Firstly, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who read my ‘Antenatal Depression’ post. I’m pleasantly surprised by the feedback and happy that people found it a helpful read!
Whenever I look on social media (Instagram, Facebook, blogs etc), 90% of the time (I made up the statistic but you get what I mean) pregnancy is portrayed to be an amazing journey. Don’t get me wrong, it most definitely is. There are enough women out there to show you the beautiful moments and the happiness that bringing new life into the world brings. From having your first scan to going baby shopping to feeling him/her kick for the first time. Believe me, it’s all a surreal and indescribable experience. So with that being said, I wanted to share some of the less brighter (shall we say?) experiences I’ve had. I know there will be people out there reading my blog thinking “Is this girl even happy she’s having a baby? Her blogposts are such a.. downer.” But truthfully, everyone knows how beautiful a pregnancy is – so I thought “A bit of realism never hurt anyone?”, hence the blog post!
There were a lot of things that I had experienced that made me unhappy throughout the first and the second half of the second trimester. Especially being young and at uni, there were a lot of “Can I even do this?” moments. Obviously now, I’ll happily show off my bump to the world and tell everyone how excited I am for the labour. But back then? I would want to curl up into a ball and never unravel myself. Throughout the months, I grew up and matured. I realised the irrelevancy in a lot of the things that contributed to how insecure I felt. And that my friend – is a beautiful feeling.
IS PREGNANCY EVEN NATURAL!?
PEOPLE WILL STARE – Weren’t people taught as a child, that staring is rude? I’ve noticed that regardless of how young or old women look, if you have a bump; you’re gonna get a few cheeky stares or elongated gazes. For me, I know I look like a little 10 year old. I’m about 5ft1 with a bump. Lucky me, I get the elongated gazes and sometimes that look of horror. One must wonder: Is pregnancy even natural? People would constantly stare as if they themselves never came out of the womb. For a long time, it used to make me feel very awkward and I didn’t want to leave the house. I’d dread getting on trains because I could feel the burning stares. Especially with all the other negative emotions I had circulating, it made me feel 10x worse. I remember telling some of my closest friends and boyfriend how much it bothered me and they used to say “Why do you even care? You shouldn’t even care. You’re never going to see these people again.” And although they were right, it was hard for them to understand because they weren’t going through it. Obviously over time, I realised how right they were. Pregnancy is a natural thing, why should I hide it? It took a lot of self motivation and pep talk before I went out (sounds silly but works), in order for me to feel less uncomfortable in public. Nowadays, whenever I go out (although let’s be honest, it’s not often atm), I embrace the stares. You’ve got to learn to love and appreciate the experience. It’s all about mentality.
REMARKS, SCOFFS AND IRRELEVANT OPINIONS – The remarks are inevitable. Especially from people you have no/little affiliations with. It took me a long time to drill that into my head. When people found out I was pregnant, I was very much aware of the negative remarks or the scoffs I got. The stares and remarks alike; it used to really get to me. Now? It makes me angry. People simply couldn’t congratulate me and keep it moving or keep their comments to themselves. I found that it was worse because I’m a young student etc. “Didn’t know she was ready to become a mother…” and “Is she going to be dropping out of uni since she’s having baby?” are some of the most annoying things that I’ve heard. Alongside the other boring remarks. Even writing it makes my eyes roll. People can be so insensitive and a lot of the time, they don’t realise the impact that their words can have on another person. When you’re not in a good place; hearing other people project your insecurities and worries is probably the worst thing. Funny thing is, the people that matter will always support you without the unnecessary remarks or scoffs. Obviously now, I just laugh at the scoffs or remarks simply because I’ve become confident in myself and in what I’m doing. When you realise that it’s God’s timing, not yours; life becomes a lot more enjoyable and you learn to just appreciate the negative bits alongside the positives. Just for day to day life, worrying about what others have to say is unnecessary and pointless. People are so ignorant to what they don’t know. Keep it moving honey.
APPARENTLY PREGNANCY COMES WITH A DRESS CODE – Women are forever being shamed for what they wear. When you’re pregnant, this doesn’t change. If anything; it can be worse. Oh the difficulties that I faced during summer! Such a first world problem. “What can I wear that’s summer appropriate but doesn’t draw attention to the bump?” A few months back, I wasn’t confident enough to go out in public and show my bump since I needed to adjust to all the changes quietly. I couldn’t be someone who openly announced their pregnancy to the world. I was so self conscious and still dealing with a lot of issues. Obviously fast forward to now, I couldn’t care less. It doesn’t matter whether my crop top shows a bit of my stomach or my dress is too tight. I walk around in my oblivious state and smile at the people who stare. Be the pregnant Kim K of the world. The woman wore what she damn well wanted to wear whilst social media made the memes and laughed. Again, keep it moving.
With that being said, pregnancy comes with a bucket load of amazingness that outweighs it all. I only wish that I grew confident sooner! Pregnancy aside, I know a lot of people struggle with many personal insecurities; which lets be honest.. We aren’t in a hurry to share with the world but I hope my fabulous memes and little bits of advice helps you somehow.
Hopefully, if you’re reading this and are in the same boat that I was in – you’ll find it comforting to read! As always, you’re not alone.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the post… I promise the next post will be of a lighter topic!
So I’m writing another personal post… I don’t know whether it’s the hormones or something else, but I’ve been feeling drawn into writing content that is a bit more sensitive (well for me anyway).
Since I was a young teen, I’ve suffered with depression. Everyone goes through it at some point in their life and a lot of the time, people tend to shy away from the topic. The word ‘depression’ itself sounds like one ugly drag and if I’m honest; I really don’t like the word. Tbh, I’m not the sort of person that tends to talk about things like this and if you know me or if you’ve ever met me in real life.. I just love a good time! However, I thought that I’d talk about this topic simply because although pregnancy is such an amazing event in one’s life.. it isn’t a walk in the park and even though we as women talk about the physical aspects of it, sometimes the mental aspect gets brushed aside.
Does antenatal depression even exist?!
Research has shown that women who develop postnatal depression are likely to have had antenatal depression. We’ve all heard of postnatal depression, but antenatal depression? I didn’t even know antenatal depression was even a thing! It is said that7% – 20% of pregnant women suffer with it (thanks Wikipedia.. Idk how accurate that statistic is…) When I found out I was pregnant, my life wasn’t exactly in the best of places. Tbh, I recall my first thought being “You’ve got to be having a laugh. This is probably the worse timing!“. I genuinely remember when my partner and I found out, we had to actually laugh out loud. So much was already going on in our lives. Obviously, as time went on we saw it as such an AMAZING blessing but it was during the adjustment periods that I felt my lowest. Thanks to my hormones, the negative thoughts and feelings that I had were 1000x magnified. I honestly felt lost. It was such a painful and confusing time. I went a good few months feeling like one walking poo. There were so many things going on at the time, and the bottom line was that I was a 20 year old student in her first year of uni. I had so many plans for the summer, for my life etc – I was a selfish student who just wanted to enjoy her youth. There were so many factors that contributed to why I felt the way I did and it’s only recently that I started to get to grips with all the amazing changes and adjustments. It’s not to say that I don’t have my off days, but I’ve learnt to cope a lot better.
So with that being said, I thought that I would write my top 5 tips which have helped me.
MY TOP 5 TIPS TO HELP WITH ANTENATAL DEPRESSION (or depression in general):
FAITH – This year alone, my relationship with God has improved a lot. He is the number one reason as to why I’ve overcome the trials that I’ve faced. As I said, this year hasn’t exactly been the easiest or best in the slightest. Sometimes we find that confiding in other people such a hard task (well I do) and we’d rather just keep it in. Majority of the time, I hate outwardly talking to people about how I feel and I’d rather just keep it moving. During this year, I’ve learnt that instead of keeping it in.. just talk out loud. I’m a Christian, and it was during my hardest times that I saw God’s love for me.Remember: it’s His timing, not yours. Every night I’d speak out loud to him and honestly, it helped me in ways I didn’t think was possible. You may not believe in God, but even just talking about your problems out loud with no one there can help. Get it out in the open.
RELATIONSHIPS – The relationships that you surround yourself with have a huge impact on how you feel. The support that each relationship gives plays a huge part on your outlook in life. For me, at the start of my pregnancy my friends were genuinely my foundation. They were the only people keeping me sane and the support they gave/continue to give me was and is priceless. Sometimes, when the people you’re closest to are in initial shock they forget that you’re the one going through the physical and mental changes and it’s hard to go from day to day without that support from them but I promise, things do get 100 times easier! I’m so blessed to have my partner and family, in addition to my friends. Surround yourself with the right people. What’s the point in living life surrounded with people who don’t bring positive vibes to your life?
PROFESSIONAL/MEDICAL HELP – I’m honestly grateful to the NHS for the support they offered me. I know that from talking to other people, getting help for mental problems from the NHS isn’t easy. The waiting list is long and you get appointments a year later etc. I do feel like mental problems need to get more recognition and there needs to be a little more free support for people in general. However, from my recent experience; I was shocked at how helpful and supportive the NHS was. Maybe it was because I was 20 or pregnant or a combo of both, but they were really efficient. I had appointments booked, therapy sessions I could take and I was prescribed medication. Tbh, me being the stubborn hard head that I was – I only went to a few appointments and didn’t take the medication. I was determined to sort it out all by myself. Nevertheless, it was nice to speak to someone who I didn’t know and good to know that help was there if needed. So be honest with your midwife or doctor if you feel like you’re not coping, you never know.. the help they provide may actually do you some good!
SET SOME FUTURE GOALS/PLANS – There were days where I couldn’t get out of bed, I didn’t want to get out of bed. In retrospect, I probably have had more off days than on during pregnancy. I always found that setting myself future goals (can be as little or as big) got me excited for the days to come. Get out, get active. From going baby shopping to starting a blog, anything that gets your mind excited.. Plan it then do it.
TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOURSELF – Do things that make you happy! No matter how small or silly they are. This can range from watching Netflix to taking a nap (yeah not a really big contrast there tbh, but both things I enjoy doing). Personally, I try to look better than how I feel and honestly it works… So pamper yourself!
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Doing simple day to day tasks can be so difficult when your mental health isn’t in check. Of course, it’s all easier said than done – but making the conscious effort to keep yourself happy and motivated, whatever that may be, goes a long way!