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Jealous of pregnant friends

(8 Posts)
Itsaplayonwords Wed 10-Aug-16 19:38:59

DD2 was born 7 weeks premature 8 weeks ago. DD1 is 2 and a half and was born 12 weeks premature. With DD1 I had severe PND and PTSD. This time around I struggled in the beginning with depression and anxiety but I knew it was likely to happen so had things in place so I started taking anti depressants right away and I started CBT last week. I am feeling much better in that respect but one thing I can't shake is that I'm so jealous of anyone who is pregnant. I felt this way after DD1 and I'm still feeling it after DD2.

A friend at work is 37 weeks pregnant and while I'm excited for her I'm so jealous that she is at a stage of pregnancy that I've never experienced. Another work friend text me yesterday to tell me she's pregnant and while my initial reaction was the be happy for her (and I of course text my congratulations and asked lots of excited questions), afterwards I just felt sad.

I feel like I was cheated of those final weeks of pregnancy. I wanted to be huge and uncomfortable and impatiently waiting for labour. I wanted to keep having braxton hicks and get all excited that this is it. Instead when my contractions started it was something to fear. Even with DD2 being born at 33 weeks and knowing she was stronger and healthier than DD1 was and in effect it was "okay" that I was going into preterm labour because I'd got 5 weeks further, it was still scary and unknown. But aside from that, my entire second pregnancy was filled with anxiety. Of course I was excited but it wasn't a magical experience as it was with DD1 (up to the point I went into labour). I will never and can never feel that excitement of pregnancy again. I remember being pregnant with DD1 and feeling "special" at the fact that I was creating life. I felt completely elated at what my body was doing and so excited for what the future would bring. Of course she is here and she is well and we have that future I wanted but the 9 traumatic weeks in NICU affected me and changed my perspective. I didn't get to see my baby when she was born, I was separated from her for the first 36 hours, I didn't hold her for four days, I had to leave her every night for 9 weeks. That wasn't the magical future I had hoped for. And when she came home, when we should have been able to draw a line under it and start enjoying parenthood, that's when depression really hit and my mental health ruined that experience too. It ruined much of the first year. I worry it's ruined her.

I am happy for my friends but I'm so envious of the excitement they have. I know I'm not the only one to have had premature babies or pregnancy complications and I am one of the lucky ones to have not experienced the loss of a child. My girls are healthy and they are here and for that I am eternally grateful. But I am still affected by their journey's, especially DD1s (as she was much earlier, much sicker and in hospital for much longer) and I am still jealous when I see pregnant women. I don't want to feel this way but I don't know how not to.

dangermouseisace Sun 14-Aug-16 20:01:05

saw you were unanswered. Have you tried researching anyone who offers counselling for PND/birth trauma? I know where I used to live there was an organisation that offered counselling for free….It is commonly recognised that preterm birth greatly increases the risk of PND. You are not alone, and you haven't ruined your daughter- you have been unwell, as is expected of someone in your position.

Itscurtainsforyou Sun 14-Aug-16 20:18:42

I don't think you're that unusual in how you're thinking - pre-term birth, time in NICU/SCBU, all the tests/drugs/operations they may need (& even if they don't) - it's absolutely harrowing at times.

We spent 7 months in NICU after a very premature birth and I still relive it at times - it's definitely PTSD. I also feel very envious of pregnant women in their third trimester. Every time I find out a friend is pregnant I have all the milestones (particularly 24,28 weeks) in my head as if I'm willing them to make it past our birth point.

It sounds to be as if you're doing lots to try to deal with these feelings (you're more organised and actively managing your mental health than I think I am). I personally think that as time passes I will start to feel better as it is less fresh in my mind, I hope that you will find the same. I've also thought about contacting bliss to ask if they know of any counsellors or support groups for NICU survivors. I will let you know if they come up with anything.

Itsaplayonwords Mon 15-Aug-16 13:23:28

Thank you both for taking the time to respond. I did have some counselling after DD1 arranged through Bliss but I don't know how helpful it was. I don't think the counsellor was a particularly good match for me. The CBT does seem to be helping - I'm at lease finding it quite interesting as it's challenging my thought processes which I guess is the point and I seem to have connected well with the therapist which is good. I do think I could benefit from some one on one counselling though. It's unfortunate that being on maternity leave and having a new baby means there's less money currently available for such things! I may get in touch with PANDAS as I know they have an email support service.

Thank you again.

Itsaplayonwords Sat 20-Aug-16 12:30:05

I thought I'd come back to my thread as my friend has just had her baby and while I'm very excited for her I'm feeling very jealous again. She is on cloud 9, filled with utter love and adoration and complete euphoria - quite rightly so - and I just feel really sad for both me and my daughters that we didn't get that. My first thought with DD1 was "is she alive?" and that continued to be a relevant question for the next few weeks. I had the love and adoration, I still do, but the euphoria was lacking and while I had hope and excitement I also had fear, disappointment (in myself) and guilt. What was meant to be the happiest day of my life was the most traumatic and I feel really guilty for feeling that way because it was the day my daughter was born. I am thrilled for my friend, it's absolutely not about her, I wouldn't want it any other way for her. But it is a reminder that it was very different for me and that just makes me feel so sad.

Itscurtainsforyou Sat 20-Aug-16 13:47:19

I can understand that, we are coming up to 1st birthday and I keep thinking of where we were this time last year, all the emotions etc.

It's ok to feel like that flowers

Itsaplayonwords Sat 20-Aug-16 14:08:00

curtains I found it really difficult around the time of DD1s first birthday. Everything felt so familiar to that time and it brought it all back. It did get easier afterwards though, I felt I was able to move on somewhat (obviously not enough given how I'm now feeling!) For the most part it is behind me now but having DD2 also born premature only quite recently has brought it all back and other pregnancies/births always act as a reminder of what I wanted but didn't get.

It's nice to know that others feel the same but I'm sorry you're going through it too.x

LondonRoo Tue 23-Aug-16 07:47:57

It sounds to me like a lot of what you're feeling is grief for the birth you didn't have and the early days of parent-child bonding that were spent in the NICU with huge levels of anxiety. No wonder seeing other people experience this normal, joyful time is painful for you to see as instead of that period of joy in your life, you had a period of tremendous pain, anxiety and trauma.

Please don't judge yourself for having these feelings. I hope you can be kind and gentle with yourself.

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