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mental health in first trimester

Whirlybird83 profile image
2 Replies

I’m wondering what anyone else has done to deal with first trimester stress. And in particular if anyone has any experience with contacting GP etc for support and whether it’s actually helped/ any other things tried?

I’m 6w. I’m convinced that it’s a blighted ovum or otherwise already lost/ going to miscarry. We were only told on transfer day that the embryo was poor quality (4CB - with the C for the baby bit so I am certain it will just turn into a blighted ovum). I’ve had almost no symptoms (other than the most chronic allergies since testing positive that are making life horrendous as I spend all my time sneezing and wiping my now Rudolf style red nose). Those I had in weeks 4-5 have all disappeared (minor cramping/ headaches) - again to onset of more panic that it is definitely over.

My clinic take the approach of positive pregnancy test then bugger off for 4 weeks until follow up scan at 8 weeks. They really don’t want to know unless you have bleeding. GP has tested HCG levels twice (in the first week) and is happy that the are “progressing” (but that was now 2 1/2 weeks ago). And also seems to be of the attitude shut up and go home and wait. I’ve tried to do follow up blood tests via one of those test at home finger prick kits but with the postal strikes everything is stuck in mailing centers causing more distress.

I am massively struggling with anxiety/ stress/ sadness. Largely due to the fact that I know that it’s not going to work and I am still being forced to “keep calm and carry on”. My husband tries to be supportive but is the complete opposite in personality type to me and is so accepting of “what will be will be” and seems to blindly believe it’s going to work.

I do get private counseling (not related to fertility but I have told them about the IVF) and they have tried to help me do mindfulness and acceptance things but tbh it’s not working. I cry all the time and can hardly sleep.

I’m really worried about the early private scan I’ve got booked this week (I haven’t told my husband as I can’t face having him there when they say it has in fact failed). It’s literally a day before Christmas and come what may with the outcome I have to work Christmas Eve, Christmas day and Boxing Day as I work in social care and I’m on shift those days so can’t let the people I support down. I feel so trapped in the pretending it’s all “ok”.

Part of me is thinking about contacting GP to see if there is any sort of support they can offer, but the reality is I can’t see anything they offer being able to ease the anxiety. And I’m very worried about getting stigmatized - either if it fails and we have to go through another cycle that they query whether I’m mentally fit enough to go again, or if we decide to give up trying for our own and look into adopting/ fostering, or if it does continue then in being viewed through a microscope a “mental health risk” mother.

I feel very trapped and was wondering what experiences anyone can share that could help?


2 Replies
Llizzie profile image

oh whirlybird, your story sounds similar to mine. I could not shake my anxiety - I had a bumpy start with low HCG and I was convinced I would lose the pregnancy. My little boy is snoring asleep next to me but I found it deeply distressing to be pregnant after IVF - even though it was everything I ever wanted.

The advice I’d give to you is seek help now. Your GP, a different therapist perhaps and your midwife when you get one. I was fobbed off with “it’s normal to be anxious after IVF” by my midwife and it took me months to push for better support (I changed midwife in the end). By which time I was quite depressed and took the difficult decision to take antidepressants after a referral to the perinatal mental health team as I was very low. I don’t think the trauma of IVF is well understood and it’s easy to assume that the anxiety disappears when pregnant - I found the opposite.

You know yourself and your breaking point and if you’re thinking you need some extra support then please ask for some. I’m sure your husband will want to be there for you. As someone who watched the first flutterings of my baby’s heartbeat on a scan at 6w, I can say I was tremendously grateful not to be alone (I thought I would have to be as it was during covid restrictions). If the news is bad, you have support, and if it’s good, you have your partner by your side to share that amazing moment of hope with.

Work can be stressful but you could try reframing it. It’s a way to keep busy when you know your brain needs a little distraction. Or you could ask a GP to sign you off - I’m sure they would understand you not wanting to disclose your pregnancy at this stage. You will get through this period of anxiety, it’s hard but you can - you’ve been through the needles and the tests and the hoping - it’s just one day at a time. Don’t get ahead of yourself about stigma or future treatment, try and focus on the here and now. Today you’re pregnant, what amazing news.

Sending you an enormous hug and hoping you find the support you deserve. x

helodie profile image

seconding the great advice Llizzie has given - I am a counsellor and I talk to people about this kind of experience all the time, however it’s very different when it’s you. I’m 11+1 and like Llizzie went through ambiguity at the start with low HCG and I’m now experiencing some spotting which is very scary.

It sounds as though mindfulness isn’t working for you. I would urge you to communicate this to your therapist or seek another. Realistically I suspect your options via the GP are a (long wait for a) CBT referral - which could very well be helpful with what sound like distressing thought patterns and beliefs) or medication, which I cannot speak to during pregnancy.

You sound as though you need more support, and it’s great that you’ve come here, but talking about it - in fact doing much of anything - none of these things will change the outcome of this pregnancy for you (or me!).

Your anxiety is trying to help you to feel in control of an uncontrollable situation, and that’s where a little of your husband’s perspective is useful. You cannot control this. No matter how many blood tests or scans you have. We are in the hands of professionals, and luck. And it sucks! (I am very much a needs to be in control person so it pains me to say that!).

But it will be okay. Whatever happens, you will ultimately be okay. It may be great in between now and the end of this pregnancy, or harder, but you will handle it as will all of us. This is our life’s story and we only get to write so much.

I think I’m writing this out as much to remind myself as to hopefully be useful to you. I don’t mean at all to be harsh in my wording, but I hope its black and white message can be grounding, because that’s the opposite of the ambiguity of anxiety.

Find tools, support, people, behaviours, distractions, whatever it takes to soothe yourself while you go through this.

You can do this, and good luck (to us all!) x

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