Saturday 18 November 2017

'I felt ashamed and low - but doctors kept fobbing me off'

BethAnne Linstra Klein was depressed during her first pregnancy. Photo: Damien Eagers
BethAnne Linstra Klein was depressed during her first pregnancy. Photo: Damien Eagers
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

When BethAnne Klein became pregnant with her first baby she wanted to feel blessed and full of happiness.

But it turned out to be one of the bleakest times of her life as the pregnancy, which she and husband Fionn had planned, plunged her into self-loathing and sadness.

"I felt very low about myself and felt very ashamed of my pregnancy. This was a planned pregnancy. It was very confusing as to why I felt ashamed. I was trying to hide it," she said.

The mother-of-two, who lives in Bray, Co Wicklow, found the depression deepened as the 2011 pregnancy advanced.

It was made all the worse by her attempts to get through to doctors how low she was feeling, as she felt she was being brushed off by comments that it was a normal part of pregnancy and hormonal changes.

"I was going to a GP and seeing doctors at hospital appointments. I was telling them 'I am depressed and very sad'. I was told it was normal to be that bit hormonal during pregnancy," she said.

"As time went on I was being basically fobbed off by the medical professionals. I kept getting worse.

"I was thinking 'what kind of monster am I?' There was no joy in anything."

IT consultant BethAnne continued to get up and go to work every day and function.

Eventually, she met a doctor at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street who recognised her level of distress and referred her to a perinatal psychiatrist.

She was prescribed antidepressants and these lifted her from the deep lows.

BethAnne gave birth to her daughter and was also monitored for post-natal depression. When she became pregnant again two years ago she knew she could not afford to take any risks with her mental health.

She is now passionate about the need to routinely screen women early in pregnancy for signs of depression. If a pregnant woman tells their doctor they are in mental distress they need to be taken seriously, she said.

Irish Independent

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