Looking back, I can say, yes it was THAT. Most definitely, I had postpartum depression. Even though it was not easy at the moment, admitting that what I felt was beyond the usual baby blues new moms face, was a vital part in my recovery.
A lot of people don’t want to admit, even to themselves. After all, the birth of the baby is the moment you have been planning for, for so long. Everyone around you is in celebration mode but you don’t feel up for it. You say, its fatigue. After all, your body has gone through a lot. And, in around 8 out of 10 cases, you just might be right. Many people experience baby blues because of fatigue and the mammoth hormonal shift that a new mother goes through.
However, if you don’t feel too good after 1-2 weeks post-delivery, it might be time to discuss this with your gynecologist. Don’t wait for your 6 weeks appointment. If, however, stepping out of home seems like a big deal, give your doctor a call and tell her how you feel. She might be able to make a quick assessment of your situation and ask you to come in or give it some time.
As a society, we have a lot of stigma attached t mental disorders and we are asked to keep it under wraps by well-meaning family and friends. But the result of this is that, we often don’t get timely help and the path to recovery is slow, painful and miserably alone.
If I were to share only one advice with any other mother suffering from postpartum depression, it is this. If you don’t want to share it to the word, fine, but do not hide your condition from your family, friends and neighbours. These were the three pillars of strength in my case. Now I think breaking down in front of my neighbour wasn’t bad after all. It ensured that I had pleasant surprises (read: piping hot food) and good company in those long afternoons when I was alone at home with a newborn. Family, well, that’s a different level of support altogether. My parents, siblings, in-laws don’t stay in the same city as us, but man, they made themselves available at all hours of the day and night and were willing to hear me ramble about the same non-existent problems day after day. That was more helpful than any counselling sessions that I took. Not that counselling didn’t help. But more about it in another post.
This is first of the many posts I am planning to write about my postnatal depression/anxiety and recovery from it. Apart from being cathartic, I hope it is of some help to any Indian mother having postnatal depression.