Feeling low right after you have been out of labour may seem like a matter of exhaustion for a while. That said, if it continues for more than a week – you might be facing postpartum depression. This condition is a common phenomenon. I did not understand it for the first time I experienced it, simply because I had become a mother for the first time.
I soon realized, that like me, many other first-time mothers were going through this and feeling frustrated. This is largely because we don’t usually talk about depression as such; on top of that, postpartum depression is a rather nuanced issue that requires understanding of what a mother is going through, when she is going through a pregnancy.
To start with – identify the issue for what it is. Are you not feeling an emotional connect for your newly born baby? Are you experiencing severe mood-swings? Or are you facing other issues that reflect your emotional state, much like insomnia or an eating disorder? All of these might be a result of postpartum depression. Please note – I and many other women will speak from their own experiences. You should consult a trained doctor for this and only then proceed.
Some women prefer the route of medicines to deal with it. I personally found a totally different route. Here are my top three tips for postpartum depression that helped me get out of postpartum depression and made me a better human being, as well as a better mother.
For 3/4th of a year, since the day I got to know that I was pregnant, my life had centred itself around my about to be born baby. My husband was very supportive throughout my mood swings even then. But, I myself was not in connect with who I used to be, before getting pregnant. I always had an identity of a working woman or a life partner. Becoming a mother just consumed me entirely. Yes, it was a very rewarding experience, but I wanted my other roles to be there in my life.
My husband understood this. So, we started giving me half an hour of time every day. He would simply sit with our little princess in the drawing room, even feeding her with the bottle if required, and I would sit in my room. I initially started with meditation to focus on the thoughts I was having. Slowly, I was feeling good enough to get back to my hobbies of painting and dancing. Now, when I am with my child and husband, I am just with them. And for this half an hour, I am just with myself.
Obviously, your kid might not be old enough to walk with you. But just going for a stroll with your kid in the stroller can also be therapeutic. I missed going for the runs and the long walks. My body needed some time to get back to its earlier shape, in order to support my athleticism. But taking these small steps towards redeeming the same lifestyle made me feel alive again. And spending time with my little princess just made me feel more positive about the world in large.
In the last nine months, I had experienced severe mood swings. Apart from the items that were proscribed by the doctor, I pretty much gorged on everything else. This had tossed my diet and my control on my appetite out of the window. I started with the diet to just feel healthy and find some structure in my life. And, it worked.
Going through a pregnancy is probably the most rewarding phase of your life. Giving birth to a life and raising it is probably the best feeling I’ve ever had. Don’t let postpartum depression get in your way of experiencing this happiness. Happy Parenthood!