I’d love to be able to look back at my pregnancy with joy in my heart & amazing memories. Sadly I can’t, I want to tell you the real story of my pregnancy. The real truth of my struggle with anxiety and OCD in pregnancy.
I was slightly hesitant previously to be 100% honest with you guys but I’ve realised it may just help someone by me being brutally honest.
I had the huge issue of bleeding at the beginning of my pregnancy which started my run in with ‘worry’. Other than one vile doctor who tried to ruin my confidence, I always was reassured & as a result I would quickly right myself out of the worry. I could bawl for hours don’t get me wrong but I’d quickly snap out of it & forget about it.
At the beginning I just had minor worries, a tiny static shock made me jump onto Doctor Google & caused me to worry. Then I received a zap from my Laptop charger just before 16 weeks, I concocted a story to my ex & implanted the idea of an early gender scan. I claimed it was to find out the gender of our baby but really it was to check that our baby was still alive. This I guess was about the time that my mind started to struggle with rationalisation.
Skip forward a few weeks & I’d been having issues with my foster cat, she had mobility issues & I had to rush her to the vets. She was semi feral & as a result I ended up with a superficial arm & hand wound. I thought nothing of them & rushed her off to the vets, I was so worried about her so she was my main priority. When I arrived my charity was berated for leaving the cat with a woman in ‘my condition’ but the cat was given medication & discharged immediately. They kindly gave me some special veterinary antibacterial hand soap & I was off. Slightly worried but not to any huge extent.
That all changed when I saw a stand in midwife instead of my usual midwife, this woman left me anxious till I gave birth. All from one stupid comment.
I made her aware of my scratches as I did feel that they looked mildly worrying because of their placement. They were on my arm, wrist & hand. She quickly fussed around & started talking about Toxoplasmosis. Now up until this point I’d never even heard the word before, I’d had no reason to but she implanted a seed in my brain that spread & spread like a virus until it literally consumed my every waking moment.
I ran out of that room & went home, home straight to google. I bawled my eyes out, reading up that my son could be born blind or even worse die. I didn’t read anything else, my mind ran & I felt absolutely sick. My pregnancy was never the same.
I read all these forums, posts from other mums clearly trying to panic anyone that was looking into the subject.
I cried myself into hysterics at the thought of clearing cat poo up, this is even with gloves and a plastic bag over my hand. I worried the dust would settle on my lips or that I’d breath them in. NO ONE could reason with me, nothing made me happy. I was stuck in a vicious circle of anxiety & absolutely panic.
As you know when you use Google it will sometime bring up related searches, well one day when I was having a major meltdown I also happened upon Listeria. AGAIN, it was never a word I’d ever heard of, something I’d never been frightened of because I wasn’t aware of it but BANG. There it was & by god was I scared of it. From that moment on I stopped eating meat, not before crying in hysterics on Facebook to my school friend who was training to be a midwife. Asking her if the Turkey my dad had cooked & I’d subsequently eaten was safe & if not what should I do. I never told anyone I was stopping eating it, I just hid it or gave it to someone else to eat.
All throughout my pregnancy I’d had my run ins with ‘Susan Boil’ My friendly near nunny/ leg boil. The pain of Susan was worse than childbirth, so bad in fact that some days I couldn’t walk without crying, she was the reason I could never wear pants in my pregnancy, not what you need hey! Susan caused me to need 2 round of antibiotics while I was pregnant & yes before you ask, I cried about taking them. I googled them for hours & finally semi settled when they were recommended to be the ‘safest’ that a pregnant woman could take, this was my mind though. I still worried & begged the pharmacist to check & make sure they were the best for me.
By 30 weeks I was no longer drinking tap water for fear of raw meat juice having infected the tap, instead I forced my dad to buy me endless supplies of bottled water, but don’t be conned into thinking I was okay with that either, OH NO. I panicked that I’d opened the bottle without washing my hands first so I wouldn’t put my lips anywhere near the lid, I tipped the drink into my mouth from the air so the lid was no where near my lips. I certainly got weird looks for doing this but I just didn’t care.
I put all the cutlery in the dishwasher daily, even though it had already been in there already that day. I couldn’t eat off a spoon if someone else had already taken one of the draw I’d cleaned. Eating became a long task especially if it required me to use cutlery!
I was crying myself to sleep from around this time also, holding my belly & praying my son would be born happy & healthy. Nightly I’d look out of my window to find a star that I’d say was my Grandad, I’d beg him to make sure B was born healthy. This settled me mildly but it was a compulsion that I had to do every night, if I realised at any point that I hadn’t I’d shoot up & run to the window & do it.
I was exhausted, I had nothing left in me, I was literally eating to survive & that was it.
I’d completely forgotten by this time I’d also had the added worry of finding out I was Group B Strep positive, I was absolutely gutted & panicked that my son would get ill from it. I badgered them & they never understood why I wanted the test but I’m so glad I went private & got it done. Weirdly this didn’t panic me as much as the listeria & toxoplasmosis.
Bare in mind, I didn’t have one worry free moment unless I was gaming, gaming literally calmed me down no end. Sadly I couldn’t do it all day every day.
I have to thank Dead Rising for keeping me calm enough to compute even if it was just for a few hours.
My compulsion to wash my hands at least 50 times a day ended the minute I went into labour, I can’t explain it myself but every piece of anxiety & every compulsion left me. I FINALLY felt free.
As a result of my anxiety & OCD there are barely any images of me with a bump, that makes me extremely sad. The few I have, I cherish.
This post isn’t meant to scare you, its meant to let you know that if you’re feeling this way it isn’t right or okay. That you really could do with some help. Please don’t do what I did & secretly try & get help.
My midwife completely missed the point & just chuckled about me over washing my hands & said that thats what her hands looked like too!
Your pregnancy should be full of fantastic memories, you should be able to look back on it with positivity.
I don’t want anyone to feel the way I do about my pregnancy.
So this experience is one of the reasons I could never ever carry a child again, I would probably end up in a worse state than before. I don’t want that for anyone.