Unfolding the mystery of an unknown enemy: Postpartum depression
Once upon a time, there lived a girl who was smart and quirky and full of life. All she sought for was happiness and good health of her family. Her parents one day decided to start their quest to find the right guy for their lovely daughter, and they succeeded too. It was meant to because both the girl and the boy liked each other and decided to go ahead and enter the covenant of marriage.
There she was our full of life girl who changed from being ‘miss’ to ‘mrs’ but everything else remained the same. Months flew by and our girl was now well settled in our married life. Then that day came where she felt something was different, something was changed. She was anyways late by 10days and decided to pee on the ‘stick’ and confirm her doubts & there it was… stick showed positive sign and she danced with joy… she was soon going to be a mother. Next 9 months were full of anticipation, happiness, and preparation. The whole family was beaming with joy. The girl was happy but at the same time was a little scared and overwhelmed by all the responsibilities that came along with the child, but nevertheless, she pushed all those emotions behind and stayed positive of what was to come. The day finally arrived, her water broke and so did her husband’s calm nature😂 but she remained calm in spite of the labor pain, directed her husband as to what to do, called the hospital to inform them about their arrival and grabbed the bag she had kept ready for weeks and rushed to the hospital. Labour was harsh but she fought like a warrior and the gift was her beautiful daughter, everyone was elated but she felt something missing…. something was not right…. she didn’t feel any maternal affections towards her child, she neglected it as tiredness and dozed off. In the middle of her sleep, she was woken up by the nurse who had brought her child for nursing, but the girl didn’t want to still she went ahead, as the baby was feeding she felt more and more angry for no reason at all. Soon the baby was brought home but our girl still didn’t feel anything for her, she actually started hating her kid. She felt as though she was the reason for all her troubles. Weeks passed by and the feeling of hatred grew. No one in her family thought of getting any medical advice completely giving a blind eye to the situation. Alas, that was their biggest mistake, cause one day our girl took her child and threw her babyfrom the top of the building putting an end to the life of that child whom she nurtured for 9 months in her womb.
Scary isn’t it?? Do you think this is just a story? A story where a mother is a villain who killed her own child? Sadly, it is not just another fictitious story, but a harsh reality that many of us are sadly unaware of or worst ignore it completely. So what is this condition u ask?? It is a mental condition called postpartum depression(post pregnancy depression)
Okay, hold it right there if by any chance the thought crossed your mind that “hey mental illness you said that’s never going to happen to me” then stop right there. Yes it is a mental illness, yes the chances are more in a woman who have bipolar disorder but no that does not give a guarantee that you and I are exempted from ever suffering from postpartum depression.
So how can help ourselves or others? Well let us start with educating ourselves on this topic.
WHAT IS IT?
When a woman gives birth to a child there is another “title” added to her already existing long list which is of a MOTHER and this one is her more cherished and prized. However, at that moment when she is overjoyed with her bundle of joy, there is something strange going on inside her, and that something is the hormones inside her which are having a party of their own and in turn disturbing this poor woman. Hormones are our best and worst enemies right from our teenage years and sadly right after pregnancy, it derails us to an extent where I might not even realize what is happening to us.
Postpartum depression is a form of depression which affects women after childbirth wherein there are signs of anxiety, sadness, and disorientation that lasts for more than two weeks.
Now feeling a little excited, anxious maybe even some sleepless nights are a common occurrence in new mothers and is referred to as BABY BLUES. However, if the condition worsens and continues for more than two weeks it is then referred to as postpartum depression and needs immediate medical attention.
- Feeling discouraged
- Urge to cry even without any reason
- Difficulty in concentration
- Lack of bond with your baby
- Loss in appetite
- Criticizing oneself for not being able to take care of the child
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts of harming own baby
- Lack of interest in any sorts of pleasure
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
- Hormones: like mentioned before hormones have a major role to play. PMS in women is world-famous for “mood swings” we women face and the culprit being hormones all along. Similarly during pregnancy hormones are at a peak ensuring that your body is taking care of your child within, however, once the need is no longer their hormone levels fall which cause the imbalance and thus the mood swing which in some extends to depression.
- Stress: stress one of the “millennial” problems is a culprit yet again
- Past history: if there is a history of depression before, chances are more of postpartum depression.
If you are a new mother and have observed the above-mentioned symptoms in you that has lasted for more than 2 weeks, it is advisable to consult your doctor who will be able to diagnose your problem accurately.
Treatments normally involve medications like antidepressants which might help. However, it is not advisable to be your own doctor.
Counselling is another treatment which helps the patient in need.
All in all, pregnancy is a beautiful journey that a woman embarks on and at the end of the journey is the gift of life that a woman cherishes for the rest of her life. However in between this if there is a roadblock in the form of postpartum depression the best way to get ahead is to tackle it head-on, instead of ignoring it, it is advisable to come out and admit it and get yourself treated.
Till next time, stay healthy, think positive, love yourself and those around you and slay the world.
- Swedal Pais Fernandes