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Even as you cope with baby blues or postpartum depression, it is still possible to develop a bond with your child. Learn how.
Even as you cope with baby blues or post-partum depression, it is still possible to develop a bond with your child. Learn how.
No matter how much you look forward to it, having a baby is stressful and will turn your world upside down. When you bring the baby home from the hospital, everyone expects you to celebrate and be joyous. But instead of being filled with new mom bliss, what if you feel like weeping? You may have a case of baby blues.
Mood swings, irritability, and anxiousness are fairly common in new mothers. “If postnatal blues are not taken care of, it might progress into post-partum depression,” says Dr Veena Choodamani, consulting gynecologist at SK Hospital, Trivandrum.
The typical symptoms of postnatal blues include sadness, irritability, sleep and appetite changes, and general moodiness. For mild cases of postnatal blues, all you need is the support of your loved ones and plenty of rest. In some women, baby blues can progress into postpartum depression.
“Though the exact cause of post-partum depression has not been identified yet, it is commonly seen in women who have a family history of depression, a troubled marital life, poor spousal and family support, and those who have had a difficult pregnancy or childbirth,” says Shivani Misri Sadhoo, a Delhi-based psychologist.
Depressed mothers tend to interact very little with their babies and are less likely to breastfeed or play with the child. Though they can be very attentive at times, they often slip into phases where they do not feel any attachment at all. This inconsistency in behaviour can disrupt the emotional bonding process which is very important during infancy.
New mothers with post-partum depression often feel guilty and blame themselves because they’re unable to establish a loving bond with the baby. This aggravates the situation and the mother spirals into a deeper depressive phase.
But even with post-partum depression, it is still possible to establish a deep and loving connection with your child. Here’s what you can do.
“Nutritious food and vitamin supplementation, such as vitamin B and folic acid, can help improve the mood. Emotional support and understanding from the family members also helps the new mother come out of this depressive phase,” says Dr Choodamani.
Get all the help that you can so you may feel ready and be able to bond with your newborn. Ask your friends and family members to pitch in, have nutritious food, and get adequate sleep.
“Stress is the biggest trigger of depression and anxiety. Try breathing exercises like pranayama to bring your stress levels under control,” adds Ms Sadhoo.
Don’t feel guilty that you’re not able to tend to the infant 24 hours a day. What matters is the quality of time that you’re able to spend with the baby. By putting the unrealistic expectation of being with the baby all the time, you are depleting yourself in a way that makes quality bonding impossible. All that your baby needs is complete presence and attention during the times that you are taking care of her. This will develop the attachment and the bond will grow stronger.
If you make a mistake, let it go. Do not dwell on it endlessly. Mistakes are a normal part of any relationship, and that includes relationship with your baby as well. When you develop the ability to acknowledge your mistake and initiate the process of repair, it will help build a strong and deep attachment. Mistakes give you the unique opportunity to learn about humanness, forgiveness, and unconditional love.
Some mothers refuse to get treatment for depression because they do not want to be on medication while breastfeeding. Remember that your infant will survive on formula, but if you let your depression go untreated it may cause more damage to the bond with your child. Take care of yourself first so you are in a position to take care of your child.
There is an expectation on mothers all over the world that the only way to truly love a child is to breastfeed. Some mothers may want to breastfeed but cannot because of low supply of milk or because the baby cannot suck, while some others may simply not want to. For certain moms who are depressed, breastfeeding is what helps them feel connected to the child.
To breastfeed or not is a very personal decision that you have to take on your own. If you are breastfeeding, take this opportunity to enjoy the connection that you’re building with the child. If you are not breastfeeding, stop feeling guilty about it.
Post-partum depression is an important issue that needs to be brought out in the open. Many new mothers experience mood swings and depression, yet it is still not talked about openly. The good news is that help is available. It is possible to develop a strong bond with the baby even as you are coping with depression.
Image source: post-partum depression by Shutterstock.
Nisha Salim is a self-employed writer and a social media junkie. read more...
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
Every daughter, no matter how old, yearns to come home to her parents' place - ‘Home’ to us is where we were brought up with great care till marriage served us an eviction notice.
Every year Dugga comes home with her children and stays with her parents for ten days. These ten days are filled with fun and festivity. On the tenth day, everyone gathers to feed her sweets and bids her a teary-eyed adieu. ‘Dugga’ is no one but our Goddess Durga whose annual trip to Earth is scheduled in Autumn. She might be a Goddess to all. But to us, she is the next-door girl who returns home to stay with her parents.
When I was a child, I would cry on the day of Dashami (immersion) and ask Ma, “Why can’t she come again?” My mother would always smile back.
I mouthed the same dialogue as a 23-year-old, who was home for Durga Puja. This time, my mother graced me with a reply. “Durga is fortunate to come home at least once. But many have never been home after marriage.”
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