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Pregnant and feeling really sad, remembering abuse

(10 Posts)
Snowdonia1 Mon 20-Jul-20 19:46:35

I'm currently pregnant with my first child, due date is the end of July.
This should be the happiest time of my life, as I really want this child, but it's not, I'm miserable.
About ten years ago I was in a serious abusive relationship ( physically and emotionally abusive) . I really allowed myself to be humiliated in this relationship and it really messed with my mental health.
I eventually left, but I didn't leave when I should have.

Over the years I was able to push the memories to the back of my mind by being busy ( University and working, everyday daily stress).

Work has been quite stressful over the last couple of years and I honestly thought if I had some downtime I would feel better and more relaxed.

Now that I've been on furlough for a couple of months and will start maternity leave soon all the negative memories from the past are resurfacing. I can remember things that I thought I had forgotten.

I think it's because keeping busy with work has given my life structure. What I once thought as tedious meetings with my boss, annoying colleagues, getting up early in the morning when I didn't want to was actually important for my mental health without me realising it. Now I have plenty of time to think everyday and it's not good.

I cry almost every day now and I feel so, so ashamed for allowing myself to be in an abusive relationship, where I was so humiliated and treated badly. I realise now that at the end of the day I could have walked away easily after the first instance of abuse , my life would have turned out differently and I would feel better now. I really want to go back in time and shake some sense in the girl from 10 years ago.

I feel very vulnerable. Thank God the baby is developing fine and seems very healthy so far. Everytime I cry I feel bad because I think I'm passing on stress hormones to the baby.

Me and my partner chose not to find out the gender of the baby, to keep it a surprise. Secretly I want the baby to be a boy. I'm terrified of the baby being a girl, because I'm scared she will be abused at some point in her life by a man and that I won't be able to protect her.

My partner notices it when I cry and he consoles me and is supportive, but I haven't told him the real reason why. He thinks it's because of pregnancy hormones.
I don't want to tell him it's because I've been in an abusive relationship, I think this would make me more vulnerable. I'm very cautious of opening this black box that once was my life, as I think it could "contaminate" the good things I have in my life right now and that I had to fight so hard for.

I'm so blessed to be able to become a mother, I realise that and sometimes I am not sure if I deserve this blessing.
It's not the child's fault that I have this past and I know the child deserves to have a mother who is present, loving and not constantly weeping. I don't even know how a broken person like myself can successfully parent a child.

It's weird that memories from the past keep on resurfacing now at a time where I should finally be happy and relaxed. All of a sudden I can remember things which I haven't thought about since they happened.

Do you have any advice on how I can overcome these negative feelings and how I can feel better?

I resent having so much free time now, it's easier to keep busy as it will help you to think less.

OP’s posts: |
Babynumber2dueNov Mon 20-Jul-20 20:32:48

I don’t really have any advice but just wanted to say none of this is your fault. I’ve found myself looking at the last and who I was during bad relationships through lockdown (even though I’m on MAT leave myself!). It’s been a really intense time and I think you’re being too hard on yourself. You did leave. When you could. Abusive relationships ruin you and make you change every choice you would normally make. You did what you could back then and the fact you’re in a happy relationship now shows how far you’ve come. It was HIS fault, not yours.

Something I’ve found that has worked for me during difficult times is some simple mindfulness. Try the Headspace app and see if that works for you. Also, if you don’t feel ready to open up to your partner speak to your GP and look to have some telephone counselling. It can work wonders.

Lastly, being pregnant really messes with your mind, makes you look back on things and feel things so strongly. In a couple of months your hormones will change and you’ll feel different.

Little first time mum tip for you to stop your mind running away during night feeds, download tv apps on your phone and decide on a few easy going tv shows to watch during the night feeds. Helped me no end when I was getting anxiety xxx

Timeforchange30 Mon 20-Jul-20 20:38:21

Hi OP sorry you are feeling like this. First let me say you absolutely do deserve to have a child and I am sure you will be a lovely mum.

I can relate to your situation. I too have memories of a past relationship which resurface. This happened when I was pregnant, and Nagano recently (I think due to losing all my coping mechanisms - keeping myself busy etc).
Have you thought about counselling? You will be fast-tracked for support if pregnant. I have recently started counselling and although it’s painful I feel a bit relieved I have started this process and could soon be free of it.
Consider opening up to your dp, he sounds very caring and supportive. It’s a lot for you to deal with alone, and always remember it wasn’t your fault flowers

Timeforchange30 Mon 20-Jul-20 20:39:52

again recently *

Songsofexperience Mon 20-Jul-20 22:04:08

Hi OP, all I can say is I know how you feel. I've been going through a very difficult phase since March partly because lockdown and redundancy brought back all sorts of issues past and present to the fore. I realised I'd used my busy career to plaster over them. Once lockdown started and I came down with pneumonia (and other covid symptoms), I found there was nowhere to hide. It's tough, but I've decided to see it as the opportunity to finally face everything down. Good luck to you, I really hope you get through this and emerge a stronger more confident you. It's wonderful that you have a supportive partner.

Songsofexperience Mon 20-Jul-20 22:07:24

If it feels like you're walking through fire right now, also remember it will be your child's birth and your own rebirth as well.

GilbertMarkham Mon 20-Jul-20 22:25:40

Part of this could be hormones, it could even be antenatal depression.

It's so wonderful that you're now with a good partner and are having a family. You are one of the lucky ones. The unlucky ones are still stuck or in the most extreme cases had their lives ended by their abusers.

Abuse is very common, abusers are very common, I think I'd struggle to find many women who haven't been in a, to some extent, abusive relationship (and I know s couple of men who gave been too). That's not asking people, just them talking about it themselves. So that's the open people (or the ones I know well), is imagine there are man many more who weren't as open or I haven't known as well.

You are not exceptional, either in finding yourself in an abusive relationship or in staying in it for too long, so stop beating yourself up about it!
It happens all the time, and people find it very hard to get out of all the time it takes something like seven repeated attempts for for a woman in an abusive relationship to leave (and stay left). There are so many factors that keep people there. One of the biggest is that an abuser's modus operandi is not only to abuse, bit to convince himself and his partner that she is at fault,.that she causes it, that he can't help it; it is brain washing, conditioning etc on a cult like level. Personally I think it's utterly despicable how abusers use your feelings, your attachment, your investment, your hopes etc to make you stay. Because by the time they start you're invested, and it's such a process to walk away from that investment and realise it's worth nothing. You also feel like a failure for a relationship not working out, even though it's not your fault, let alone it being abusive.

The bottom line is that abusers abuse, and noone - absolutely noone deserves it or causes it - so the fault, the wrong, the shame ... As all on him. No-one but him. He'll probably never feel it because, if he was mentally normal, he wouldn't be abusive in the first place. And it doesn't matter.

You got away, you're with a good partner, you're having a family, you won.

Don't let him taint anything for you. Abusers are, inside, pathetic individuals. Hey have to try to control and demean others in order to feel good - do you need to do that, I'm guessing no.

Have you had ant counselling?

GilbertMarkham Mon 20-Jul-20 22:28:15

*Any
(Though counselling with a giant ant would be interesting)

Dragongirl10 Mon 20-Jul-20 22:38:05

OP can l gently suggest when you feel low go and lay on your bed, and take some deep breaths and just let whatever feelings come up come, if tears flow thats ok.

Just keep breathing slowly and accept the feelings with compassion for the good ,kind, decent person ie you, who was hurt, and treated badly.

Tell yourself you didn't deserve it and you will feel then let go of this hurt, breath through it and let it go.

Do it as often as you need to, but always end with the thought, the future is good.

See the process as a kindness to yourself, an acceptance that although you had a horrible time you were not to blame and the future will be brighter.You will teach your DD,if it is a girl, to value herself, to love herself and most importantly to recognise abusive behavior.

It is like a grief that you have not allowed yourself to feel , always keeping busy, but you don't want to go on struggling with these feelings so now, this time waiting for your baby is as good as any to be really kind to yourself.

Treat yourself like a loved friend, nurture yourself and forgive yourself.

You will be fine and be a great mum. Have faith.

Aknifewith16blades Mon 20-Jul-20 23:12:57

Op, have you done any reading about how confusing trauma is? You did such an amazing thing to leave and move on and build a wonderful life for yourself. The trauma and confusion is what makes it hard to see and hard to leave.

There are counsellors out there who work with women who've experienced abusive relationships. You might find it helps to talk to someone who really understands.

The abuse belongs to your ex-partner; you have nothing to blame yourself for.

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