“I had such mixed feelings when I found out I was pregnant – lots of emotions and excitement, but then also this feeling that my life was over, as awful as that sounds,” says 25-year-old Jade, who was 23 when she had her son. “I was about five months pregnant when the anxiety really hit me. I’d been having panic attacks, struggling to leave the house, and then one day I just broke down. It was completely overwhelming.”
Antenatal anxiety affects around 13 per cent of pregnant women, while 12 per cent suffer from antenatal depression, and many experience both. Like at any other time in your life, some amount of anxiety and worry is totally normal and understandable during pregnancy, but it becomes a problem when that anxiety begins to affect your everyday life.
For 35-year-old Hannah, who was 32 during her second pregnancy, the anxiety stemmed from her physical difficulties with SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) – a condition that causes back and hip pain in around one in five pregnant women.
“I had a toddler at the time, and I was struggling to do anything. I physically couldn’t get on the floor to play with him. I couldn’t run around after him or take him to the park, or any of those normal things. I wasn’t sleeping very well, and I struggled with going to work, and getting in and out of the car. The anxiety just escalated,” she says.
“I didn’t trust my body to get me from A to B, or be able to carry me around, so I struggled to leave the house at all. I was having loads of panic attacks and negative thoughts, and I just couldn’t break the cycle,” she adds. “I knew I was being irrational, but I couldn’t move past the thought that: ‘if I do this, I might fall over and hurt the baby‘.”
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