When you give birth, you expect things to be very rosy and happy what with the brand-new baby in your life and all the attention that you get. But quite often the feeling of joy and happiness is replaced by mood swings, feelings of helplessness, anxiety and sadness. According to the American Psychological Association, up to 1 in 7 women, experience Postpartum Depression, commonly known as PPD, which is different from baby blues which generally goes away within a few weeks after childbirth. Postpartum Depression is a much more serious condition and it occurs in new mothers after delivery. It is a result of a combination of factors like biological, environmental and hormonal.
You know that you are suffering from Postpartum Depression, if you experience five or more of the following symptoms every day for at least two weeks:
- Extreme sadness and helplessness
- Loss of appetite
- Restlessness and a strong feeling of uselessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Trouble falling asleep
- A lack of interest in everyday activities
- Excessive crying
- Feeling disconnected with the baby
- Extreme exhaustion
- Lack of concentration
- Avoiding social gatherings
When I became a mother, I used to have an extremely bad mood for days together. I felt as if I will never be able to live a normal life again. As much as I was in love with the miracle I made, I begin to feel as if my life has taken a backseat in the midst of all the chaos. It also came from the trauma of labor pains and a normal delivery. Yes! It is no less than a trauma. Apart from the excruciating pain which I experienced, I was more surprised by how the medical staff in the labor room treats you. Here I should mention that I delivered my baby in one the most prestigious maternity hospitals in Lucknow. If this is what happens in such hospitals, the condition in Government hospitals much be far worse. Anyways, so I was going through Postpartum Depression because even after six months of childbirth, I could not gather myself together. My husband failed in all his attempts to make me realize that things will get better with time and that I should resume my studies once again.
At times I thought that I needed help. I tried hard to look at the brighter side but to be honest, it is very difficult for a stay-at-home mom to focus on other things because more than the child, it is the mother who wants to be with the baby at all times. I had help, but I could never digest the fact that I am now no longer free to do what I want without taking into consideration my child’s interests. It was all become too much to deal with and that is when I decided that I had to do something about all this. So, I did the following things to come out of that Postpartum Depression phase:
- I started to vent out my feelings more often. I would write them in my diary, talked to my mother or husband. This helped a lot to ease the pressure. I cried if I wanted to. I yelled if I felt like. Needless to say, I felt better.
- I slept whenever I got a chance to do so without caring what time of the day it was. Sleep deprivation is a major cause for mood swings and exhaustion. Once you get good sleep, a lot of things can be sorted out easily.
- As new mothers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the best in everything. I stopped doing that. I did whatever was possible in an easy way and asked for help more often. I refused to do something just because it was to be done.
- I started getting busy with my books again. It gave me a lot of confidence and self-satisfaction. I used all the time possible to get back on track. Even if it was just for an hour, I made sure that I utilized that time to study. It was a type of meditation for me. I felt better instantly.
- I devoted time to myself every week. Went out for a walk, painted, went to the parlor or did a home pampering session. It is very important that you are important to yourself in every situation. For you to keep the baby happy, you should yourself be calm and satisfied at first.
In a matter of few weeks, I regained my lost self-esteem and was able to look at life with a different perspective. My daughter became my biggest strength and her smile lit up my days. And things did get better with time, we just need to hang in there!!
Also read: Post - Partum Depression - It’s real!!
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