In 2018, I was preparing to be a mother for the first time. I was pregnant with twins and what started out as excitement quickly turned into worry which translated to tears whenever someone would congratulate me on the pregnancy. I was not sure what was happening or why am I crying when I was actually excited for this new chapter in my life.
Initially, I brushed off these emotions and tears as pregnancy hormones and kept telling myself that things will be better once we welcome our little ones to the world. I ignored my emotions and distracted myself with whatever activity or task I could get my hands on.
However, no matter how much I tried distracting myself, the emotions I was experiencing have been interfering with my personal and professional life. Although on the outside things might have seemed ‘normal’ but internally, I no longer enjoyed going out with my friends, I avoided gatherings or social interactions. All I wanted to do is lay in bed and only do things that I needed to do.
Motherhood is glorified, made out to be the single most natural thing a woman can experience. That was not the case for me, I began resenting and doubting myself for experiencing these dark feeling and emotions, my partner and surroundings for their excitement instead of noticing what was happening within me.
Although I have had good and happy days during my pregnancy, my negative thoughts would creep up on them and drag me back to all the fear, worry, and anxiousness lurking at the back of my mind. It was not until my second trimester that I decided to reach out to my doctor to help me understand whether I should be concerned about how I was feeling.
She reassured me that what I was feeling is quite common for first time pregnant women, especially those pregnant with twins. She asked me a few questions to assess my mental wellbeing, then after a brief conversation proposed I see a psychiatrist to guide me through what I was experiencing.
The idea of seeking professional help was scary, I kept thinking to myself “Is there something wrong with me?”, “Am I not fit to be a mother?”, “What will my partner think of this?”, “If word goes out, people will probably think I am crazy or incompetent”; and so many other thoughts popped into mind.
Here I am, almost two years since I first experienced prenatal and postpartum anxiety and depression, I am extremely grateful for taking action against the negative thoughts in my head and sought professional help. I still experience days where I feel I am not a competent mother, or I can be doing more, but I am better equipped to handle these emotions. I am able to understand my feelings better, and I am also kinder to myself, my family, and my surroundings.
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