For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a mom. I never really pictured myself pregnant
though - maybe that's weird? I definitely could imagine having a house full of kids and love... lots and lots of love. So when that blue line appeared on the stick, I was unbelievably happy regardless of the fact we were in no way trying to expand our family yet.
Samir and I were so excited as we prepared for our precious baby. We were impatient between every ultrasound because we couldn't wait to get a glimpse of our girl. We laid awake at night trying to imagine what she would be like - would she look like me, Samir, or a combination of both of us? We arranged her nursery and bought all the baby things! There were challenges, of course, as we navigated this impending change but we were really happy.
And then slowly I wasn't so happy. It started with a small nagging feeling of 'are you really ready for this?' which I just assumed almost everyone feels when they find out they are going to be parents. To a loud and abusive scream of 'YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN HER LIFE'. I cried all the time - at work, at home, in public. I couldn't sleep. I regularly fought with Samir. I couldn't sleep at night and I couldn't make any decisions. I was experiencing anxiety during pregnancy and I was in no way prepared for that.
I was prepared for frequent bathroom breaks and swollen feet. I was prepared to watch for anxiety and depression postpartum. I wasn't prepared to be literally crippled in fear that I was the worst thing to ever happen to Lola - during pregnancy.
After finally confiding in someone how I was feeling, I made an appointment with my doctor at the Glenmore Maternity. I have to admit I was scared to even talk to her about it. I thought I was weak or it would blow over. When I finally did share with my doctor she was so understanding. She immediately came up with ways to help me. I started seeing a therapist and when I was still feeling extremely overwhelmed by my emotions, we started on medication. Making the decision to start medication was hard. I had three appointments before I filled the prescription. Samir and I had so many conversations as it was also his daughter inside of me. At the end of the day it was made clear to me by my doctor that my anxiety was more of a threat to my baby than the small risk factor that is associated with taking anti-anxiety medication.
By the end of my pregnancy I remember feeling so excited to meet our girl. I was ready to be her mama. I still had all the normal everyday fears that an expectant mom has, but that loud and abusive voice was quiet. I am thankful to those who encouraged me to be honest with my prenatal care team. I am proud of myself for working through my fears. I am grateful for the love and support of my husband. By quieting my anxiety, I was able to be fully present for the moment I became the most perfect mama for the most perfect Lola and for that I am immensely grateful.
I share this because I had never expected to have fear, guilt, and sadness be the emotions I experienced during a time when I thought I was would be excited, joyful, and happy. If it wasn't for the support of my family and friends and the guidance of my doctors I don't know how I would have ever gotten out of the grips of my anxiety. Anxiety during pregnancy is more common than you would think and occurs more often than depression. When you experience untreated anxiety during pregnancy, you are at a greater risk for postpartum anxiety. If you are experiencing this, I encourage you to reach out for help and support - which I know can be so scary! Everything about being pregnant, for the first time or the fifth time, is scary. Everything about becoming a parent is daunting. It doesn't have to be harder than it already is.
Here are some ways you can find support:
- your family doctor or walk in clinic
- by calling a local helpline - find one here
- by clicking here