I was convinced my baby deserved a better mum

Alexandra Vanotti

At the end of maternal mental health awareness week, Alexandra Vanotti details her experience of post-natal anxiety and the help she received – which she describes as a godsend.

My sister was on honeymoon in South Africa when my baby boy was born. It was almost a fortnight before she was due home and I had an overwhelming fear that my baby would die before my sister got a chance to meet him. In my mind, over the coming weeks and months my beautiful baby died a thousand deaths. This, despite his clean bill of health.

You may have twigged already that I wasn’t well. It took me a bit longer to realise.

I was convinced my baby deserved a better mum
I was convinced my baby deserved a better mum

I had an uneventful pregnancy, albeit under the care of the high risk team at Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London. At the age of 21, I had undergone heart surgery, but at this stage my heart was fine and it was years since I had seen a cardiologist.

During the first trimester, I was the textbook example of a glowing mother-to-be, full of excitement and wonder at the life growing inside me. But as I approached the 18-week scan, I started feeling anxious. I read a leaflet on the potential health issues that might be picked up at the anomaly scan and I cried tears of terror. But we passed it with no concern. The baby also passed the foetal heart ultrasound – a necessity with my congenital heart problem. And yet I couldn’t shake off the sense of foreboding.

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