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Self harm & pregnancy.(17 Posts)
Posting on behave of my cousin.
She’s 19, been with her partner since they were 14. She had a difficult childhood and suffered with her mental heath through ages of 13 till last year.
She doesn’t self harm anymore. But had some serious amount of scarring to her arms and thighs.
They are both happy to be pregnant, she has her first midwife appointment on Friday and is nervous she’ll “get in trouble” or be looked down upon once the midwife notices she used to self harm.
I don’t have answers as Iv never been in the same situation as her.
Any reassuring advice I can give her?
I don't have that much serious scarring but I definitely have noticeable scarring on my arm and stomach - we've been going through IVF and nobody has blinked an eye at it (including when they've had to see my stomach to do ultrasounds). It might be that the midwife refers her to the mental health team just in case but that may not be a bad thing (I'm planning to try and get referred if it works because I know my history makes me higher risk).
Congrats to her and her partner and I hope all the medical professionals she meets treat her with the compassion and kindness she deserves.
Thank you! I hope your IVF journey is a blessed one! I’m just trying to reassure her. It’s not a time I want her to feel ashamed of her body.
She should be fine, I was admitted to the same hospital (different unit) for treatment for my bulimia. The first midwife appointment was so nice, she did ask me if I felt I needed more support and if I did at any point, to let her know and she will ask the mental health specialist in her midwife team to advise. They won't judge, remember they deal with mums to be who are drug addicts, alcoholics, chronic smokers and don't even care and continue their ways throughout pregnancy! . So they definitely won't look down on someone who self harmed. They will offer support and maybe talk through some coping mechanisms they personally know of if she finds herself in a bad place. Good luck to her xx
My scarring is not really noticeable and mostly covered by clothing, but the MW did ask me about my mental health at the booking appt including current and previous MH history, treatments etc which included questions about previous history of SH and whether I had any thoughts of SH currently. I was pretty much recovered from depression by that time so it didn't apply anymore she just made a note of it all, she certainly didn't 'look down' on me or anything like that. She asked if I wanted to be referred to the perinatal mental health team and I said no as I didn't feel the need, the only mental health thing I still did struggle with and still do is anxiety - I have been referred to the perinatal mental health team for that after midwife suggested it when I was about 34 weeks pregnant as my anxiety had gotten really bad (I'm 39 weeks now). Midwife has been nothing but helpful and supportive when it comes to my mental health.
Thank you! Just these few messages have put a smile on her face!
I have quite obvious scarring on my arms and the midwife just asked how my mental health was during the pregnancy and I got the occasional comment by the HV when my baby was born. There was no judgement though & tbh they sounded like the kind of questions they probably asked everyone. Tell her not to worry & enjoy her pregnancy 🙂
I've had long-standing MH issues (resolved) also and went through a period of significant DSH. I have lots of scars on my arms and thighs also. It was never an issue during my antenatal care or during delivery. I'm currently 15 weeks pregnant with my third.
All they will do if offer her additional support and ask her how she is feeling now. I've suffered from mental health problems in the past, me and my midwife spoke about it openly and she's never brought it up since.
My friend who also suffers from an eating disorder and mental health issues has been very supported by the mental health team and her midwife, please don't worry.
You will not be judged enjoy your pregnancy ❤️❤️
I’m greatful for everyone sharing their journeys! She’s happy to know people have had kind experiences!
I'm getting mental health support in pregnancy but not for self harm. I chose to tell the midwife in my booking appointment about previous mh issues. Still, I've never felt looked down on, being 19 she's probably used to being treated like a child but I haven't found midwifes to be even patronising. I've been uncomfortable about referrals, but they do stress it's for support, for my benifit and I don't have to accept it. And congratulations.
I only have one noticeable scar, but if anybody has seen it then they haven’t mentioned it.
I was asked at booking whether I had self harmed and I said that yes, I had, but that I no longer felt like I needed to. MW made no further comment on it and I didn’t feel judged in any way.
Wishing your cousin a happy, healthy pregnancy
They are not judgey at all !
I have scars on my thighs from when I was younger and although they do ask at booking in they don't say much else . Usually they will refer you to a mental health consultant ( I saw only once as they are scars and not new ) who don't get personal or ask to see or anything like that and you kind of question why your there !! They ask if you feel you need support as during pregnancy your hormones are everywhere and depression in and after pregnancy are common
It will all be fine 💕🌺
I have very obvious scaring on both arms inside and out. One of the questions on the booking in appointment was about self harm but as everyone's said it's honestly to check if you need any support. You may get a midwife that goes a bit ott with letting you know about all the support that they can offer like I did with my first (felt judgy but I think she was just being nice) but other than that it was never mentioned again.
Thanks everyone! She is now not a nervous wreck to have suffered in the past. She was thinking the worse!
Late to this, but I have a lot of noticeable scars - on arms and upper thighs - and they were never mentioned by the midwives and I never felt judged or like I was being watched in case I was a risk (or whatever).
I can't actually remember my booking appointment in any detail, but they discussed mental health and I was honest (I have a previous history of bipolar disorder, self harm, overdose, etc.) and it didn't cause any issues.
Good luck to your cousin, I hope the appointment goes well.
I don't think she'll be looked down upon at all. She will be offered more help and support though, so the best thing she can do is be open and honest about it to take advantage of the support what's on offer. If she has suffered mental health issues in the past, she is more susceptible to pre/post natal depression so really encourage her to speak up her midwife.
Also warn her that questions about mental health are asked as common practise so she needn't be paranoid about them prying as a result of her scars. In my early pregnancy, I was asked all sorts and ante natal classes went into depth about domestic abuse.
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