“I felt like my life was a balloon and I was holding a pin to pop it and blow it all up. My newborn baby and my partner were a source of great annoyance. I wanted to be left alone. Everything felt wrong and I was very angry. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression a few weeks after my baby was born. What I had initially dismissed as baby blues turned out to be something even worse. I was afraid of going to bed because I thought something would happen to the baby. I couldn’t even trust my partner with the baby because I ‘felt’ he wasn’t careful enough. At the end of each day, I would cry myself to sleep because I felt like a very terrible mother. I loved my baby but in those moments I hated him so much.“
Giving birth can be an exciting experience (never mind the pain😁). Emotions can range from joy right down to anxiety and in many cases, new mothers can fall into depression. You look forward to being a mother for nine months then end up failing to feel motherly towards your child. It does not mean that you lack maternal instincts but rather a complication associated with giving birth. Signs, symptoms and timelines may vary but the most common include:
- Severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Inability to bond with the baby
- Suicidal thoughts
- Panic attacks
- Wanting to harm your child
The hormonal changes after giving birth are considered as a contributing factor. Some new mothers are anxious about handling their newborn while others suffer from sleep deprivation. The physical changes from pregnancy may leave one feeling lost. Some mothers have to deal with negative comments about their baby and appearance from relatives and this can also contribute to depression.
You’re Not Alone…
Being a mother comes with the default setting of handling things and probably never asking for help. Because of this, one can deny or not know that they have postpartum depression. It’s the Mum-mode but even the best of us out there can sadly become affected. So, if a new mother looks disheveled and out of sorts, kindly refrain from making jokes about it. Rather, be aware that she might be going through something serious. She needs a strong support system. Get her the help she needs, be it support groups or counseling. Prescription medications like antidepressants may be ideal as the condition requires urgent attention. Humans are intentionally social beings and being a source of positivity for her will be very welcome. Help with caring for the baby and be patient and understanding. Allow her to enjoy periods of rest and relaxation, she needs it. Do not rush her or invalidate what she is feeling. She needs time.
To anyone who has suffered from postpartum depression, remember that you are WORTHY. You are CAPABLE. You are a GOOD PARENT. Rock on 🌟