I am going to be super honest while writing this post. After delivering a child, our hormones just go for a toss. Even we, ourselves, are not aware of what might happen. PPD (Post-Partum Depression) is different for every Mom. Some may not even feel any sort of anxiety or depression at all; some may struggle to bond with the baby while some may feel trapped. My heart goes out to each mom out there. I may not know where you have been, but I do understand. Nobody can fathom the depth of our inner turmoil.
My experience with postpartum depression was a little different. I absolutely adored my child from Day one but somehow all my anger was directed towards my husband. We as a couple seldom fought, never called each other names and never slept without resolving a misunderstanding. As they say, we never took a fight to bed. Post the birth of my child, it all changed. The badmouthing (majorly from my side), my temper, my mood swings, the anger, the dissatisfaction, the feeling that he got to go to work when I was home with the baby, everything made it very difficult for me to keep quiet and him to stay patient. The feeling that everyone’s life is still going on in the same way, while mine had come to a standstill, was too much for me to bear. Do not get me wrong, I did and do love my son with my whole heart. However, I was nostalgic and irritated at the same time, thinking about why only my life had to change, while his did not. My closest confidant had become my sole competitor! The more I thought about it, the deeper I started going into a dark zone. It started with the fights but gradually I started withdrawing myself. It just kept going downhill. Thanks to my darling sister (though much younger, but so much wiser) for the reality check, I understood that this would continue if I did not do something about it. A few changes in my attitude and schedule helped me in my fight against depression.
- # Alone Time: Joining back the gym, going on long walks, even an hour of sweating it out doing Zumba by watching a few YouTube videos helped me a lot! I felt I was finally doing something for myself, my own body. That one hour of physical activity and a little bit of meditation went a long way in calming my mind and body.
- #A Hobby: I started writing whenever I used to feed my child. It became a medium to let out my feelings of exhaustion, frustration, anger as well as happiness and excitement. It liberated my mind from the constant worrying and complaining,
- #Pause and Breathe: Whenever I got mad or felt let down, I used to pause for ten seconds and start taking deep breaths. This pause ensured that I didn’t speak out something which I would regret later on.
- #Believing that this too shall pass: As a first-time mother, I had grossly underestimated the struggles of motherhood, especially the initial few days as none of my friends or family had actually shown this side of parenthood. As a social media addict, all I believed in, was a utopian world where the baby would just drink milk and sleep. I was unknown to colic and reflux and sleep regressions and how much exhausted I would be, by the end of the day. However, as time passed I realized how quickly it gets over.
- #Appreciating each other: I consciously started acknowledging his efforts, however big or small. I realized how much he had missed being told that he’s a good dad.
- #Ignoring the mess: Honestly, giving household chores a miss and getting someone to help with laundry and cooking, was exactly what gave us some time. Also dividing the baby’s awake time as well as nap times ensured that both of us could relax for a while.
- # Talking: Talking and catching up with my husband, friends and family helped me come out of the dark hole. Honestly, it took a lot of effort as initially I felt that I was barely surviving but slowly it became a lot better. Just asking my husband how his day at work was and discussing my day, started making me feel good
- Self-care: I cannot stress this enough. A woman’s body endures a lot, A LOT, during pregnancy and weekly massages, therapies and spa time helps us recover not only physically but also mentally. Thankfully, I realized it soon and took out at least half an hour a day for healing my body.
It took time and a lot of patience (majorly on his side) and courage to correct myself and see how his life had also changed. I am lucky that I had the support of my family to come out of my darkest zone and start enjoying motherhood like how I really should have. I finally started appreciating the father of my child and stopped seeing him as a third person, a competitor. Sometimes a relationship just needs a reboot to make it fulfilling and enthralling. I believe that the best time of our lives starts now.