After losing her mum and baby within the space of 14 months, Malin Andersson was left struggling with PTSD and emotional pain. Now pregnant with her second child, the former Love Island Contestant’s mission is to help and support others going through difficult times. Here, Malin opens up about her own grief – and what got her through.
So we are four days into baby loss awareness week, one of the hardest weeks of the year I struggle with the most. Every day is a struggle for me since losing my beautiful baby girl Consy.
Going into labour at 32 weeks pregnant and watching my baby girl lie in a tiny incubator in Great Ormond for four weeks is an image I will never get out of my head. It was one of the hardest times of my life.
As a mother carrying her, feeling her movements, creating a bond and imagining milestones that we would reach together – having that all taken away and having no control over it is something I’ve never fully been able to process. The heavy feeling in my heart that I carry everyday - the guilt of “could I have done more as her mum” will always stay with me.
Even now at 24 weeks pregnant I’m scared! I’m scared history will repeat itself. I want nothing more than to be a mother. A real mother. Be like the person I looked up to the most - my mum, who I sadly lost. Not having my mum here with me is something else that makes losing a child even harder… I felt like I had no one to lean on.
I won’t lie to you all and say my second pregnancy has been easy because it hasn’t. I’ve struggled a lot more than I thought I would. I thought therapy would prepare me for how I would feel carrying my baby girl now. I was so wrong!
Sitting in that room and saying I would be fine when I fall pregnant again is easy. Living the reality of it after a loss is hard. I’m constantly on high alert, every movement I’m aware of; I’m looking for blood every time I go to the toilet. Even being sent for extra appointments, the worry, the anxiety it’s giving me is overwhelming. I know they are doing it to be more cautious, but it doesn’t stop my mind from going into overdrive.
I thought all the thoughts and how I was feeling during this pregnancy were normal. The morbid thoughts I was having constantly hanging over. The only way I learnt to get rid of them was by sleeping. If I was sleeping, I wasn’t having them – it was an easy solution for me.
I got into a routine in my first trimester of waking up, eating and then going back to sleep and this became normal for me. It wasn’t until I worked up the courage to speak to my midwife about it that she diagnosed me with pre-natal depression, which had stemmed from the PTSD of losing Consy. She explained to me that my fears were normal, that what I was feeling was normal and it was how I processed them that would make a difference.
You see, the grief doesn’t just go. I lost her three years ago, but sometimes it feels like it only happened three days ago. That’s the thing with grief - it haunts you and reminds you of what you could have had or what once was. Although she was only with me for four weeks, I will cherish those four weeks for the rest of my life. I will keep her memory alive - my baby girl that I’m carrying now will know she has a big sister. I will speak of her name often.
I know you’re probably reading this and thinking how did she do it? On her social media she seems so strong, so positive! I’m human I have my good days and I have my bad. I stay active, I do things to pre-occupy my mind to make me carry on. Slowly finding my own strength, understanding that I have no control of certain situations. Looking at things with a different frame of mind. Knowing I’ve been through the worst and I got through it, it was the hardest thing I’ve done but I’ve done it! I now know the only thing I have control over is my mind and how I process things.
I’m asking you, if you have lost a baby, no matter what stage of your pregnancy – to speak to someone. People are there to listen, to help you through the bad days. Don’t suffer alone, don’t suffer in silence. I know that isolating yourself seems like the best thing to do at the time, but it isn’t. If you have fallen pregnant after a previous loss, again, speak to someone, there are so many people out there that can help!
Depression is a real mental illness, to have it whilst being pregnant is scary. There is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s hard but it’s there. Turn your pain into strength!
Come out fighting, have faith and don’t lose hope – it’s what got me through.