Having a baby has always been my lifelong dream. It was such a delight to see things falling into place as I found the best man and got married to him. The next order of business, of course, is to have kids. I always wish for two girls and a boy to complete my own family.
Before long, I started to experience the initial signs of pregnancy, which was confirmed after a few days. My husband and I were ecstatic. After nine months of a roller-coaster ride, my little girl enters our abode. With her, we are officially a family.
My Pregnancy and Childbirth
The excitement that was omnipresent for the last nine months climaxed with my daughter’s arrival. This was supposed to be continuous with all the things we needed to do for her. After all, she is fully dependent on my husband and me for everything that she needs to survive. I was expecting a non-stop feeling of elation over her presence.
However, it was different. In fact, my feelings were the opposite. For one, breastfeeding was not as seamless as it seemed for many. I expected it to happen naturally for both me and my baby, but my body was not producing enough, and my little one was needing more. I had mastitis, and the need to constantly hold her to feed her gave me severe arm nerve pain.
My physical inability turned into emotional problems and psychological disabilities. I started feeling inadequate, which led to depression. I also developed anxiety and had trouble sleeping. It was at this point that I started to realize that I am going through postpartum depression and will have to do something about it before it gets worse.
What is Postpartum Depression?
As the term itself implies, postpartum depression is the feeling of being sad and empty after childbirth. Some women report having these feelings right after their babies leave the womb, and this is common. It usually takes place during the first week after the delivery. However, some women continue to have the same feelings even after two weeks, and this is where it should be a source of concern.
Some of the known signs of postpartum depression include:
- Feeling moody or restless
- Wants to cry all the time
- Lack of interest or connection with your baby
- Lack of energy to do anything
- Less to zero appetite
- Lack of focus
- Feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness
- Lack of interest in anything especially in activities that you previously enjoyed
- Does not want to interact with anyone even family members
- Aches and pains such as headaches and stomach pains
- Thoughts of hurting yourself and/or the baby
As for me, I started feeling a few of these signs and symptoms about a month after I gave birth to our beautiful daughter. At first, I kept convincing myself that the tiredness, fatigue, loneliness, and other negative emotions I was feeling were all normal and just part of being a new mother. However, when these feelings continue to last for another 2, 3, 4, and more weeks, I knew that something is not right and I have to take an action.
I did not tell this to anyone. I thought that they will only judge me or invalidate my feelings. I also believed that delivering a baby is supposed to be a happy event, so having these negative feelings may not be acceptable to other people.
PPD is Real! When to Seek the Help of Professionals
Despite what other people say, postpartum depression is a reality that afflicts many new mothers, and this includes me.
This mental illness affected my brain function and negatively impacted my behaviors, as well as my physical well-being. The feeling of sadness, emptiness, and flatness was present every day and ended up getting in the way of my daily activities. At some point, I even felt like I had no connection with my baby, making me question why I had to even give birth to her in the first place.
At this point, I made a decision to seek help. I needed to talk to someone. I needed to express my feelings to someone who is willing to listen and understand what I was going through. And that is why I decided to go and see a psychiatrist who can listen to my thoughts without passing on judgments or being critical of me as a mother experiencing depression.
What My Psychiatrist Advise Me
When I noticed how my negative feeling started to get debilitating, I decided to do something with the situation. I was able to get to a brilliant psychiatrist through a friend’s recommendation. With the doctor’s advice and guidance, I have started to gain control of my emotions and, consequently, my life. Along with the regular sessions with her, I was also advised to do the following.
- Get as much rest as possible by sleeping whenever my baby is asleep.
- Get help from my husband, family members, and friends when I need it, so I don’t have to overburden myself.
- Go out by myself, with friends or with my husband.
- Socialize and network with other new mothers, so I can be with people who might be going through what I am going through. It will help me feel understood.
- Avoid any major changes in life for the time being as it will bring additional stress when I already have a good amount of that from taking care of the new baby. Postponing them will help me focus more on my little one and myself.
- Open up to my husband, family, and friends about what I feel. This will help them understand me and help me with what I am going through.
With professional help from my psychiatrist, things have become better. I am able to enjoy the presence of my baby, who is growing day by day. I am also able to be the happy, outgoing and positive person I was before my pregnancy.