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Some mothers suffer from postpartum depression, and it can be frightening. But it is something that nobody wants to talk about!
For starters, I had not wanted to write about this topic. Writing about it would mean ripping my heart open, exposing my deepest fears out to the world. Yet, I decided it was time to talk about it when another woman decided to kill herself instead of simply talking about it.
Allison Goldstein, a 32-year-old teacher who was a new mother to a 4-month old baby girl. She had everything going for her; she was beautiful, talented and a great human being. One day, out of the blue, she decided to kill herself. Nobody saw it coming, but it is said that she was a victim of PPD – postpartum depression.
When I discussed it with my mom, she blinked – what had depression got to do with being a mother? For someone who has had an easy motherhood, it was hard to grasp the concept of PPD being very real. Though it is being widely discussed in the US as being a real disease, India is yet to accept its existence.
Since ages, it is assumed that because an Indian mother is always helped to care for her newborn, the chances of her slipping into postpartum depression are slim to none. The Indian culture of having family for support at this crucial time, is by far the most grateful gift a woman can ask for.
Yet, there are cases where new moms are going through PPD silently, and most of us push through the pain. Nobody talks about it for fear of being judged, for fear of being guilty, for fear of being a bad mom, for fear of feeling inadequate. We don’t want to admit that there are times when we simply want to walk away from everything only to get our minds clear. I have had a few moms discuss with me about how depressing their lives are and how scary it is to admit to oneself the truth of living a monotonous life.
There have been times when I have been terribly scared to care for this little human being, there have been times when I have simply wanted to curl into a ball and hide, there have been times when I have simply wanted to talk about my fears to someone. In fact, I have wrestled with feelings of hopelessness on a number of days. However, thanks to a wonderful husband, supportive family and darling friends, I have never been an emotional wreck.
Do these feelings make us bad moms? No, they don’t. The fact that we are being judged from day one of our motherhood, tells that we are already under lot of pressure as we strive to be the perfect parent.
Sadly, life isn’t a series of smiling photographs that we post on social media. Life, is much more than that.
Sometimes, a mom just needs help. There is simply nothing wrong in asking for help. It doesn’t make her a weaker person if she asks for help. It isn’t a sign of weakness to talk about fears.
But for long, we have been told not to confess our feelings, because it is assumed that motherhood should be a wonderful phase which has to be celebrated by all means. Though it is the most beautiful phase for a woman to live in, there are these bouts of depression that sometimes loom over moms. If you have been lucky to get help, it is the greatest gift a mother can hope for.
If you or anybody else is going through a tough time, please reach out for help. Be aware that you are a strong mom, always wishing the best for her child. It is a mark of strength to ask for help.
If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, here are some of the helplines available in India. Please call.
Aasra, Mumbai: 022-27546669
Sneha, Chennai: 044-2464 0050
Lifeline, Kolkata: 033-2474 4704
Sahai, Bangalore: 080–25497777
Roshni, Hyderabad: 040-66202000, 040-66202001
Published here earlier.
Image source: shutterstock
Being a compulsive reader with a passion for writing, Chital Mehta believes that life is
Hi Chital, thanks for bringing this. True that society heaps a lot of stereotypes on people and how they should be behaving in a certain way. I still remember how hordes of relatives used to turn up to visit the new born. But some of them, especially the elders expect the mother to wake up and talk to them. Actually the mother might require sleep and rest, especially when the baby is asleep. To top it all they will expect her to be dressed in sari, rather than her comfortable clothing. Some respectable auntyjis would try to show their caregiving skills and end up waking up the baby. Many do not realise that nutritious food, good sleep and close family members to talk to, are all that you need to overcome the initial blues. And for more depressive symptoms taking psychiatric help with family support can go a long way.
Good article and do write more
Thanks for your message. It’s great to know that you liked the article. means alot. will keep writing more.
thanks for your feedback.
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