to be the best version of me for my boys, I’m not sure what 2019 will bring; I’m sure being a parent is a constant cycle of worry for life; but my focus needs to be on the big one especially not down the rabbit hole of my mind.