Postnatal depression is an illness and not a reflection of you as a mother or a woman – Anonymous
If you’ve reached this blog because you’ve searched online for answers to what feels isolating and shameful, we want to start off before anything else, that what you’re feeling is shared by millions of women across the world and it is normal
Motherhood is too unique of an experience that often gets painted as only rainbows and flowers, the dark clouds and mud not mentioned. You are enough as a woman, as a mother, as your own person.
When it comes to postnatal depression, insidious thoughts tend to wrap themselves around us, like grape vines that won’t let go. They steal joy at a time in a woman’s life where there should be an abundance of it. The invisible nature of this illness adds to a woman’s grief – you don’t look sad, you put up pictures on social media. If at any time you or anyone you know has felt disconnected, please seek help.
Having said that, we also want to tell you that all these thoughts indicate probable cases of postnatal depression/perinatal depression. This blog as well is dedicated to discussing this topic.
Understanding Postnatal Depression
There are some terms that we as mothers keep coming across everytime there is a discussion about our mental and physical health. These terms are prenatal/antenatal depression, postnatal depression and prenatal depression. While prenatal and postnatal depression relate to the specific phases of depression pre and post childbirth, perinatal depression is the umbrella term covering both.
Having established this, let us now look at a few major symptoms that may point towards postnatal depression. Try answering these questions
- Have you been feeling moody and restless a lot lately?
- Have you been feeling particularly detached and as if your life is going to end?
- Do you feel like crying just for the sake of it?
- Have you ever had thoughts about hurting yourself or the baby?
- Do you feel disconnected from the baby
- Have you been having trouble focussing or in making decisions?
- Have you been too forgetful or absent minded?
- Have you been experiencing severe headaches, pains, muscular cramps, stomach troubles or similar ailments a lot?
Another set of emotional challenges that a lot of new mothers face include:
- Extreme tiredness throughout the day
- Irritability in general
- Feeling of overwhelm because of the sudden responsibility on your hands
- Continuous need to introspect and judge yourself to ascertain if you could be a good mother
- Feeling sad about losing your “pre-baby” self
- The constant feeling of being less attractive and less desirable.
Now, while we want you to take them seriously, it is also important to note that a lot of times, these symptoms happen because of usual emotional upheavals too. In any case, please refer to a doctor before you consider taking any medication.
Know it for a fact that You are not Alone
As per a 2012 research by Morb Mortal Weekly, 9 in 10 women suffer from postnatal depression. So, you see, you aren’t the only one there who is hanging by a thread. \ Most women don’t have the support that helps them understand that this is not their fault so if ever you needed reassurance, here it is: this is not your fault.
Why Does Postpartum or Postnatal Depression Happen?
Postpartum depression is a common outcome of the varied hormonal changes that happen after the birth of the child. When you are pregnant, estrogen and progesterone (the two female hormones) are at their peak which means that you are full of happiness, and positivity. Since this continues for 9 months straight (more or less), it becomes the “new normal” for your body. However, 24 hours post birth, these hormone levels drop drastically. This sudden change has been considered to be the reason no. one behind postpartum depression.
The reduced thyroid levels post the delivery is also considered to be at the centre of postpartum depression symptoms and hence when it comes to postpartum depression treatment, thyroid monitoring is usually the first on the checklist.
You need to Give Yourself some Time!
So, you saw how all of it is just some random hormones at play. Sadly though these hormones define a lot of your being and hence you get affected. However, does that mean you are not fine?
Well, my dear lady, you are that truly fine red wine that keeps getting better by the day! However, if there is an irritant that is providing sub-optimal conditions for it to bloom, might as well have that corrected.
Mentioning some of the points below that can help you relax and hence feel better:
- Take some rest, yes- sometimes someone else can take care of the baby
- Get that sleep- all those waking in the middle of the night really has you tired so just sleep
- Don’t look into the mirror too much and over-scrutinise yourself. Repeat after us- “I am as amazing as ever and I will only be better tomorrow”
- Join a new mom’s group- you’ll be happy to know that you aren’t alone.
- Cry if you want and cry your heart out- you’ll feel better.
And the last but the most important one:
Hey! It’s Okay to take help
You may think that it is all in your head and hence maybe you need to fight it on your own. But guess what, if it feels a bit too overwhelming, feel free to ask for help. Share your feelings, talk to a doctor or see a therapist.
There is absolutely no judgement and no postpartum depression doesn’t mean that you are mentally weak. It simply means that you are overwhelmed right now and you need
some assistance to let this phase pass.
You see, you see a doctor when you are down with fever. You never feel ashamed of that then why this?
Your mental health is yours and believe us when we say this, if there are people judging you for this then those are the people you don’t want in your life!
And so, as we close this topic for the day, we just wanted to ask you- “How are you doing?”
And in case this made you cry, know it for a fact that we are there!
Do write to us or ping us on our Social Media handles.