This post deals with postnatal depression and might be triggering for some readers.
It was fear of the unknown. Fear of things being out of my control.
Up until the day I found out I was pregnant, I was in control of everything that happened in my life.
It was the fear of losing the baby, fear of something being wrong with the baby, fear of what would happen to my body, fear of being a terrible parent. The fear sprung into my head like a little baby rabbit, that would breed and become a rabbit warren of negative emotions.
Our pregnancy was planned like everything else in my life. Little did I know that being pregnant would somehow disrupt the chemical balance in my brain and a dark cloud would begin to hover over my head, growing bigger, darker and scarier throughout my pregnancy, looming over me for many years post birth.
Watch: Jessica Rowe speaks about her experience with postnatal depression. Post continues below
My body began to change, I could feel everything happening. The lower abdomen bloating and cramps, the tiredness, the intense smells, the hunger, the flood of emotions. I got to six weeks and the morning sickness hit me like a phonebook to the face.
Everyone is so wrapped up in the physical changes that happen when you become pregnant, no one stops to ask how you really are.
Never did anyone close to me question my mental health. Maybe because I hid it so well. I put on a smile every day and went about my business. I just dealt with it. I got through each day naively believing this was a normal feeling. I would walk in the door when I got home, put my dressing gown on and go to my safe place.
I was terrified, anxious and deep down, a huge mess. These feelings grew inside me from my gut up to my head and hung over me in my growing dark cloud. Sometimes, that cloud would be a little wisp of fluff and I wouldn’t need that fake smile because it appeared naturally that day. Other days it would be a big, dark, threatening storm cloud, making it too loud and daunting to leave the house.
My husband and I had agreed not to find out the gender of the baby. This was on my mind every day, eating me up. I hated not knowing. I felt so disconnected with my son when he was in my belly. The one time when we were physically connected, I felt no emotional connection to him at all. My little cloud was there, just hovering, just imposing on my privacy. I didn’t see it then, but I knew that this wasn’t how I was supposed to be feeling. I never expressed the fact that I wasn’t ok. I kept it inside, deep inside. I was in denial.