Pre-Natal Depression Story by Brooke Te Kani
I remember the day my first nephew was born it was an amazing day. I was instantly in love and I don’t think I had loved anyone as much as I loved him. When he was about 9 months old I had to look after him for the night, I was so excited until the doubt set in. What if I can’t settle him, what if he doesn’t like staying with me. The questions went over and over in my mind and I would stay up each night the week leading up to it worried.
I don’t know if it was my anxiety or he had a fussy night but it was tough. After that I only minded him one other time, I did better but still the anxiety was bad. I decided to go see someone to talk about my feelings and figure out why I felt like this. I had a Certificate in Children’s Services, I used to do this for a living when I was younger but somewhere along the way things changed. I saw the psychologist for 6 months working on my feelings and my biggest fear, having children of my own. At this point in time I had decided I didn’t know if I could have kids with these feelings.
About two years later I was feeling good about things and my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby. It happened on our first month of trying. A few days before I took the test I just knew I was pregnant and the anxiety set in and I became withdrawn. The day I took the pregnancy test I broke down. I entered the darkest place I have ever been in my life. After a week of staying in bed, not talking to many people and endless crying I went to the doctor. I got a blood test to confirm things and spoke to her about my feelings. She let me know that I could go on medication after a certain amount of time that in her words ‘will make you feel oh so good’. I told her I didn’t want medication as it would mask what I am feeling not fix things. She then told me abortion is another option but if you do that you are never to come back here. I understand people have beliefs but with the way I was feeling that last comment broke me.
I remember ringing a help line for people considering abortions and the ladies on the phone can provide you with advice. Unfortunately they were busy and I couldn’t get an appointment for a week. I felt lost, that devastated me as I needed there advice then and there I needed someone to help make sense of my feelings. My husband and family were supportive of whatever I needed to do. I remember saying to my mum one day, I see no way out. If I have this baby I will either run after its born or kill myself, and I truly believed it.
After another slow week of over thinking I went to see a psychologist. She advised me to go back to my doctor once more and get cleared as a mental health issue patient so I could continue to see her and get the help I needed. In the first few weeks I went a few times a week. Most days I admit I thought why am I here, this talking isn’t helping. Until one day it did, one day things felt lighter. One day I didn’t hate my situation anymore. I kept the sessions up as my biggest fear was post-natal depression, and guess what those feelings never came.
It wasn’t love at first sight, it was something else. A sense of knowing. I knew I had to get on with things and raise my boy, Bodhi. He was a hard baby, spent time in care because he would choke on mucus but you know what I never felt sad, or stuck, or as if I had nowhere to go. I felt like someone important to him and it did not take long for the love to set it.