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.
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.
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.
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!
Read more on PPD below.
#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.