It was only much later after the birth of my daughter, did I realize that I wasn’t going nuts. I was, in fact, battling a common but less spoken about the phenomenon that many mothers experience, known as Postpartum Depression.
As a new mother, my life had turned its face around. While my body was screaming for rest after childbirth, tending to a baby as a new mother allowed me very little of it. I was sleep deprived and severely exhausted. I had with me, the most beautiful baby and a very supportive spouse, but all I could feel was anxiety, worry, guilt and sadness. I had intrusive and disturbing thoughts of my baby getting hurt, I had trouble forming an emotional attachment with my baby, and I was guilt ridden that I could not be the mother I’d want to be.
If you are reading this article, you probably are experiencing some of these symptoms and feeling as hopeless or anxious as I was, but I’d like to assure you that you are not alone. This is not your fault, and it is most likely a chemical imbalance that comes with childbirth and the physical toll of motherhood. You never asked for these feelings or thoughts, and most importantly know that they are temporary.
1 in every 5 women battle different levels of severity in postpartum depression. Many aren’t aware that this is passing and treatable. Many moms who go through this think they’re losing it like how I did. However if we make ourselves aware of this disorder and reach out to a good counselor, there is light at the end of this tunnel sooner than we ever thought!
How I overcame Postpartum Depression
Find a safe place to share and a support network : The first step in my recovery journey was to realize that these feelings and thoughts were not just exclusive to me. That I was not alone. When I became a part of a group for postpartum depression support online, I was surprised to learn that there were so many mothers who were going through this and many survivor moms who shared their stories. Finding a safe place to share and knowing that I wasn’t alone in this, set me on my road to healing. I felt stronger and more a part of a network that spoke the same language.
Speak to your spouse / parent or a trusted friend : If you do have an understanding spouse, parent or friend – speak to him or her. Getting things off your chest and being understood by a family member or a good friend can sometimes work wonders with any mental health issue you may be facing. It can help with the guilt, the feeling of you battling this alone, and of course with getting some extra support through your journey of recovery.
Join a Yoga class or any fitness regime with community members : Fresh air, sunlight and fitness may not seem like something you can weave into your busy schedule as a new mother. But if you make your mind up to heal soon, even a brisk walk for half an hour with a neighbor while you have your baby looked after by your spouse or someone you trust can do the trick. Getting your body slowly back on track, building strength, and most importantly taking the time to care for your body helps in pushing the depression out of you much faster.
Seek Help : Do not underestimate the effect a good counselor can have on your healing process. Talk it out with a professional and get the right guidance, learn techniques to manage your thoughts and anxieties and more importantly gain a listening ear that doesn’t judge but is there for you to support and handhold you through this difficult phase. A professional counselor can give you all that strength you need to tide over something as crippling as postpartum depression.
Like for me, Postpartum Depression can be soon a thing of the past for anyone. Now, motherhood is all mine to experience – a truly blissful experience.