Mothers must talk about post delivery depression

Don't wait and think postnatal blues can just be wished away. One needs to attend to it before the damage becomes irreversible.

 |  4-minute read |   13-09-2017
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I begged, I cried and I prayed! I needed help! I needed someone to stay by me and hold me tight to make me feel valued. All I needed was my husband to tell me, "It's Ok! I am here! I am here to hold you tight and stand by you to support you through this tough journey!"

Instead every time I cried, he would walk over me thinking I am dramatising, thinking I have gone mad. Thinking I needed attention.

Apparently, I was going through postpartum depression.

This is just one story. I hear so many such stories these days when I come across these women from different parts of the country going though massive postpartum depression. Since I started working for GRF (Gracia Raina Foundation), I am out there to hear all about it from the ones who are suffering. Some stories are horrible and some are unexplainable. Since mental illness can't be seen by people like a physical illness, it's often ignored or not understood.

In India alone there are over 10 million cases in a year, most of them probably go unnoticed and are not even spoken about. Postpartum depression is extremely common affecting one in eight women right after childbirth. It is treatable but because most don't even talk about it, it can be extremely hazardous to one's health and women can go into a downward spiral.

At first you may not even see the signs, it's ok to be tired after you've had a child. And taking care of a newborn isn't easy. But feeling sad and hopeless, that's not ok.

If these signs are prevalent, seek help, talk to your partner, parents or in-laws and let them know you may not feel happy even though the occasion is supposed to be a joyous one. Your body is going through hormonal changes, which is beyond your control. Chances are your "baby blues" may not improve and if your feelings are getting more intense, it's more than just blues and such symptoms should be addressed. 

pregnant690_091317082526.jpgShare your feelings, talking about it is a start and will make you feel better for sure.

Get the right help, meet your doctor. Some women even report that they go through crying spells and often feel down and depressed and start to lose interest in things they enjoy. You start to worry that you won't be a good mother and constantly doubt yourself. It's also important for your partner to see these signs and read into them.

Don't wait and think it may get better; one needs to attend to this immediately before it gets worse and the damage is irreversible. The risk factors are enormous and could eventually turn into a chronic depressive disorder. You may not even realise it but you could be passing this onto your child. After all they pick on clues and moods, and if they see you unhappy, it could mean that they too are going through something of their own without them even realising it.

Mothers, be good to yourself. It's ok and you're not the only one! Talk to other mothers and they will share the same story and their journey with you. Having PPD doesn't mean you're a bad mother or don't love your child. After you begin treatment, these feelings of guilt and despair should start to fade.

Share your feelings, talking about it is a start and will make you feel better for sure. Pamper yourself and indulge in some outdoor activities. Stepping out, breathing fresh air can be a glimmer of hope. It will do you and your baby good. Diet and exercise are a good boost.

Make an effort to get a little exercise every day. The benefit of eating right and exercise will help you get your pre-baby body back before you know it. That is definitely a great boost for your self-esteem. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water can also help you start to feel more like yourself again.

Lastly, family members play a crucial role and family support is of utmost essence. They are the ones who are always around you and should help and pitch in.

It's important for them to check and see how one is doing.

Unfortunately, depression is an unspoken topic in our country. Even those from well-to-do families consider it a taboo, and if educated people don't step up and talk about it, what future do the uneducated have? They probably don't even know the term or how to deal with it.

We all need to start somewhere and talking about it is a great start. Let's not shun this topic when we can reach out to people in need and give help when it's needed. It gets better for sure, and without this cloud of depression hanging over your head, a mother could challenge what lies ahead, and start enjoying the most beautiful phase of life, called motherhood.

Also read: Why warring AIADMK factions want a piece of Jayalalithaa's soul

Writer

Priyanka Chaudhary Raina Priyanka Chaudhary Raina @_priyankacraina

Priyanka Chaudhary Raina is the wife of cricketer Suresh Raina, mother of a beautiful daughter and a social entrepreneur.

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