It is estimated that around 10 in a 100 women suffer from Postnatal Depression (PND) within a couple of months of giving birth, but what about women that are affected by low mood 'pre'-natally?
The symptoms - which include anxiety, panic attacks, disturbed sleep, never-ending tearfulness, feelings of guilt of being a 'bad mother' - can start at any time during pregnancy, as I have found out to my dismay.
It doesn't help that I've been affected by depression most of my adult life, but the feelings now, half way through my pregnancy are at times utterly overwhelming. And I can't take anti-depressant medication for fear of harming the baby growing inside of me.
One of my ex-partner's fatal digs at me prior to abandoning us was that I would 'without doubt' have a depressed baby and that it would be my 'fault,' really doesn't help in the swirl of feelings and emotions I can't get out of my head.
Being pregnant and alone, I sometimes feel defiantly proud and independent – I CAN do this on my own - but bubbling underneath I feel a burden of shame and rejection and guilt that I won't be able to provide a conventional 'family' for my child because of my failure(s).
Without any fuss, I'm referred automatically by my midwife to a team of perinatal psychologists. These lovely people – working with the local health trust – who I have met with sporadically after routine antenatal check-ups will attempt to look after me with talking therapies both now and after my daughter is born. This in a small way is good. I feel like progress is happening.
Sometimes it's good to talk (and cry) in company, rather than storing things up until the future looks so bleak and unmanageable. Support, I now learn, is something never to be underestimated. For the first time I semi believe that things may one day not be quite so overwhelming.
Have you ever experienced a pregnancy alone?
What is your advice for coping?
Who do you talk to?
Who feels your tummy when the baby kicks?