After waking up at 5 again, and crying until around 6.45 when I woke my fella up I decided that I would call the midwife and find out if it's normal to feel so down before the baby arrives.
I called the number that was in my medical folder and was really impressed and comforted by the service I received (thank you St Peter's Hospital Maternity Unit).
The woman who answered the phone was unable to help me but put me through to the labour ward. The nurse in the labour ward listened to my concerns and told me that she would get a community midwife to call me back. Within 20 minutes I had a call from midwife called Zarah who spent 27 minutes trying to help me make sense of my feelings.
The upshot of all of this was:
- She didn't think it was hormonal. Apparently, there's no reason for my hormones to change dramatically at this point in the pregnancy.
- She didn't think I should be working. My job, managing a team of writers, is stressful. Zarah told me that lots of women who choose to work right up until the last minute are not doing enough to prepare their minds or bodies for the physical and psychological traumas that lie ahead.
- She thought I was subconsciously fearful of the labour (I disagree about this one).
- She was concerned that I had no friends or family living nearby and told me to make the most of any clubs or classes that I could attend for local support.
- She told me to inform the doctor of how I was feeling, as people who are prone to depression or PMT (like me) are also prone to post natal depression. By talking to the doctors and midwives about it now, they can keep tabs on me once the baby is born.
I felt a lot better after talking to the midwife, but it hasn't helped me decide whether to leave work earlier than planned. I know my baby and me are more important than money, but by finishing work a week or two early I will lose between £500 and £1000 - that's not just money, that's the promise of some care-free times ahead ... just me and the bambino and a couple of bucks to get out and about in the big wide world.
I do think that work has a lot to do with it. But my strategy for the next two weeks is to slow things down. I have already outsourced some of my work to freelancers (I don't know why I didn't do that sooner) and I am handing the rest over to my maternity cover, Amanda, sooner rather than later.
It's a tricky, tricky position to be in. I didn't realise that the 'juggling' of mommyhood and work would happen before the baby was born.
I guess that's a sign of the times. And I can't complain. I have a wonderfully healthy son almost ready to be born, a good job, a lovely parner and a warm home. I have more than most - I know this. I just wish the cloud would lift.
Actually, a really good analogy of how I feel is this:
I lived in sunny South Africa for four years (1996 to 2000) and loved it beyond words. To me it was home. I felt at peace living there (ironic I know). At least twice a year I would come back to the UK to visit my friends and family and each time it was the same ... I would fly out of Johannesburg on a bright, sunny, warm day with wide open blue skies and a sense of belonging ... and 11 hours later I would fly into London; miserable, dreary, drizzly London with it's lonely, heaving, oppressive grey skies ...
Well, right now, I'm flying into London and already counting down the days until I feel the warmth of the African sun again.