Waiting for antenatal test results
Antenatal testing is rough at the best of times, and when you are being tested for potentially very serious conditions, the stress can be even worse. Feeling scared and anxious is very normal.
"Some of the antenatal tests were emotionally very draining. I'd recommend taking with you a trashy novel, sweets, drinks and someone else if at all possible." mrsdarcy
Take a friend (or your partner) with you if you can – try to avoid having tests done on your own. As well as being there for emotional support, a friend can be another person to listen to the medical staff when you might be too anxious to properly take things in. You may need to spend long periods waiting – so take a distraction if you can, such as a book.
"The tests are a double-edged sword. It is good to know if there is anything potentially wrong, which can be detected before the baby is born and then once baby is born the medics are prepared. But on the other hand, it can make you anxious for no reason." marytheresa
The hardest part of all the testing is the wait for the results: "The wait is awful and it's the only thing you can think of." There isn't much you can do to alleviate the agony of days of waiting, but be reassured that it is normal to feel stressed and worried.
"While you are waiting for results: keep yourself busy, try not to read too much on the internet as you'll just get confused and not know what to think. This is what I have done, and it has helped." marytheresa
If messages from your medical team and confusing or vague, don't be afraid to ask for clarification – again and again if necessary.
You can ask for further opinions or take along a friend as an advocate if you feel it would help. Your baby can't ask questions or demand attention for himself (not yet!) and being an advocate for your baby is an important part of learning to be a parent.
"If you are unsure, get all the opinions and further tests you need. Demand to speak to someone more qualified and take back up - partner, mum or best friend." Designerbaby
"Oh, my other bit of advice is STAY AWAY FROM SCARY WEBSITES!" mrsdarcy
How to get emotional support
Getting support for the "emotional rollercoaster" of a special needs pregnancy is important. It's common to feel all sorts of emotions – and to feel guilty for having negative thoughts and feelings.
Many mums say they didn't want to bond with their baby because they were scared of the future - "I don't want to get too excited about this pregnancy just in case we lose her," as one mum put it.
There may be specialised counselling services that you can talk to – ask your consultant or midwife for information about what is available in your area.
"I would strongly recommend enquiring about counselling to help you get through the rest of the pregnancy. It made a huge difference to me as I am able, to an extent, to 'park' my worries in the knowledge that I could sob my heart out once a week with the counsellor." mrsdarcy
There are also charities and support organisations that can give you information and emotional support while you are undergoing the barrage of tests.
"ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices) are a mine of information and support, both while testing is going on and then afterwards - whatever your choice - they will be there for you. There is a support line and also a message board for parents who register." linspins
And, of course, there is Mumsnet Talk, where you can get empathy and advice from other parents who are in the same situation as you, or have been through it already.