To many of my friends, I was one of the annoying ones who found love via a dating app. I met my fiancé, Nicolas, in 2019 and we were inseparable from day one. When we found out we were pregnant, instead of shock and uncertainty as we were only months into our relationship, it was instant excitement and overwhelming love for the family we were going to be creating together. This was March 2020, the beginning of the pandemic.
On one hand, it was great to be able to spend time working from home together, getting out every day to walk our sausage dog, Bacon, and be in our bubble of excitement. Things were going so well, I didn’t think I needed any support or advice when it came to pregnancy and motherhood - how hard could it be? I’ve always figured things out myself and been independent, so I thought it didn’t matter that I couldn’t access IRL support groups as the country went into lockdown.
Turns out, I was wrong
It soon became clear that the daily anxious thoughts of growing a human and the various other pandemic-related worries had hit me like a ton of bricks. I suffered a severe panic attack at 20 weeks pregnant that resulted in me being signed off work.
Although I had incredible support from my GP, midwife, fiancé, friends, and family, I always felt alone. No one could really relate to what I was going through as not many of those close to me had children or had experienced pregnancy, especially during a pandemic.
I had so many questions. I’d find myself trawling Google multiple times a day, coming across scary medical essays or outdated mum blogs that were never what I was looking for. I had to admit it, I felt isolated. Then I discovered Peanut and this new world of motherhood suddenly didn’t seem so daunting.
Without Peanut, I wouldn’t have coped
After downloading Peanut I was instantly added to a group for my due date, where I was able to join conversations with women at the same stage of pregnancy, and finally find the answers to all of those weird questions I’d been Googling. I also joined perinatal mental health groups where I felt welcomed, without judgement, to offer and receive support with the struggles so many of us silently battle during pregnancy.
I really got into the swing of things after solidifying my support network - my friends, family, GP, and Peanut. By May, we’d discovered that we were having a girl, we’d moved into the flat we’d raise our daughter in, and I’d found the best coping mechanism for me was to keep informed about every stage of my pregnancy. How big was she now? What is the likelihood of me going into labour this week? Did you have this weird symptom too? Any tips for getting labour started? Although I had anxious thoughts on a daily basis, talking about how I was feeling, asking questions, and interacting with other mamas-to-be on Peanut was a huge help.
In November 2020, I gave birth to our daughter, Beau, who was perfect in every way (yes, I know every parent says that!). But following a traumatic labour, delivery, and adjustment to motherhood, at four months postpartum I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. It’s something that I’m still managing each day with the help of a fantastic mental health team, but being another new and unknown challenge, it comes with some real struggles. Being open with my emotions and experiences has been key to me handling my PND so being part of a safe, supportive community on Peanut has been invaluable. It’s a much-needed layer of comfort to know I’m not alone in my feelings.
Peanut unlocked a world of support, reassurance and guidance from those I could relate to. I know that moving forward, through every stage of motherhood, Peanut will provide me with connection and comfort whenever I need it.