PPD or postpartum depression is quite a real thing like pregnancy. It impregnates your mind with vulnerabilities of sorts and exhausts your body to an extent that you lose a grip on yourself.
The first thing we need to do is acknowledge that PPD is real. It is not a myth nor a fiction spun out from the exhaustion of pregnancy. But the fact is nobody wants to talk about it, of course, who would want to open a can of worms???
So here I am penning down the way I dealt my Satan. Here is my humble attempt hoping to help a needy mother dealing with postpartum blues.
Identifying the trigger
Uncontrollable crying bouts, frustrated self, whirlwind of negative thoughts accompanied by the tormenting scars of C-section, I thought it was a phase and it shall pass. Guess I was wrong. That phase continued for a lot longer time than I imagined until I realized my triggers to this cause.
I wasn’t a fully breastfeeding mother and thanks to our society for formula shaming the mother! Needless to say, I was at the receiving end. The guilt of not being able to breastfeed tore me apart. This, I realized, was one of the triggers.
My body was everything to me. Not that I was size zero, but pregnancy made sure my size could never be zero again. I had a huge belly during pregnancy and with a c-section, my belly became even more stubborn and refused to get back in shape. And every time someone commented on my belly, I felt shattered. I cringed looking at myself in the mirror and it deterred the confidence that I previously had on my body.
The stretch mark riddled saggy belly was enough to break hell loose. I envied women with flawless bodies, despised the perfect-looking moms on social media, and hated myself.
At 25, I was busy changing diapers, embracing pukes, and struggling with an infant whose cries I could not decipher. My life seemed like a dystopian reality where things were strangely going wrong. I could not be the working woman I always wanted to be. I missed working and the old independent life I had. This was another trigger that ignited my demons.
It was pertinent for me to identify the triggers. This way, I was able to anchor my mind to the shores of quiet, before being struck by a hurricane of thoughts.
Staying away from negative people
This was and still is the hardest part – isolating yourself from negative people. People especially women are so obnoxious to the point that they drive you nuts with their unsolicited advice. I was warned about such people and I made sure I was cut off from such people.
Motherhood is as new as infancy. If only people appreciated the new mothers in their efforts or lend a helping hand in taking care of the newborn. Instead, most mothers are ridiculed, mocked, and unappreciated! Stay away from any brag-mouth that spews negativity. The least you want is to be around people whom you despise.
Indulging in an activity of your choice
My depression resurfaced while I was in Dammam. I had to single-handedly take care of a three-month-old ( Of course, the husband was there but quite nonchalant). It felt as if my soul was plucked and planted in an unhappy place.
I no longer got my lone time. I could no longer go out and be myself. I was stuck in an apartment all day long with a three-month-old and Amazon Prime. Truth be told my husband was also of no use in helping me deal with PPD.
My mind was pillaged with diabolic thoughts and I was quite helpless. That’s when I started to make my self busy. I never let the demon take over my sanity for that I needed to be occupied.
Since going back to work wasn’t an immediate option, I resorted to painting and cooking. As cliché as it may sound, I became a Victorian housewife adept in art and culinary skills. Nonetheless, it served the purpose and kept me on my toes.
I love to write but the procrastinator in me delayed my passion. With depression like an uninvited guest, I had no choice but to evade it through journal writing.
My journals were more like a vent and I found solace in this new hobby. I typed out all my angst, ambiguities, remorse, and hatred in the form of daily journals.
I got this Idea from Desperate Housewives and it immensely helped in putting a rein on my hysterical thoughts. As they say, the pen was indeed mightier than the sword.
This also helped with my erratic sleep patterns. As I came clean through journals, I felt light and relaxed.
Getting some me-time
Go out, have fun and pamper yourself. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Getting some alone time can become quite a luxury with an infant. However, it is quintessential you find time for yourself and calm your mind. Nobody can make that time for you.
I am so indebted to my parents for giving me my space, for helping to babysit my child, and for being more than just grandparents. Going out and getting some me-time helped me sew my tattered self. It weaved a bold and confident me.
It is not a sin to help yourself with a cup of happiness. To raise a child it is imperative that the mother is sane and happy.
Address the elephant in the room
PPD is not something to be hushed. It is quite ironic that despite being an extrovert, I found it difficult to talk about it. For one I didn’t know what I was going through.
Social media and pregnancy literature have eulogized motherhood to such an extent that talking about depression is deemed blasphemy. (Well at least in my place).Thanks to my cousins, my school friend, and an old well-wisher for reaching out to me I started talking about it.
I vented my emotions and fury, my apprehensions and ambiguities. I slowly felt respite in openly talking about it with friends and in groups. I was not ashamed; I was rather empowered talking about it.
Depression is a lemon that life gives you either squeeze it or make lemonade out of it. There certainly is a way out. If you can’t deal it by yourself, seek help. There is nothing to be ashamed of seeking mental help!
As surreal as it may sound, you can tackle the demon! Worry not, if your mind has gone for a toss and lost its sanity. It is a temporary phase and hang in there, mommas. You are all doing a fabulous job raising your little ones.