Feeling anxious after birth is something many women can relate to, but when you don’t have your own place and relationships feel like they’re fraying it can be hard to know where to turn. Shannon shares how Family Action’s Pregnancy to Three service was there for her when she most needed to find her feet as a new mum.
From one anxiety to another
My partner and I didn’t think we could have children, and we were close to booking an appointment to look at our fertility… and then, well, here we are.
I wasn’t prepared at all when I became pregnant – neither of us were – and we couldn’t get to grips with the fact that we were having a baby until he was actually here.
He was born a week before his due date and it wasn’t a nice birth – it was pretty traumatic – but my son was fine. After his birth though, I didn’t sleep for two days straight. I was breastfeeding and, as he was quite a fussy baby, I was worrying about him as he was getting more and more hungry and I felt I couldn’t give him what he wanted. Eventually, we turned to formula. That really helped, and he’s been on formula ever since.
No home of our own
I was in my mid-twenties, we both worked, and I was working towards a degree, but I was living with my mum and siblings at the time as we couldn’t afford our own place.
It was hard to get alone time with my son and I couldn’t always bond with him.
What’s worse was that I had real baby blues and I’d have what felt like breakdown after breakdown.
I’ve always been a bit anxious, and struggle with meeting people, but during that period I was very nervy and panicky.
It was the general stuff I think a lot of mums go through – I’d worry about leaving him for short periods.
Looking back now I would say I was really exhausted. It was draining and exciting at the same time and, to begin with, it was quite suffocating and hectic with so many people around.
Needing to make my own mistakes
My relationship with my mum is really good but things got a bit intense and I sometimes felt like I couldn’t parent and make my own mistakes. Everything’s trial and error and I wanted to learn my own way.
When my health visitor came for the second visit, I explained that I was feeling anxious and felt like I needed alone time with my son.
I didn’t know what baby groups to go to and they told me that Family Action Medway Pregnancy to Three Support Service was just opening and might be good for me.
Finding people I could be myself with
Family Action made me feel more like I was at home than in other baby groups…it felt cosy and I felt like I could be more myself than I had in others I’ve been to.
I have made friends through the sessions, and we’ve even set up a little group chat for us all. It was good to be around mums with babies who were similar ages, share experiences and be honest with each other, and it was nice that he could meet other babies as well.
Once our course of sessions were complete, Family Action helped us move onto other baby groups in the community and, hopefully, we can do a meetup soon.
The staff at Family Action are brilliant, honestly. I couldn’t fault them. They’re so helpful and thoughtful – they gave us nursery rhymes to take home, which I didn’t even think of doing with him until they mentioned it to us.
Counting my blessings
Now we’ve managed to find our own place things are a lot better and I feel it’s been good for the relationship between my mum and me. She’s always coming around…and I’m not complaining! She loves seeing him and it gives me a break.
But the Family Action group gave me time to see him through some milestones, just me and him, and I’ve enjoyed watching him change and grow. I love being a mum but the special moments go by so quickly. He’s so clever and I love that he’s forming a personality now, but it feels like only yesterday since I gave birth. It makes me treasure the moments with him – the smiles and the laughs. Once he came into our lives it was a blessing.
Find out more about our charity and the difference we make. If you’re struggling with your mental health in pregnancy or the early stages of parenthood, contact our FamilyLine to help locate the best sources of help where you live.