“There will be so many times you feel like you have failed. But in the eyes, heart and mind of your child, you are a SUPERMOM.” – Stephanie Precourt
Dear Postpartum Depression,
How are you? Must be doing well and like always scaring some new mother!
There have been times when I wanted to talk to you upfront but did not find the right words. Then there were days when I wanted to fight you back but you turned out to be more powerful. And while you were creating havoc in my life, I did not even realise the day you left me. I was very happy and I never wanted you back in my life. However, now that you are gone for good, I want you to know that even when you were with me I was strong and even now I am strong. But trust me I really want you to know how I felt when you were with me.
It is said that being pregnant and bringing a new soul in this world is one of the most beautiful moment a woman can experience. Undoubtedly, yes it is. When I was pregnant with Miss A, I was very happy and going gaga over the little joys like choosing her outfits, reading about her, waiting for her and catching a glimpse of her through those scans to the day when she was finally going to arrive. But no one, yes no one told me what was going to happen after I bring her out into this world. My doctor, partner and even my mother didn’t tell me about you.
At the time of Miss A’s birth, I had a very healthy pregnancy but at the last minute, I was scheduled for a C-section. I was a little nervous but I trusted my doctor. Along with being nervous, I was a little excited as well knowing that very soon I will be holding a baby! But I was not aware that you were lurking very close by and ready to pounce at me when I was at my weakest. Had I known I would have trained my mental state to tackle with you.
The realisation of you being around set in the very first 2 weeks. As they were rough, I was sleep-deprived, had aches and pains of a post-surgery (c-section). With all this, I had to look after the new baby, feed her, clean her and burp her. Though I tried to take care of her I was going through rough days as well. Oh, I still remember, going to the washroom was such a tiresome job because I would feel hurt all the time. I had not planned for any of this … and even if I would have I wouldn’t have been prepared to tackle what I went through.
Slowly I tried accepting my new life with the baby, but you pulled me down and made me wish that I should bury myself somewhere rather than experiencing the joys of being a first-time mommy. Every day and every passing moment felt as if you were robbing me of my confidence and my self-esteem. It took me several days and months to overcome the physical and mental suffering subjected by you. I had to convince myself, love myself before I could say enough to you. Because mental illness is not spoken about openly in our country, I was afraid to share with others what I was going through. I didn’t want to be put on medication. But finally I opened up to my mother and things started taking a different turn for me.
At one of my appointments, my doctor had mentioned PPD. She said some women struggle with it but most of the times PPD goes away when things start falling into a routine. But sadly there was no such thing with me. I was sad that I could not go to work and had to look after a baby. Here, the doctors and nurses just brush away PPD so easily, least realising that a woman can actually become a victim and may need help.
Postpartum Depression, today I make a wish. I pray and wish that you should not touch any mother when she is giving birth to a child. She is better off without you and she has all the right to feel excited and experience the joys of becoming a first time or second-time mommy. I wish that no mother should feel that she is worthless. I pray that every new mother should have the strength to talk about you with her partner and family. Lastly, no mother should dread you and fear that you are overpowering her love for her child.
A survivor, A mother
Facts about postpartum depression:
- If all countries are taken into consideration then postpartum depression affects tens if not hundreds of millions
- As per research, the postpartum depression rates in Asian countries is 65% or more in the new mothers
- In India, about 22% of new mothers suffer from PPD
- Every year 1 in 5 mothers is affected by PPD in India
- It is observed that new fathers also suffer from PPD
In India, depression is not talked about openly and the topic is very conveniently brushed under a rug. Where people fear to talk about their mental state, PPD is not even heard of. Even if it is heard of, the topic is overshadowed by the responsibilities a new mother has. A new mother has a lot in her sleeves right from the constant cycle of feeding, changing, sleepless nights, fatigue and the erratic behaviour of the hormones. All these are good enough factors to make her irritable an anxious. If she does not get help at this time she may easily wheel into depression. This may require her some time to come out of it. Many women come out of it successfully while some become victims. It is high time that we should be aware that PPD can be treated and it is not a disease but a mental condition. If the condition is dealt with patience, care and love the victim can easily beat the odds.
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