Being pregnant with H.I.V. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In honour of World Aids Day 2019, I want to share my story about living with H.I.V. I have been living with H.I.V. for six years. And I feel I am in a place where I am ready to live life in full and talk about it. I have spoken about my pregnancy journey in a previous post. However, I have not discussed things a little further. It has been a long journey since my pregnancy diagnosis in 2013. I have learnt so much and still learning, and I feel ready to share my story.
Being Pregnant With H.I.V
I was three months pregnant when I was diagnosed with H.I.V. I had little knowledge about the virus. The last time I heard about the virus was in Primary School, portraying H.I.V. as a death sentence. So just hearing the letters – H.I.V. freaked the hell out of me.
I was scared, confused, like, what does this mean? Am I going to die with a baby growing inside of me? Will I even have the baby? I mean, this is the U.K. People don’t get H.I.V. in the U.K. – I was so naive. I thought only people in Africa would get such a thing.
I asked the doctors to double-check my details to make sure they were considered H.I.V. positive. It turned out it was me. I couldn’t handle the news. However, as soon as the doctors said H.I.V. was not what it used to be back in the 70s/80s, I shouldn’t worry because I would not die. That gave me a sense of relief.
Getting Advice and Information
I told my parents as soon as I found out. My mum believed that the virus was a death sentence and didn’t think what the doctors said about it. My family and I had more than one Doctor’s appointment to discuss things further. First of all, how was this even possible? What happens now? Will the baby have the virus? How can I protect the baby and myself? How can I protect myself and others around me? The list goes on.
We just wanted to know as much as possible to be prepared. My mum still could not accept the doctors’ information in the mix of things, which led to negative drama and disagreements. Let’s say – the lines were crossed. As a mother, I fully understand why she acted like that. We didn’t talk to each other during the pregnancy and two years after my daughter’s birth.
I felt I wasn’t getting enough support from my family. I even thought they were planning to take my child away from me as soon as she was born. Our only hope was that the virus would be less likely to pass on to the baby due to an early diagnosis and starting treatment.
When it was time to start medication, I was very uncomfortable. I have never had to take any medication in my life before. This was scary, and thinking I was about to start a journey without end for the rest of my life was the worst feeling ever. I just kept telling myself; it was for the baby. Do it for the baby.
I had my first consultation with my Doctor, who ensured everything would be alright. The baby will NOT be infected with the virus. It was at an early stage, and it took three months for the virus to be detected in your body. What we needed to do now was to find the proper medication to prevent the baby from the virus and keep me safe.
Finding The Right Medication
I cannot remember the name of the first medication I took. However, I remember it gave me some side effects – Dizziness and Headache. I went o back to the Doctor to complain about it, and he gave me a different one, which worked perfectly.
I had to take nine pills daily:
- That’s 3 in the morning,
- 3 in the afternoon
- 3 in the evening.
Nine pills every day for the rest of my pregnancy. It was hard. Sometimes I did not even want to take them, but then I remembered the baby. Regular appointments to the clinic and scans and check-ups just kept me busy. I was eating healthily, staying active and not drinking any alcohol. However, with no money and enough support from my family, I could not afford to eat as much as I should have. I had lost my appetite to eat or drink anything. My head was all over the place. It was worrying enough to be disabled and pregnant but now with H.I.V. too. There were no words to describe how I felt.
Negative Thoughts Leads To Suicide Attempts
I remember being so lost in dark thoughts, leading to multiple active suicide attempts, including drowning while having a bath and overdosing on my medications. I even took a knife and placed the tips on my belly. It was a challenging time. The Doctor’s voice, ‘I’m sorry to say this, but you are H.I.V. positive,’ was on playback in my head. My mother’s tears, the arguments the family had, everything was pressing me down; I wanted to die.
My advice to anyone going through a similar issue is to be healthy. Be sure to soak in as much information from professionals, not only from friends and family. You can tell your loved ones some particular things, which solely depends on the solid relationship between both parties. If only I had listened to my doctors more, I would have just gone back to my apartment and lived peacefully to enjoy the pregnancy.
I hope you enjoyed that.
What an open, honest and brave post. I can only imagine what you must go through. You sound like you are well focused and a remarkable women x
This will be really helpful for other women who may have a diagnosis of hiv and are thinking about or are already pregnant. Expecting a baby is such an emotional journey! Thank you for sharing your story.
Can’t even begin to image how you felt with your diagnoses! Thank you so much for sharing your journey and all this valuable information on HIV. It’s so brave of you to share this story and give strength to others.
It must’ve been so hard having to such major events happening at the same time. Each separately would be a challenge, but together? Wow. You’re so strong that you came through it to where you are now. Thank you so much for sharing your story.
thank you for sharing your story. i can imagine the shock you must have had when you heard the news, considering, like you said, we don’t think of HIV as something that can happen to us , today and in the places where we live. During one of my pregnancies, we had a hepatitis scare as well and then it was an anxious few weeks for retests for both hubby and me before it was over and turned out to be a false positive..
You are such a brave woman and I love the fact that you are sharing your own story to make many others comfortable and know how to go about dealing with such setbacks. Keep up the good work.
This is such an important article. Thank you so you so much for sharing your story because this is the only way to get the knowledge out there and help others in understanding this diagnosis. I’m so glad to know there is treatment for HIV during pregnancy. Thank you again for sharing your journey!
It must’ve been a huge shock to get that diagnosis. Especially while you were pregnant. Thank you so much for sharing your story and helping to reduce the stigma around HIV.
thanks for sharing such a personal story, I’ve never met anyone with this condition, if I ever do, I will know how to relate to them better.
Thank you for sharing your story and advice.
This is so brave from you to talk about this life experiences with H.I.V. there’s so much to learn about it from the patient perspective and personal experience. I hope you can keep informing us with this topics.
Thank you for sharing your story. It’s so important to understand the ways to prevent complications and be safe as well as taking care of yourself.
That must have been such a shock and a difficult time to receive a diagnosis. You must have had so many thoughts swirling in your head. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s only through awareness that people can learn the realities of living with HIV. I’m glad it’s no longer as frightening as it was all those years ago.
Wow! This is a lot to take in, and I can’t even imagine what it was like for you to find out during pregnancy. I appreciate your openness and sharing.
Thank You for being so transparent and sharing your journey! So glad that you sought treatment and are a very strong and positive advocate for those going through similar 💗
Thank you so much for being so open about your journey. I have a feeling your voice will save lives.
This post took my breath away. First, I’m praying for your peace of mind. I can’t imagine the thoughts that run through your head on a daily basis. Second, I’m so proud of you for fighting just one more day. Please, continue to fight for you and that precious baby of yours. Third, has your mother come around? I hope she’s realized that you need your family now more than ever.
Your posts are so raw and honest and empowering. You are an amazing woman, and doing a wonderful work here sharing your journey to help others. I’m in awe!
Thank you so much for sharing your story! My brother has HIV and is thriving. It’s so important to share that it isn’t a death sentence just as long as you take care of yourself. Your story will definitely help others!
Nina | Lemons and Luggage
Thank you so much for sharing your story! I think a lot of us forgot about HIV when it was no longer in the news all the time. But it’s still a concern, and the good thing is it can now be medicated very well like you said.
Thank you so much for being honest and sharing this.
Oh how I’m so proud of you for sharing your story so you can encourage others. This is so authentic and real so I know it will connect with mamas going through the same thing. One of the most impactful interactions I had with a person was a young girl in college whose mother was HIV positive when she had her. She did not have the virus (which I didn’t realize was possible either). Her mother wasn’t able to get the medications that you had so she was VERY sick for years until she passed when the girl was about 12. This girl was on a mission to educate people, raise money and help others with HIV. I’m happy to hear you have reconciled with your mom and that you are fighting the good fight <3