The day I started bleeding during my first pregnancy, was probably the worst day of my life.
I had spent 3 months talking about baby names with my other half, reading pregnancy blogs and watching countless YouTube birth vlogs… I was also beginning to get extremely excited about my first scan that was to take place the following week.
I was pregnant, I bled, I had an emergency scan, I was rushed to hospital for major blood loss, and then I wasn’t pregnant anymore. It was all taken away from me, just like that, over the course of a few days.
The control had vanished, and I no longer trusted the world. In fact, I hated the world. I had spent the last 6 weeks talking to the baby in my stomach that was no longer alive. Inside, I felt like I had let that baby down massively, and failed as a parent to keep it safe.
My miscarriage is where it started, and I know that now, because I wasn’t like this before.
A year later, I had fallen pregnant with O, and it felt different immediately. I was overly conscious of the fact that I was pregnant, whereas with my first I just sort of got on with my life and continued to do what I had always done. He meant the absolute world to me from the second I got that positive test, but I was so anxious to go through pregnancy again because, as I said, I blamed myself, hugely, for the loss of my first.
I prepared myself for the worst because I didn’t want to go through the disappointment again. I researched extensively everything I should and shouldn’t eat and everything I should and shouldn’t do. I spent more time on NHS pages during the first few months than anything else. I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything for him, and I didn’t until I was about 6 months.
I remember keeping myself inside our flat where I felt safe. I would be nice and warm, I had the correct food to eat, I could watch tele with my feet up and have stress free days. That is what I did for the majority of the first trimester.
Then, all of a sudden, I felt like I couldn’t go out anymore. The first time I actually left the house on my own, I was terrified. Walking down the street, I kept having visions of someone crashing their car into me, or a dog biting me, or someone stabbing me in the stomach. All of these thoughts I had never experienced before. I was suspicious of everyone, and everything.
After that, it quickly spread to inside of the home too. We lived in an upstairs flat with only the front door as an escape, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep all night for weeks thinking about how we’d escape in a fire. I remember laying there, 4am, thinking “If I have to jump out of the bedroom window, the baby won’t survive”. That anxiety plagued me until the day we left that flat, which saddens me so much because it left me with nothing but bad memories of it.
As soon as he was born, I became so protective of him. I honestly can’t imagine not having him in my life.
Of course, then, it just got worse.
I didn’t actually take him out at all on my own for months after he was born. I was too scared. I looked forward to going back to work, because I had known that my anxiety would dissipate for three days a week when I wouldn’t be feeling so over protective and anxious. The two days I was off on my own were awful though. I was too scared to go out by myself, so instead I was staying in the house for the whole 9 hours Anthony was gone, and O would be bored silly.
It just went on from there. I was terrified when he was in a car, terrified when he was away from me, and terrified that when he was with me, I couldn’t protect him from outside danger beyond my control. This peaked following the recent terrorist attacks, and especially the one in Manchester. I don’t know why that changed everything for me again, but it did, and it was probably because most of the victims were innocent children.
The other main fear I have, is that someone will hurt me while I am out with him, and he will be on his own, unaware of what has happened and just waiting to be found. I dream about this so often, that I can no longer sleep. I have, on average, 3-4 hours sleep a night, and that is broken up by nightmares and terrifying thoughts.
It is only recently that it has gotten to a suffocating point, and travelling to work in the car with my other half (who works at the same place as me) became too much. The whole way there and back, I would think “If we are in an accident, O won’t have parents.”
It is truly horrible, and I honestly don’t know why I think this way, but I do.
For the first time ever, the other day, I pushed myself to walk 2 miles into town, and 2 miles back, on my own. It was so overwhelming that I cried when I got home, and I was so proud of myself. I realised I was okay, nobody tried to attack me and I don’t think a single person was actually interested in what I was doing at all.
I feel so nervous sharing these thoughts with everyone, and I know I am not going to get a positive response from everyone for doing so, but I am going the right way to improve my life, and most of all, improve O’s. I don’t want him to be stuck inside all of the time because I am too scared of the outside world and what might happen. I don’t want to grow old and realise that I wasted all of my life worrying about what could’ve been.
You see, I was so afraid to seek help and convinced myself that I could go on like this, but now I have realised help is the only way forward for all of us, because it is not just affecting me, but my whole family. I don’t want to be defined by agoraphobia, and I don’t want my son to suffer socially because of it either.
I truly thought O would be taken away and that the doctors would think that I was completely mental… however, for a start, I know the thoughts and worries are completely irrational, which is a good thing, but they’re also based solely around how much I love him, and nobody could ever take him away from me for that reason.
I also didn’t realise how many people are going through the same thing as me, and just from having this blog and the people I have met through it, I realised it is so much more common than I initially thought. I am certainly not alone.
I have an appointment with my doctor scheduled in the next few days, and I am going to talk through the whole thing with him, because I know that is where I need to go from here. I just need someone to change the way I think, and to make me realise that the world isn’t as bad as it seems in my head. For now though, I am going to start setting a personal goal every day, even if it just to get a loaf of bread at the corner shop, and I am going to make sure I tackle it without pressuring myself too much.
Baby steps, as they say.