So it looks like I have been living a lie. Not because I chose to but because I believed the reality was different.
When I first became pregnant with Emma I experienced a LOT of mood changes. Normal, right? Weeeell, so everybody told me so I chose to believe my hormones were dictating my behaviour and were responsible for me becoming a witch almost overnight. A big, bad witch, as Emma would have described me if she had met me back then.
Then, I had Emma and….baby reflux on my hands. So I went from big, bad witch to a wreck of tears, raw emotions and dysfunctionality. In the sense that I couldn’t cope with being up 24/7, coping with a hysterical baby and all the other household responsibilities and had to call my mum to the rescue. Normal, right? Weeeell, so did all my away-from-home friends told me, over a cosy cup of tea, with their mums/sisters/mothers-in-law semi-permanently installed in their homes.
But then, time passed and the symptoms didn’t lift. I blamed it on my hypothyroid (and none of the doctors I saw actually contradicted me). I blamed it on my mum NOT being able to move in with us for long stretches of time, like my friends’ mums dully did.
Then I got pregnant again. I actually knew it before the blue line on the pregnancy test told me so. I thought, okay, thyroid out of control: check. Mood swings: check. Extreme tiredness: check. Oh, goody, I am pregnant again!
Yesterday we did a marathon series of doctor visits that changed my reality. The first doctor we saw, an expert endocrinologist diagnosed me with Hashimoto auto-immune disease but pronounced the condition mild and reversible. He also said something that tilted by world slightly: my mood swings couldn’t be blamed on my thyroid levels because actually they were fairly stable.
The second doctor we saw, a psychiatrist, put my world right again. Sort of. She spoke of things that I hadn’t heard before like antenatal depression. In retrospect, she diagnosed me with post-natal depression after I had Emma and recommended a follow-up with my G.P. in Ireland, to keep my antenatal depression under control
I was left feeling numb with all these revelations. The things I held responsible for my lack of joy, tiredness and crabbiness were actually not thyroid-related but a moderate pregnancy-related depression no-one diagnosed and that didn’t get treated. It could have saved me so much pain and anguish, had it been diagnosed correctly.
On a positive note, now I know the TRUTH. The good news is that at the moment I am considered functional so I don’t require medication. I will need to find a doctor who knows his/her stuff back in Ireland and who will be able to keep an eye on me and any possible changes.
I am a bundle of emotions regarding this diagnosis. I fight the stigma mental conditions receive. I am angry with all the health visitors and midwives that visited me after I had Emma and told me “it was all normal.” I am ashamed and feel a lot of guilt I put my family through so much. I am scared I will never feel “normal” again, that I will not be able to enjoy my second baby either. I am relieved that at least now I know what I am fighting against.
I would appreciate your comments, especially if you have been through something similar. I also need to find a support group that will keep me sane during the next few months. If you know of any,let me know.