A CAUTION FOR NEW MOMS: THE PHASE OF POST-PARTUM DEPRESSION

Post-Partum Depression is a Transition phase that needs awareness

Back in 2012, little did I know what I was about to experience. The unplanned pregnancy was surprising but I accepted it because I believed that probably God knew what I needed before I realised I needed it. I respected his decision and took care of myself until my mom arrived and let her motherly love comfort me. Before my mom arrived, I depended totally on my sixth sense that, if you follow my writing, is still my favourite companion. My husband was happy, surprised and equally supportive but he was also going to be a father for the first time.

depression
Feeling like I’m the only one

When I delivered and the doctor showed me my little angel, the only reactions I had were slight confusion and relief. Confusion because I thought babies were born with their eyes closed while my daughter’s eyes were wide open and relieved because it was a girl. I passed out after that. When I woke up, I was immediately expected to breastfeed her, another thing I was obliged to do. Yes, I read all about the breastfeeding benefits but the reality was a totally different feeling.

When I had to get out of bed, for the first time after delivery, the next day, I was in excruciating pain. I recalled my grandmother who had 9 deliveries. I recalled another friend who had 2 caesarean deliveries in a span of two years. I cursed my husband for putting me through this. I wasn’t sure if I could go on like this. But I was damn sure I didn’t want to go through this again.

For the first three months, my mother was present to care for me, to feed me, to assure me everything was going to be alright and to support me mentally and physically. Everything was okay until she had to return to her own responsibilities back home. After that, whenever I sat beside my little one, I felt that ‘dying’ was the only milestone I had left. I felt that I had to merely be a caretaker of this little girl, while she went through all the things in life like I did, and then be ready for the afterlife. I felt like my life was over.

In the months that followed, I had indeed slumped into dejection. I was sleep deprived. I would panic every time my daughter let out a sound. I would wake up every time I thought my daughter moved, even though she hadn’t reached that stage yet. Sometimes, I would wake up with shudders for no rhyme or reason. I read all the reasons because of which a baby could be crying, yet at times I would find myself crying along with her because I had no idea what else to do. Sometimes, her cry would make me so angry I would yell at her to keep shut and then immediately hug her tightly asking her to forgive me. I felt completely guilty and hopeless.

Post partum depression
In the midst of welcoming a new member, a mother’s mental health is compromised
Picture courtesy: Sangeeta Biswas

Deep down I always knew I wasn’t a bad person but I had started to have my doubts about the type of mother I was. I was alone at home all day, with my little one, wondering how the world could leave such a young soul completely under my care. What if something happened? My husband’s long working hours and our family’s history of lost siblings did not help me much. Though I was aware that the latter was all in His hands, I wondered if I had the ability to care for a tiny human being, efficiently.

Mainly, I thought I was a horrible mother because everywhere, everyone seemed to be so happy and in love with their babies but I, somehow, did not feel that way. I did not have those immense motherly feelings for my daughter though I knew I would do anything to protect her.

Post partum depression
I felt completely guilty and hopeless

A couple of years later, when I was out of this weird phase, I realized that all the above symptoms came under ‘post-partum depression’ or ‘PPD’ and it was something almost every new mom experiences. I was relieved to know I was not the only one suffering with such emotions (though by this time I had overcome them). PPD is basically depression suffered by a mother after childbirth. This mostly arises from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustments to motherhood and fatigue. Ultimately, it is the difficult transition from womanhood to motherhood that we go through. And any change in life is difficult and terrifying, isn’t it?

And in the midst of keeping the mother and baby healthy, the mother’s mental well-being is often compromised because according to the ‘norms’, we, women, are SUPPOSED to have babies, we are SUPPOSED to care for them, we are SUPPOSED to follow traditions, we are SUPPOSED to do things we are not able to do and we are SUPPOSED to ignore our feelings. But, after my second delivery, the only thing that saddened me was the distance between my daughter and me, for the first few days. Otherwise, I made sure that I did what I wanted to do. I didn’t let myself get into another episode of depression and I took care of myself as much as I could. I guess I became a mother who was aware so, I found ways to avoid the mental stress.

Hence, I would advise the to-be-moms and new moms to be conscious of the symptoms despite the household excitement of welcoming a new life. Unless you actually throw your baby out the window, everything else you feel is okay because the duration of PPD may vary depending on the steps taken to treat it. Therefore, I would request you to be mindful and go through the below suggestions in order to avoid/reduce/get over Post-Partum Depression. All the best!

  1. DON’T PANIC: Try not to panic and go wild with your thinking. It will get you nowhere. The moment you find yourself thinking of something scary, depressing or unnecessary, consciously shrug it away. A little effort like this can reduce a lot of your anxiety.
  2. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LOVE: Ask your friends to visit often. Try and have someone, you are most comfortable with, around you during this time. Avoid negative people at all costs.
  3. GET HELP: You may feel you are superwoman but try not to over-do things. Get help with household chores so you don’t have to worry about the clothes in the laundry or the vessels in the sink. You can transfer all your attention to your baby.
  4. MOTHERLY INSTINCTS: Follow your motherly instincts (different from motherly love) and it will help you get around motherhood easily, provided you have time to understand it. It will all get better soon.
  5. TALK: You can always talk to your friends about your feelings or email us at cindydsilva@ymail.com and tell us how you feel. We can be your listening ear and try and ease your worries.

Read more on PPD below.

Maternal Mental Health
5 Warning Signs of PPD

#LetsBlogwithPri is a Blog Train hosted by Prisha Lalwani, Author at Mummasaurus. I wholeheartedly thank Disha Mehrotra, Author at Life My Way, for introducing me in her blog about tummy trouble remedies. Also, I would like to introduce Sweta Kachhap, Author at Cloud and Sunshine. Do read her review on a book for children.

Hosted By :Prisha Lalwani Mummasaurus.com IG: @mummasaurus1 FB: /mummasaurus1


Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva, a belly dancer, writer and artist, besides being a mother of two. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is more about her on the ABOUT ME page. Do check it out! :) Do like the facebook page too: https://www.facebook.com/blogaberry/

18 Comments

  1. […] instead. Listen to your baby and you will avoid a great deal of confusion and anger associated with post-partum depression too. All the […]

  2. […] MOTHER-BABY BOND: Breastfeeding helps the baby bond with the warmth of the mother. Because of this, the mother’s stress levels lessen during this difficult post-partum period. […]

  3. Lovely article. We don’t even know if it’s real and happening until we’re deep into it. It definitely needs awareness. 🙂

  4. Disha says:

    PPD is a real issue affecting many and people don’t realize it. Thankfully, I had a support system, still at times I would cry for no reason. This post is informative and your experience hits home for many of us.

  5. Princy says:

    I went thru ppd myself and so I can relate to what you went through. Glad that you were able to come out of it.

  6. Isha says:

    So Wonderfully write up.. This is so helpful article specially for new moms.. You did great.. 😊 ❤️

  7. I have gone through that slump too.. the down phase where I couldn’t understand how mothers can be happy, always tired by breastfeeding, taking care of baby, not having enough sleep and always attentive to baby’s needs. I too have changed my perspective for my second delivery and took care of myself and avoided negative thoughts. I could enjoy more time with my second child and be happy. Well written and I can relate to every word.

  8. Aditi says:

    Such an honest post Cindy! Loved reading this honest account. We all go through PPD at one time or the other, just that the intensity differs depending on the situation each one of us is in. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Verushka says:

    Wonderful article especially for new mums who do go through PPD and don’t even realize it. Many are always in denial, but it sneaks up on you and before you know it you are in deep. Thanks Cindy for sharing your story.

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