I had recently quit my job in an IT firm and was on my way to test my entrepreneurial skills when this “pleasant-shock”, don’t know if that term exists, came to me – I am pregnant. Well, my career plans definitely went for a toss. But I settled into the truth pretty fast.
I totally loved my pregnancy and enjoyed every single minute. I was pampered by everyone around. Throughout my pregnancy, my family and relatives kept telling me about how life would change. Comments like “Beta jitna sona hai so le”, “Go on a romantic date with hubby as it may become a rare thing in future”. I could not really understand the true sense of those comments till I delivered my bundle of joy.
Delivery was definitely not easy, it was a lengthy and bone breaking experience. After being in labor for almost 20 hours I had to be operated.
In India, privacy and rest to the mother are all secondary to social greetings. As soon as my child was born, the house was flooded with relatives. My son was born in the festive month of October, just a week before Dipawali. So there was festival rush and that meant more relatives pouring in!
I was packed in a cozy room with my son, while family and friends were all making merry. I could not comprehend the situation.
My husband was a big support and help but my emotions suddenly took complete hold of me. It was overwhelming to take care of my child – my most adorable gift of life. But I didn’t know how to love him. In fact, I could not why there was so much excitement in the family because my limited got limited to feeding him, changing him, putting him to sleep and barely getting to sleep.
Tears would start flowing down my eyes at the drop of a hat. I could not relate to myself. I had always been a strong woman, someone who doesn’t break down till easily. One evening I cried a lot because my husband came home late and I was too scared to take care of this new responsibility by myself.
Watch this video which explains about Postpartum Depression
My friends would visit to congratulate me and all I could do was cry. It felt like this was the end of the world. My life was only in this room. The Indian tradition of not going out of home for 40 days after delivery only adds to the entire situation.
My mind was only clouded with fears and my imagination went to everything negative. There were days when I would not be able to feed, my child as I could not produce enough milk. There were many helpless situations like these and the reason was I wasn’t very calm and happy from inside. I was just not at ease for even a minute. I would also question myself a lot – Have I overdressed my child? Is he fed well? Should I change his diaper now? What if he rolls over and suffocates?
At night in between the feed sessions and broken sleep intervals, I would still wake up several times just to see him breathing. I remember making so many frantic calls to the pediatrician and lactation consultant. All they told me was “Calm yourself! You are transferring stress hormones to your child”.Everybody around me thought it was just the change of lifestyle or lack of sleep but I felt it was more than just that, something abnormal, something uncontrollable.
My family tried to help several times by offering to babysit Aryaveer so I could rest. But my mind and nerves were not sane. The minute he was out of my sight, I would get even more restless. And when he was with me all day, I felt suffocated. It was like I was just surrounded by sadness and negativity. I concluded nobody understands me, nobody cares and nobody can help me.
One day my husband asked me to help him with a spreadsheet. I looked at him totally puzzled. I realised I had forgotten all of that. In my office, I used to handle several such spreadsheets in a day. But now I had tagged myself ‘useless’- incapable of anything. My de-shaped figure added to the misery.
My question to moms of toddlers was how did you survive? What keeps you going? Will I ever get back my life? Will it ever be OK? I hate to admit it but at that time I used to envy women who did not have babies. Which is so not true in my current state!
I started to read about what was going on with me. I researched online, read e-articles and books. And I concluded I had PPD. I had read about postpartum depression earlier but was it this tough? Was it really happening to ME?
Want to know more about Postpartum Depression? Click here
I gradually opened up about my situation and discussed with my best friend and my sister. Learning that many women battle the same scenario, made me feel less lonely. By now my son was 3 months old.
It was hard, but I pushed myself to take small breaks from motherhood and relate more to myself and my life before pregnancy. I deliberately tried to enjoy. But it worked. My stress level did go down. I also started exercising. Yes, that really helped in gaining back my confidence.
Well, all this turmoil gradually had to go. I started to get better and my nerves calmer with time. The bond I had with my little baby also grew stronger. I think it only got completely ok when he was a year old.
Today I am a super happy mom of a 5-year-old son. I am an entrepreneur and love spending quality time with my family. I love my Life. Loving my son and being loved by him is the most fulfilling experience, nothing can beat that.
When I look back, I realize hormones play such a vital part in our lives. Big changes often take time settling in. All I needed was expert counseling, people to understand my anxiety and depression and probably medication.
Here’s to all the moms of newly born, please do not feel alone. Please seek help. Please do not overburden yourself with responsibilities, take it easy. Please share. ….its truly liberating!
Watch this video which explains about Postpartum Depression
Want to share your mommy experience with other moms through words or images? Become a part of the Moms United community. Click here and we will get in touch with you
The author of this article is a mom Rieti Manachanda.