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Before The Dawn… How Post Partum Depression Crept In Slowly And Broke Me

Posted: August 29, 2020

In the joy of a new addition to the family, people easily forget the new mother’s mental and physical stress post-delivery. Have some compassion?

The entire city awaited the rain after a long scorching summer.

I was all set to deliver my baby that Friday morning and it was a C-sec.
My husband and my in-laws were all passionately waiting for this bundle of joy, our very first. After the operation when they showed her to me, all I could sense were her soft cries.

The entire family was ecstatic. She brought us so much joy and love. Everyone was happy, smiling. I held her and all I could think was how grateful I was for this precious baby.

The nurses came to help, they taught me how to breast feed and guided through all the tests and procedures. A few close friends and relatives also visited by.

It was getting dark, and even though it rained that day, people seemed to be cheerful. I looked at her with wonder, learning how to hold, how to feed, what to do, what not to do and so on. She was a calm baby.

At night my husband and my mother-in-law stayed with me. The baby seemed to sleep peacefully, feeding in between.

You’re doing it all wrong…

I woke up to her loud cry and started feeding her. When she pooped my husband cleaned it.

We all slept only to wake up to another loud cry. I fed her but she still cried. Every 30 minutes or so it kept happening. I was exhausted and my breasts hurt from feeding so much. The nurses had taught me how to feed properly and I was trying to get it right.It went on, that day and the next day and days after that. She kept crying and I kept feeding in pain, dreading every feed.

My mother-in-law adored her, who doesn’t when their grand child arrives…. I was happy for that. But this innate affection was causing me stress.

She kept repeating to me how I was supposed to feed and how I was doing it wrong, despite the nurses having taught me. Every time the baby cried, she urged me to feed her, even if it was just after having fed her already.. All the stress, along with my hormones left me sad and distressed, despite a new born baby.

I once secretly asked the nurse to teach my mother-in-law the right way to feed. It was so kind of her to do that, my mother-in-law then stopped pressing me about it.

The first night we were home after the baby, my mother-in-law was in our room to take care of her , while we all slept. As usual I woke up to a loud cry, my eyes were burning and I was exhausted and distressed. I said, “Ah when I can I sleep…” (No, I don’t feel guilty about saying this. And neither am I cold hearted, my baby is still important to me) My mother-in-law got so angry and upset at this that she said a few things to me. I fed the baby again and same thing kept on happening until she finally fell asleep, before dawn.

After all, I was a new mother…

The next day I decided to take control, I asked everyone to sleep and sat with the baby all through the night. I felt better. No judging, no complaints. I slept for a while in the morning and stayed with her all through. But it wasn’t getting easier. Everyday I had to hear so many things like “now why this, do that”, There were misunderstandings and miscommunication, my husband wasn’t talking to me, and all this took a big toll on me.

My mother-in-law was nice, she cooked us food, and took care of other things. I am still grateful for all of it, yet the other part wasn’t a pleasant experience. There’s saying in Tamil, “Nallathukku than solren”, meaning “I’m saying this only for your own good” but this line has been wrongly justified by her several times, creating unwanted pressures.

After all, I was a new mother, I wish things were dealt in a more compassionate way. Amidst all this, people forget the mother’s mental stress and physical drain post-delivery. Every one has so much to say, judge, and they even talk behind our backs.

They assume a mother should be so happy after delivery and forgo everything for baby’s sake. But, post partum depression is real. I felt sad, I felt all alone. I fell into this dark abyss but luckily didn’t lose my sanity. I got back, took control, read voraciously all about babies and got a grip. But even now the memories continue to haunt me.

Image credits Getty Images via Canva Pro

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