For me the biggest struggle during and after pregnancy was admitting I needed help. When you’ve grown up with epilepsy for over 18 years you do learn how to cope on your own. It’s hard when your independence is challenged at a young age. Having to rely on people to drive you places and look after you when you’re not 100%. Before having a baby I hated people trying to put me into a box, being labelled as having a medical condition. To some extent I still do now.
However, knowing I was growing a life and seeing my little girl for the first time made me realise that for both our safety, I needed to except help. That it was OK to feel nervous and worried. There were a few practical things we had to sort:
- Sleeping downstairs – If I needed to do nappy changes or feeds there was less risk of me having a harsh fall. It also made me less tired walking up and down the stairs, therefore eliminating a bit of stress.
- Having my little girl sleep in a bed-side cot next to my husband and not me – This was hard as I wanted to be near my baby but if I had a seizure during the night I knew that there was a barrier between me and her. I wouldn’t accidentally hurt her.
- Not using products like baby slings and high changing tables – So if I had a seizure she wasn’t directly strapped to me or at risk of falling.
- Support – Arranging with family and close friends what to do in certain scenarios. Having my first point of call and where to my put my little girl if I felt unwell.
"For me the biggest struggle during and after pregnancy was admitting I needed help."
Like any mum your baby’s wellbeing is your first priority. But having epilepsy I needed to understand other situations that could present an issue when looking after my little girl. My little girl is 9 months old now and luckily I haven’t had a seizure on my own with her. I have had a few when friends and family have been around. But now that we have an understanding of what to do, it doesn’t seem feel like a massive stress. All these things really helped me feel at peace. It helped me enjoy all stages of being a mum. Everyone is going to have their ups and downs during and after pregnancy. My best advice would be to talk about how you’re feeling. Everyone has bad days but it’s doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job, your baby loves you no matter what.
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