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Death & Depression effects baby?

(14 Posts)
startingagainafter14years Fri 26-Aug-11 19:25:05

Hi all.

So far this year I have lost both my parents and moved across the ocean with my husband and toddler away from what's left of my family and friends. I have been quite sad. I haven't laughed for ages and I cry regularly which I know is all down to my grief and frustration as I pretty much kept it all inside to be strong for my sister. I feel like a damn that has held back too much water and is slowly showing cracks....
I have now found out I am pregnant (which we've been trying for and am happy about) but I'm very worried that my emotional state right now will influence my unborn child.

Has anyone heard if this is possible...? Or has it happened to you?
I'm not really into the idea of therapy.


MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 26-Aug-11 19:43:42

Hi Starting again,

I am so sorry to hear about your losses. It sounds like you have had an awfull time. sad

I can't answer this from personal experince, but from that of my best friend.

She fell pg at the start of a relationship and wasn't sure it would work but decided she could not have an abortion.

Her and her partner decided to give it a go but is was rocky. Then he was sadly killed in a motorbike accident when she was four months pg. At the same time other stuff blew up and she lost her home and job and had to move across the country. She came to stay with us while she got herself on her feet and moved in to her own place a couple of months before her ds DS arrived.

Postnataly she had an understandably hard time. She has no family locally but her mother came to stay and was worse than useless. She was diagnosed with PND which really annoyed her as she felt like she was not being allowed to just grieve. She had problems bonding with her DS.

I was not as able to help as much as I would have liked as my ds arrived two weeks after hers so I had my hands full there too.

So like you she had a really rough time with lots of unhappiness while her lo was in utero. She was constantly in tears and did not know how she would ever cope again.

The good news is that her ds is now a really happy healthy 18mo. Babies are resilient little things. And luckily quite oblivious to most of what goes on around them! People do have lo's in the most dire of circumstances and all is ok.

She is also doing well and looking at the possibility of starting work again etc. She has made lots of new friends where she is now. They are a really close and loving pair.

One thing she found really usefull was a young widows support group. Not therapy but people who have been through similar things just getting together for cake.

Are you managing to get out and about where you are now and put down roots a bit? It can take a while to make new friends in a new place and I really feel for you. Does your DH understand what you are going through?

startingagainafter14years Fri 26-Aug-11 22:48:36

Hi moonface,

Thanks for your message.

My DH has been loving and caring as he always is but I am not sharing my feelings with him.
I know he feels bad about moving us out here (we had to move as job and money oportunities were here) so id rather not put extra strain on him. He works so hard to give me anything I need, he's wonderful.

I have just signed up to Habitat for Humanity to get out of the house and use my time constructively but it's all men at the moment so not much chance of making a friend there. I'm also just not very good a making friends right now. I just haven't got that smile or bounce. I think I'm just coming over distant and serious.

Your message has given me hope though. As long as my baby is fine, I will be too.

Thanks moonface

Anna1976 Sat 27-Aug-11 04:18:34

Hi there - i am sorry to hear you've been through such a tough time. I don't know if this would be useful, but if you think it might be, give me a way of contacting you outside mumsnet and I'll do so.

I think that it is great you recognise that things are hard at the moment, and that there is grief and frustration and crying to be done. I think that if you keep the constructive outlook going, your emotional state really won't affect your baby/toddler/child - what would affect a child is an obviously unhappy parent who refuses to recognise or deal with the problem.

I was born under similar circumstances to your baby's (my Mum lost her ill Dad just after I was born traumatically and prematurely, her mother was very ill, my Dad didn't support her any way except financially, my sister was a toddler, they lived away from where she had grown up, friends melted away as she spent more and more time caring for her mother/being depressed/looking after me and my sister, etc.). The big difference between you and my Mum is that my Mum belonged to a culture/generation where unhappiness was not something you recognised or dealt with; also where women didn't get supported emotionally at all. Less-than-robust mental states were so stigmatised that my parents still think it's better to call someone nasty and twisted than to admit the person is mentally ill; depression or even simply grief are not things they admit exist. Unsurprisingly my Mum got PND that lasted about the first 25 years of my life, which was a very unhappy but completely unadmitted and undiscussed time for all concerned - so I have spent most of my life thinking about this kind of thing and how it could be handled better. I have also been through a few traumatic things in my adult life, which have taken a long time to recover from, so I understand the feeling like a dam and appearing distant and serious.

People have different coping mechanisms - you should do what works for you. Counselling can help some people and irritate others. I would venture to suggest that doing things like joining Habitat for Humanity is a great idea and that it doesn't matter at all if you're distant and serious if that's actually how you feel. Your husband may well be able to see how you feel - I don't know if it would help to talk to him, but perhaps it might help to make things as clear as possible between you both. Even if you don't spend a lot of time talking - he might want to support you and be allowed to show he understands (kind of), and it may help you feel a bit less like you're having to squeeze shut the floodgates.

Is there anything you can do that makes you feel relatively calm inside - something like walking through the botanic gardens with your toddler alseep, watching the birds, looking at the plants? Calmness is a good step along the road to happiness.

Ivortheengine8 Sat 27-Aug-11 04:19:24

Hi starting, I am sorry you are having a rough time. Where abouts are you now?
I am not in the same position as you but I am feeling quite low this pregancy because of different things. My DH also keeps on about moving abroad for his work and that makes me feel really unsettled (my father is also very ill and has been given a year to live with fibrosis of lungs), although I find where we live at the moment pretty depressing anyway. I don't have any friends here either where we live and I feel really lonely as DH is at work all the time. We have one dd already. Its late now in the night and I havent been sleeping well for a long time.

As regards to the baby I agree with moonface, although I still take antidepressants and did with dd too it hasnt affected her at all, she is now 22 months,very confident and out going and generally a very happy little girl.
I hope the next one will be the same (due in Oct). I think you will be happier once your dc is here and it gives you more of a sense of purpose. I found also that people speak to you more if you have children and you don't feel quite so lonely when you go out. I really think things will get better for you. I think pregnancy is challenging in itself, and everyone copes differently.
I'm not sure if it's your first but when I was pregnant with dd I felt very alone because I gave work up quite early too.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sat 27-Aug-11 04:32:09

i can understand what you mean about making friends. In the early days hv's etc went on at my friend about getting out to baby groups etc. These were really unhelpfull for her as she felt she wasn't like the other mums (ie struggling...though no doubt many were in their own way) and so made her feel worse. Eventually she found the right group of people to offer her support, though this took trial and error. From that she felt better and so went on to meet lots of different people in different ways. I suppose what i'm saying is she took her time, but was still pro active iyswim.

Anyway, i really wish you all the best. Be kind to yourself. smile

Thumbwitch Sat 27-Aug-11 05:05:56

I lost my Mum quite suddenly when I was 19w pg - she had been in hospital for 4w but it was only in the last 8 days of her life that we were told she was terminal and had at most, weeks to live. We had got married 2w into her hospital stay (and therefore 2w before she died) - she wasn't at the wedding but we visited her in hospital in full regalia to make her a part of the day.

In general, the foetus is pretty well protected from your stress hormones but whatever you do, do NOT take liquorice of any kind while pregnant, as it breaks down the protective barrier between you and your baby and allows the stress hormones direct access to your baby.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and I hope that it gives you some joy within you. Don't worry if it doesn't though - I really didn't enjoy being pregnant at all but am very happy with DS.

Ivortheengine8 Sat 27-Aug-11 11:26:35

Sorry to hear that thumbwitch..
Is that really true about liquorice, I had a whole big packet of it the other day all at once sad

LoveBeingAtHomeOnMyOwn Sat 27-Aug-11 11:35:14

I'm so sorry about your parents.

My dad passed away in nov and I had a mc 5 days later, I did however get pg again straight away without a period inbetween. I am now 38+2 with my first son.

I won't lie, I've not found it easy with it all happening so soon and close, I haven't enjoyed being of like I did with dd. I am still very down but am hoping that once he is here sone of the fog will clear and pg hormones have lifted I will start to move on.

You do need to talk. I know it's hard. I struggle with it and only recently told dh how I was feeling. But I did feel a bit better once I had.

Thumbwitch Sat 27-Aug-11 11:44:22

Ivor, yes, I read it quite recently when someone was asking about taking it in pg for constipation. I'll see if I can find the research link for you.

here it is - the glycyrrhizin in liquorice inibits/blocks the compound that acts as the maternal-foetal barrier to cortisol, thus allowing higher levels of cortisol in the mother to affect the foetus more than normal. This can affect the "stress response" of the foetus, making them more pre-disposed to adverse effects of stress (that's how I read it, anyway).

So sorry for everyone on this thread who has lost someone - LoveBeing, that must have been devastating for you sad

Ivortheengine8 Sat 27-Aug-11 19:15:36

Ok, no more liquorice for me until baby is born! Thanks for the tip!

phlossie Sat 27-Aug-11 20:02:14

I lost a close aunt recently and in horrible circumstances, and have been close to her daughters while they're grieving. The thing I'd say is talk, talk, talk - get it all out now. See a bereavement counsellor and talk to your DH. Forget being strong for other people - you need to start to come to terms with your loss which could help protect you from PND after your baby arrives.

Yama Sat 27-Aug-11 20:13:50

I lost my wee brother when I was pregnant with ds (dc2). He and I were like twins. I will never really get over his death.

The one good thing about being pregnant when he died was that I couldn't drink.

Anyway, ds is one of the happiest, smiliest boys I have ever met. He loves to laugh and seems to know that just a look can crack me up.

Obviously, we can never know what factors influence the well being of our children but I don't think all the tears I shed had a negative effect on my little boy.

Yama Sat 27-Aug-11 20:16:59

Oh, and Statingagainafter14years - I'm not sad all the time. I try to love life the way my brother did. He kind of inspired me to enjoy the day to day stuff. I don't want to waste life or resent it. Don't know if that makes sense.

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