New Mothers, PostPartum Depression is Real. Don’t Ignore It!

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My first pregnancy was most enjoyable. I read everything about pregnancy from cover to cover and planned dozens of things for my baby. Then one beautiful morning my baby was in my arms. It was the most beautiful moment for me. My family took complete care of the newborn and handed me the baby only for breastfeeding.

But somehow I felt something was missing. I would burst into tears frequently and complain about the sleepless night and breastfeeding, whine that no one visiting at home enquired about me and pick up fights frequently with my husband and parents. This is was a disturbing phase until my OBGYN told me about PPD, PostPartum depression. (Story of a mother, battling
through PPD)

Postpartum depression is a very common thing worldwide. However, in India, many mothers either don’t know about it or find it difficult in accepting. The mother’s health hardly gets attention after the childbirth as the focus suddenly shifts from mother to the newborn. Family, friends and the mother herself keep the baby first over anything else. No wonder very few mothers actually realize about the depression they are suffering from. This is extremely dangerous both for the mother and the newborn.

PostPartum depression is an illness that develops between 1 month to 1 year after childbirth. The women may feel anxiety, irritable and teary after the birth of the child. This condition is often seen as normal. After all the feeling of anxiety and irritation is common due to hormonal changes, difficult labor or problems in breastfeeding. The feeling is common among new mother and will last for a few days. However, if the feeling remains for more than a week or gets worse, then it may be a sign of PPD. The mother needs a supportive family and partner to help
her get through it.

Signs of PostPartum Depression

● Feeling low and anxious
● Exhaustion
● Loss of appetite
● Negative thoughts and feeling failure as a mother
● Mood swings and irritation
● Decreased sex drive
● Sleeplessness
● Worrying about the baby excessively
● Feeling scared of being alone or just going out of home

There are many signs that a woman suffering from PPD may experience. In certain cases, the women may get thoughts of leaving their family or their partner leaving them. In an extreme scenario, this could lead to self-harm or doing harm to the partner or the baby. In any of the case, PPD needs to be diagnosed soon.

PPD Affects 1 in Every 5 Mothers In India, You Are Not Alone

The cases of PPD reported in abroad is far more than in India. Celebrities often come out and talked about their PPD phase. However, in India, no one talks about the mental state of the mother. Research shows there are many cases of PPD in India but it’s usually brushed under the carpet. The health of the mother remains the concern only till the birth of the child. Moreover, in India, we give the goddess status to the mothers and expect them to be ‘natural mothers’. They can’t have moments of doubts and weakness. No wonder, why the thought of not doing enough for the child comes so easily in the mother’s mind. The situation gets even worse when the insensitive relatives taunts the new mother for not producing enough of milk or not taking ‘good care’ of the baby. Making them feel guilty and insecure.

The new mother needs support not labels

Motherhood is a beautiful and emotional journey. The new mother needs immense support from the husband, family, and friends to sail through this journey. With the adequate support, the new mother can recover from the Postpartum depression.

The first step is to sleep or rest whenever possible. Give the responsibility of the baby to someone else to sleep, relax and enjoy soothing music for a couple of hours. This doesn’t make you a ‘bad mother’. The next step is to eat a well-balanced diet on time to avoid a dip in your sugar levels. Also, go out for a walk and meet new people. This will help you to get some moments of respite and a chance to make friends.

A healthy mental state is important for a healthy life. So acknowledge your symptoms and talk to
your husband and family about it. Continuous love, support, and care can help you come out of
this phase. Also, talk to your doctor to guide you through this phase.

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