Moms behind mental health series: Kirsty's journey with prenatal depression

When I first found out I was pregnant with my second, my first-born was only 6 months old. As soon as I saw the two lines all I could think was f**k! I had so many different emotions running through me.

I was on the pill so how could that even be possible!

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Secondly, my daughter was still young; and I still had so much I wanted to share with her between just the two of us. I told my partner, and he was shocked to say the least - his first thought was there's no way can we have another right now; but termination wasn’t really an option for us.

A few things had happened during my pregnancy, and I was seeing people close to us struggle with fertility issues. All I could think was "why are they struggling to have a baby they so desperately want, when we are having this baby we weren’t really planning for, so easily." I started feeling a lot of guilt for being pregnant while others struggled. I was so disconnected from my pregnancy I never wanted to speak about it. If anyone asked me about anything, I would quickly give a blunt answer and change the topic.

At 20 weeks, I did a gender reveal to try and gain some sort of connection. We found out we were having a little boy! The only thing is, I never referred to him as a "him," only ever "the baby." I didn’t help with picking a name, and he was actually nameless until he was born. I was in such a state, I didn’t like want to feel the movements, like I had loved with my daughter; recording every moment I could. I began to hate myself so much for feeling so disconnected from my own baby.

I ended up messaging my group chat of girls I had met through a mums Facebook group, who were pregnant when I had my daughter. They suggested that I talk to my midwife. The thought of depression had never even crossed my mind; since I had never actually heard of prenatal depression, only postnatal. Because of this, I had chalked it up to hormones. My midwife gave me information about prenatal depression and some numbers to contact.

My son was born at 37+6 at 2.7 kg. he was extremely small, and had the cord wrapped around his neck. After the birth, I didn’t have an automatic bond with him. I knew he was mine, and I loved him, but I didn’t feel the bond I should have. I hated myself so much for not having a connection with him, and felt like an automatic failure. It took me a few days, possibly a week, to feel a connection with him. I remember sitting in the hospital crying, because I just wanted to be with my daughter. I felt so horrible that I didn’t realise my son had jaundice, and he needed to be in under the lights; so that made us be in the hospital for a few more days.

I still feel so horrible that those first days I barely held him, and I didn’t treasure my time with him. Prenatal depression is 100% real and can affect anyone regardless if it is your first pregnancy or not.

For anyone in New Zealand, this is a resource I found helpful; they have links for contacts in the area - and a few offer Skype sessions if it’s a bit hard to go in person, and over the phone sessions which I found really helpful with a toddler and newborn.

-Kirsty Marceau is a New Zealand mom to two beautiful babes. You can find her on Instagram