But while I'm at higher risk, my doctor has also told me I'm at lower risk as well, because I'll know the warning signs and where to get help.
I've been encouraged by my doctor and various friends to think about what to do in advance. I need a 'battle plan', a way to fight PND and put boundaries in place to protect myself. The sad thing is that family and friends are sometimes the ones I need protecting from. Not ALL of them - but some don't seem to understand.
Here are some things we've put in place to protect me from pressures and expectations as we adjust to being a family of four:
- Have the baby in Albany. Part of the reasoning for this was that we know less people down there. Less people = less visitors at the hospital. When Rory was finally delivered by emergency c-section, I hadn't slept in 24 hours. Then I couldn't sleep from the adrenaline high from having just had a baby. Then it was the calling and texting everybody. Feeds took an hour and a half. Then I was hooked up to an electronic pump because my milk didn't come in until Day 5. Even when Rory was asleep, I couldn't rest because I was either (a) like a cow on a milking machine, (b) in discomfort from my c-section, or (c) dealing with staff coming in all the time, banging doors (I know it's their job, I just wished they'd go away). With visitors on top of that it was all too much.
- Put on my Facebook status that we are very grateful for people's messages of support etc., but ask them please not to call. The last thing I want to deal with when I'm too sleep-deprived to construct a sentence properly is people calling to have a chat. They're welcome to email, but it may take me a fair while to get back to them.
- Step down from the ladies' fellowship deacon position at church (this will happen in August) and the secretary position for our tennis club (I did this in April). Say no to everything else. You'd think some people would have more sense than to ask a pregnant lady or new mum to start doing more stuff, but some people are a bit thick it seems.
- Not do anything, go anywhere, see anyone unless I want to. I don't want to sit inside, feeling trapped inside my own house, but nor do I want to be pressured by other people. I realise now I have Rory to consider, so we'll probably have to go out a bit otherwise he'll go stir crazy. However, I did get really cross at Duncan for wanting to go visit his relatives after the baby's born. "Oh, but Auntie So-and-So will want to see the baby." I don't give a rat's about what Auntie So-and-So wants. Some people have not made A SCRAP OF EFFORT to visit us on either farm we've lived on and keep expecting us to go to them. NO WAY!
- Say no to visitors, unless they're the helpful, encouraging kind. I don't want anyone staying with us who thinks they're here for a holiday, or is offended by breastfeeding.
- Get outside for some fresh air, even if it's just to sit on the verandah and watch Rory and the dogs play in the garden.
Last week, a whole range of emotions from when Rory was little came flooding back.
What if my mum goes from being the great help she is now to how she was when Rory was born?
What if I end up surrounded by unhelpful people?
What if I can't juggle spending time with both Rory and the baby?
I was panic-stricken, but then I realised that many of these fears are unfounded and God will be there right with me.