'When can I let myself be excited?' Isabelle Silbery on falling pregnant after miscarriage.

Content warning: This post includes discussion of pregnancy loss that may be distressing to some readers.

I should be feeling grateful, thankful that I'm pregnant. Over the moon. Oozing with anticipation. There are women all around me who would give their left arm to be pregnant. Who have been through multiple miscarriages, rounds of failed IVF and even stillbirth. 

How first world of me to admit out loud that I'm actually not feeling that good. That I'm overwhelmed with immense guilt and shame just admitting it. This is supposed to be a 'happy' time.   

After we miscarried two years ago, I very quickly turned into a woman on a mission to conceive. Yes, I became one of those women – a bathroom filled with a variety of ovulation kits, pregnancy tests and an app I checked compulsively. Demanding I be penetrated without any warning or foreplay turning what I used to pride myself on a healthy, intimate sex life into a well-oiled sperm meets egg operation. 

We tried every trick in the book. And the time when Alex momentarily forgot to hose the inside plants, but instead sprayed the outside ones, turned into me crying profusely, attempting to mop it all back inside.

So yes, after months and months of unwelcomed periods, disappointment and pent up anxiety, we decided booking an appointment to see a fertility specialist seemed to be the obvious next step. 

Fortunately for us, we never got there. Four months ago, we fell pregnant. Tick. Job done.

Watch: Perinatal depression and anxiety explained. Post continues below.


Video via PANDA.

Anyone who's miscarried before knows all too well that every day that goes past in the first trimester is excruciatingly hard. Will it survive? Will there be a heartbeat at the first scan? When can I let myself be excited? Yet for me, the excitement didn't seem to come.

Constant nausea did though, followed by relentless exhaustion and huge sore boobs. Pregnancy is rough, I kept telling myself. It's not my first time, I know the drill. My body will change, blah, blah, and it will all pass soon enough. 

"I'm pregnant," I'd say with a smile. I thought sharing our news with people would help. But the reactions of gush and positivity just highlighted how lacking I was feeling inside. 

I was happy but I wasn't THAT happy. 

I felt more indifferent by the day. What the f**k was wrong with me? After all, I'd made this happen. I wanted this baby. 

Months passed and I was still in bed. The nausea wasn't going away and I was sick of feeling sick. Texts from friends went unanswered, emails were banked up and everything felt hard. I even found it an effort to tuck my son in at night. 


I was useless, a sh*t mother, an ungrateful wife and a sook. I was numb, existing but not interested. Every day, I woke up in the hope of a better mood but when it never came, I realised I needed help.

"I really have nothing to be sad about," I said to my GP as I handed back the mental health questionnaire. "I think I just need to adjust my antidepressants." 

She didn't look convinced and insisted on writing me a referral for a psychiatrist. 


I managed to get in within a few days and now I found myself sitting in the psychiatrist's hot seat. I'm no stranger to therapy and having PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), adjusting medications is all part of having a mental health condition.

"Tell me what it was like after your first child was born, Isabelle?"

And there it was. His first question firing straight through me unexpectedly deep. I had barely settled into my chair and was absolutely not ready to rewind the clock nine years earlier. 

But I did and I slowly started to make sense of it all. 

My first experience of becoming a mother was tainted with feelings of abandonment, rejection, loss of identity and the death of my marriage. Trauma – of which some details I will keep private. The point is, the lovely, gentle, empathetic psychiatrist opened the door to what I thought I had processed and shut tight. But it turns out that sometimes life's traumas can show up unexpectedly when experiencing big life changes.

It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Relieved I could finally be honest and not feel judged. He also allowed me to acknowledge my vulnerability and reassure me that I was doing my best, my emotions and fears were completely understandable.

I'm scared. I'm adjusting to my physical and emotional changes. I'm working through the guilt and shame for not feeling 'happy' enough. New medication is helping lift my mood and every day I find more motivation, I laugh more and I feel closer to being my old self.


During those months of being in bed, I really did feel alone. 

I had no idea that approximately 15 to 20 per cent of women in Australia are affected by perinatal depression. We need to talk about this more. If you do have negative feelings about your pregnancy, this doesn't make you a bad mother. It's crucial to get the help and support needed.

I do feel grateful. Grateful for a supportive partner, family and friends not to mention a team of medical professionals I can count on.

For now, I'm going to enjoy binging the new Black Mirror, stuffing my face with vegemite toast and feeling my little baby girl wriggle inside me. 

For more from Isabelle Silbery, you can read her articles here, and follow her on Instagram here

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24-hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

You can download Never Forgotten: Stories of love, loss and healing after miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death for free here.

For help and support, contact PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) on 1300 726 306. If you find yourself needing to talk to someone after reading this story, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Feature Image: Supplied/Instagram.