The light after the darkest times I went through

On World Maternal Mental Health Day, a member of our community talks about the challenge of poor mental health and not having support

MMHHW logoWhen I got pregnant, much of my time was spent crying; my journey differed as I had no medical or family support, as well as no real understanding of what was happening to my body at this time. Believing this was normal, I blamed my hormones and bodily changes.

Whenever I did try reach out for help and explain how I was feeling I was met with comments such as “you’re being dramatic”, “everyone has babies, you need to get on with it”, this made me feel like I had no support from anyone as everyone was invalidating how I felt. As I hadn’t experienced these feeling in my previous pregnancies. I was told “you have everything you want, what have you got to feel like this for”. While I was not short on materialistic items, I knew something still didn’t feel right. I was told that with prayer, and visits to the gurdwara, everything will be fine, with this advice I carried on with my daily routines.

Shutting down from everyone became part of everyday life, accepting this I strayed away from expressing myself and was growing more and more tired of no one understanding what I was going through. I started telling myself it was all in my head, it was nothing and if everyone around me is consistently telling me that I am ok then I must be.

I carried on following the expectations everyone had of me to be ‘the perfect’ mother/daughter/daughter-in-law, but when I was alone or in bed, I would cry due to the emotional, mental, and physically draining aspects of my situation. Every morning, I woke up and carried on as normal, suppressing my feelings and emotions to not burden anyone or have my thoughts invalidated by the people who were meant to offer the most support. Whilst driving I would find myself crying, drying my eyes before arriving at work and carrying on as normal.

As time went on, I found it hard to look after my children, felt I wasn’t good enough or they’d be better off without me, these thoughts left me contemplating walking out on my family. This is when my husband made the realization that something wasn’t right, and this was the moment everything changed. Although he couldn’t understand what I was going through, he made the effort and tried.

Eventually I reached out to my health visitor who suggested that I talk to my GP. Having fearful thoughts still in my mind that my children might be taken away from me and my family may perceive me as crazy, the health visitor offered reassurance that this would not be the case. Reluctantly I decided to go see the GP, made the appointment, and got some help. This helped to make my thoughts clearer and the understanding I had of my emotions aided me in implementing routines and practices into my lifestyle which worked in my favor.

For the first time within this journey, everything fell into place. By no means did any of this come with ease but once the right support was offered to me everything seemed to get better with time. I did feel there would never be an end to what I was going through, but I kept my belief, and my religious beliefs were what got me through, doing my prayers and meditating and pushing myself everyday towards the light I now so clearly see that I couldn’t back then.

For further information about our Perinatal Maternal Mental Health services that are available for people suffering with mental health difficulties during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth please visit the Trust’s website.