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feeling utterly horrendous after health visit

(123 Posts)
iamwhaticallpregnant Tue 22-Jan-13 17:48:36

Today i was visited by a health visitor for first time. Im 37 wks. She was very very nice but she asked so many questions about past depression and the baby that I am left feeling shattered.
After a long chat i feel like
-my diet isnt good enough for the baby
-my house isnt warm enough/ready for the baby
-i am not ready or prepared for the baby

I couldnt answer Qs like what sort of parent do you think you'll be, what will it be like when you bring the baby home.

I havent been to any classes or read any books or surrounded myself with a support network - i have no support network. I feel that she thinks i am being abused by my partner and that i am isolated. I completely broke down because i am struggling with the loss of all of my friends since getting pregnant and moving away. My normal confident bubbly self was nowhere to be seen.

I am left feeling like a bad mother.

iamwhaticallpregnant Tue 22-Jan-13 18:40:35

Owllady - i dont think so. I was ok before she came other than usual ups and mostly downs of being this late in pregnancy and fed up of waiting.

OwlLady Tue 22-Jan-13 18:43:24

well, have confidence in yourself. Everything will be fine smile

ZolaBuddleia Tue 22-Jan-13 18:43:33

Yes, they do have to ask about DV. After DD was born my (lovely) HV kept asking about DP, I think it's par for the course that they include the whole family scenario. As it happens, he was coping very badly, but I suspect her initial questions would have been asked of everyone.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Tue 22-Jan-13 18:47:49

Certain areas have a really high dv rate & the health visitors are obliged to ask. they also have concerns if for instance, they never get to see the mother alone i. e. if always chaperoned by partner. They are obliged to ask - it's in all our interests that babies are kept safe. However, some of them do have a way of making you feel utterly crap. the first one to visit me on day 1 with ds1 came in, said "get that hat off him now" (hospital had told me to keep one on). She barged her way through the tasks and was horrible. Her bedside manner and customer service skills were zilch. The sad thing is, you feel like these people are out to get you, rather than help you and offer advice. If I were you, I would ask not to see her again. Thankfully for me, all the subsequent visits were done by several lovely hv. They did ask the same questions re. dv, asked to see where baby sleeps etc etc but they had a much better manner. Hopefully you too will get better ones. They do have a way of making you question yourself though or maybe thats just the hormones. Deffo go to their weigh in clinics & stay if you can. You will get a much better service and get to know a few good tips and maybe even. get to know some people. go to mother &
baby things - as mant as you can. I only went to the clinic and that became very obvious when my ds started school and lots of the kids and parents seemed to know each other and we knew noone.

wigglesrock Tue 22-Jan-13 18:50:55

Oh, I know what you mean I avoided any books that looked like they contained diagrams/pictures grin but a little bit of reading up might boost your confidence and belief in yourself. I only read one book before my first baby (Kaz Cookes), I liked it, or simply have a nosy around the Mumsnet pages. I wish I had known about MN when I had dd1 ( I knew feck all).

Ohhelpohnoitsa Tue 22-Jan-13 18:53:48

Sorry unclear - they had all been to the toddler group in our village, whereas we had only ever been to the weigh in clinic a few miles away.

Remember you are 37wks, hormonal & have obvious mixed feelings of excitement & trepidation of what is too come.

iamwhaticallpregnant Tue 22-Jan-13 19:02:49

Thank you all. I know 100% that the issues are mine and mine alone. I felt embarrassed not having the best answers to her Qs about being a mother as Im a perfectionist and always want to be perfect. By asking about my diet it made me think of how much junk food i have eaten in the last week and that made me feel guilty. The issues about my loss of friendships are raw and painful and I wanted her to see how happy our home is(which it is) but itcame across so badly.It felt a bit like a therapy session. Maybe she made me realise even more how clueless i am. Wish i didntcare what people thought abt me but i have always been stupidly sensitive.

iamwhaticallpregnant Tue 22-Jan-13 19:06:31

And it has been my only vent for a long time -apart from my partner - and i just let it all out and my anger and devastation came out about my friends and its hard to snap out of it once shes gone.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Tue 22-Jan-13 19:17:04

Oh poor you, you sound really shakey & miserable. Please don't worry about it toooo much (although I'm sure you will!). You don't need to be being abused to be lonely & miserable & unconfident, although of course having a not good relationship would make everything pretty awful. My point being, it's ok to feel like this & I'm not sure anyone should jump to a conclusion about why unless you want to tell them.

Sounds like you having a crisis of confidence - this doesn't mean you are being a bad mum.

Diet - at this stage, a bad diet is much more likely to effect you than the baby, the whole pregnancy thing is designed so that the baby takes what it needs from the mums body, so a bad diet will be depleting your reserves first. Can you afford to go get some pregnancy multivitamins? That would help. And if it's all a bit overwhelming try & eat one thing better a day, & see if you like it/ can stomach it. Every bit helps.

Heat - you said you doing something about that, so unless I'm missing something, nothing to worry about, you're already on it!

Info - some people like to prepare prepare prepare to feel confident about a new, big & potentially scary thing happening. Other people feel more comfortable taking it as things happen & relying on instinct/ innate skills. It's ok to be the second type of person you know, it's just a different way of dealing with things.

BUT some things are good to have a think about before hand to do with birth & just after, as it can be stressful making decisions in the moment & people firing questions at you! Do you know enough about the kinds of things you need to know for the birth? And about feeding etc? Some people make it totally over complicated (ahem, me for example!), but ther are a few important things it's good to have an opinion on. You can always ask mumsnetters questions you know!

And finally, the most important thing I think is that you've left your friends behind & it's making you feel sad & lonely. Would you like to make some new friends in your area? Are you feeling scared about it? Or a bit unsupported? It IS scary to be very pregnant & have moved & not have other people in the same situation. Internet, local groups, cafes... Lots of places to find other mums, again, we can also suggest lots of ideas, but I guess am just asking whether that would be helpful or not?

iamwhaticallpregnant Tue 22-Jan-13 21:05:35

Thanks doublelife - it is the loss of friends and isolation that is the issue. I have been on another site and got lots of responses from mums or mums to be in my area who want to meet and become friends but my loss of confidence and not feeling myself means i keep cancelling and just cant make that first step to meet. Being pregnant i dont feel in control or secure or confident like this - ive left it too long and now its too hard. I get nervous going out without my partner. SO RIDICULOUS AND NOT LIKE ME but keep thinking once i have my baby i'll feel ok again.

lurcherlover Tue 22-Jan-13 21:20:21

iam, if you're worried about your diet we could help? Perhaps tell us a bit about what you have eaten recently/what you think you could keep down, and we could suggest little ways to make it a bit healthier?

Re the groups - if you're planning on breastfeeding (or even just keeping an open mind about it at this stage), there will be support groups nearby you can go to with a bump as well as a baby - in my experience the other mums there are lovely and very supportive, and I made some great new friends at my local group. Your HV should know details of when/where groups meet, or you might be able to get the info from the hospital or the NCT.

iamwhaticallpregnant Tue 22-Jan-13 21:31:53

Thanks Lurcher. I have been really ill through these eight months and had heartburn from hell no matter what I tried to eat which would make me be sick. Two weeks ago i finally got some tablets from the doctors which means I can finally eat a whole evening meal. Because this has been so exciting and novel i have eaten anything I have wanted - and havent really thought about it. I have had my favourite take aways and crap food because i have lived on cereal and toast for 8 months. I didnt give it much thought till she asked and then felt guilty as hell. But i do understand what is healthy i was just so excited to be able to eat.

iamwhaticallpregnant Tue 22-Jan-13 21:34:20

She said she was going to look into breast feeding groups and NCT groups etc for me and would be in contact. She really was nice - i just felt so terrible when she left and so clueless about it all. I couldnt answer any of her questions abt being a mother.

florry88 Tue 22-Jan-13 21:36:02

havnt read through all the replies but i wasnt to give you a hug. Pregnancy is hard enough without some idiot health viz asking daft questions. Ignore her and ignore the questions.

ignore, ignore , ignore xx

lurcherlover Tue 22-Jan-13 21:38:22

When I was pregnant with ds we moved house, and our new house didn't have a working cooker and we couldn't afford one for ages - so for basically my whole third trimester I ate anything that could be cooked in the microwave or came from a takeaway (this was before MN had opened my eyes to the magic world of the slow cooker!) I did feel guilty, but did my best by eating lots of fruit (and as much veg cooked in the microwave as I could) and drinking milk, eating yoghurts etc. DS came out weighing 8lb 14oz, perfectly healthy, and at two years old now my crappy restricted diet for those weeks seems to have done him no harm at all. I also didn't eat brilliantly whilst I was breastfeeding either but everyone on MN told me diet makes no difference to the quality of milk (they're wise souls on here) so I relaxed and stopped worrying. Your baby will be fine as nature makes them efficient parasites, so he/she is getting what's needed - your body might be suffering a bit, but start eating some fruit and taking a multivitamin and you'll be well on the way to getting back on board with it.

And welcome to parenthood - the guilt never leaves you, it just transfers onto another issue... we all feel it though!

queenofthepirates Tue 22-Jan-13 21:42:28

Hi OP,

It's okay if the HV is a little worried about you, let them help you if they think you might need a bit of a hand. It sounds as though she might have picked up on some of your anxieties and perhaps she can hold your hand a bit.

I'm a single mum and I remember my mum was affronted that the HV asked some questions she thought were a bit out of order. I just gently explained that it was natural she might wonder if I needed more help. Not unsurprisingly I did need a bit of extra TLC and she gave it to me. Job done.

Go gently on yourself and I'd suggest not ignoring everything she says.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 22-Jan-13 21:53:46

If it makes you feel any better I didn't go to any classes and had a terrible diet because I was so sick and faint, I also didn't read any books. Have 2 lovely DC so its not everything. If you do think you might want a book for when Lo arrives have a look at the baby book. No strict routines, just good, evidence based info.

Sone of te groups she suggested might be a good idea, although I know it can be daunting. All of my friends were at work when I was on mat leave and the local groups saved my sanity. You don't have to wait for Lo to arrive either.

Sorry she made you feel so bad. Some HVs are just a bit nuts though. My friend was told by her HV that her house was too small. Not really sure what the HV expected her to do grin

wanderingalbatross Tue 22-Jan-13 22:03:27

When I was pg with DD, I found myself feeling really unconfident and unsociable, and I was in a similar situation to you in having moved away from friends and didn't really have anyone close by. In my case, it was definitely the pregnancy hormones that made me feel like that, and I was much better after DD was born. I have met a bunch of new friends now, some through antenatal classes and some through local groups. Just wanted to say that you're not alone in feeling similar during pregnancy smile I think those hormones have a lot to answer for!

Also, don't think I could answer questions about parenting before DD arrived! She's 18mo now and I still don't know what kind of parent I want to be.

It sounds like you're just in a rough patch at the moment through no fault of your own (tough pregnancy, moved away from friends etc.) and the HV was just trying to see how she could help?

BouncyPenguin Tue 22-Jan-13 22:26:08

I understand how health professionals can make you feel when your pregnant/just given birth. Its good to remember that they have a tick lists and targets. Some give lots of advice and some give very little. Some of them are helpful and some are not. Take it all with a pinch of salt.They don't know you.

Don't worry about not having read books. You don't need to read a book or make any plans for the birth. The birth will just happen one way or another regardless of anything else and you will have very little control over how it happens. Ring the hospital when you think you're in labour and they will lead you as to when to go in. When you're in hospital the midwife will lead you through it there and then. Once the baby arrives there will be plenty of time of time to go to baby groups and make friends when you feel ready. Your main priorities after the birth will be recovering, feeding the baby and trying to get some sleep in between, nothing else will matter.

iamwhaticallpregnant Wed 23-Jan-13 09:29:52

woken up this morning and to be honest I just dont feel I can cope. I cant be a mother - im not in any way prepared. I dont know what type of mum i will be. im not ready to be a mum. i dont know how to look after a baby at all. She asked me how i would bond with the baby and i didnt know. the baby deserves a better mum than me.

ZolaBuddleia Wed 23-Jan-13 09:39:05

Try not to worry too much, you'll be very hormonal and it's hard to think straight. A friend of mine had antenatal depression and was saying lots of the same things you are. How about speaking to your GP if you feel you don't have a good relationship with the HV?

Nobody can answer how they will bond with the baby. I didn't bond with mine until about 4 to 6 weeks, and I'm besotted. And during that 'non bonded' time I wasn't any less of a mother, please don't worry that you'll fail your child.

ZolaBuddleia Wed 23-Jan-13 09:41:37

And people have given birth and been great mothers for years without reading books beforehand!

Flisspaps Wed 23-Jan-13 10:02:02

I don't think anyone knows what kind of mum they'll be before the baby is born. Some women think they'll be like Mary Poppins and end up like Cruella de Ville. Some women think they'll be bloody terrible and in fact are amazing. Most of us just sort of muddle through.

I remember with DD thinking that I don't feel ready to be a mum. She's nearly 3. DH and I still can't believe that they've let us bring her up unsupervised (and now DS, 9mo) - I can't look after a sodding houseplant, but I appear to be doing OK with the children.

As for bonding with the baby - well that's different for everyone. I don't think there's any way of knowing how you'll bond with the baby before it's actually here.

Personally, I think the questions you were asked were pretty poor. They're unanswerable without a crystal ball! The fact that you are worrying shows that you care about being a good mum, and I think that's all you need to know.

I'd think about going to groups though, and I am NOT a group kind of person at all!

curryeater Wed 23-Jan-13 10:16:19

Huge hugs to you, iamwhaticallpregnant.

You are in a very fragile place emotionally - I think the HV should have spoken to you with more care. I sympathise because my HV really upset me when she visited when the baby was tiny, she went on and on about potential disasters to the extent I almost asked her to take the baby away* as I felt that the clear implication was that I was almost certainly going to do something wrong with catastrophic results. When she left after HOURS of going on and on about [will not say, as it is pointlessly upsetting] I just collapsed and cried. (The next day with a clearer head, I phoned her supervisor and said she was a menace to new mothers at risk of pnd)

Just to reassure you on a few points: firstly, it doesn't matter what you eat, and well done on getting the heartburn sorted and having a few good meals. Have some more. Enjoy them, and keep your strength up.
Secondly, you will be a great mother. Tiny new babies need very very little, and nothing very complicated. It can be hard because it is full on, but you will know what to do and you will do it. The baby will need to feed, will need to be kept warm and clean, and will need to be cuddled and sung to. That is it. Later the baby will grow into needing more things, and you will learn to do them, but right now, that is all, and you are ready. You are ready, I promise you. "Bonding" comes out of all that. There is no separate artificial thing of "bonding". Bonding happens because you will spend an incredible amount of time with your baby giving him or her everything (s)he needs, and you will love each other, and that is all.

*not really, but it almost felt that she was hoping I would!

iamwhaticallpregnant Wed 23-Jan-13 10:38:44

Thank you - I just cant stop crying and feel so hopeless. I feel guilty for not reading things or joining groups or not trying harder to get out and socialise. i feel guilty that i don't have a birth plan or a clear set out mission plan of what type of parents we will be. I can't talk to my partner anymore about all of this because all he has had for ages is me crying and I think he is at the end of his rope. I don't want to go to my GP - i couldn't stand talking about this again to another stranger. It just makes me feel worse about myself. What I really really want is to go to sleep and someone to wake me up when the baby is ready to come out.

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