Preetha has stepped onto the balcony for a breath of fresh air. Her 12th floor apartment offered a fabulous view of the national park and it had never failed to cheer her up. Yet The baby had just gone to sleep and Preetha was hoping, actually fervently praying, for at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted calm. A surge of guilt threatened to overwhelm her for wanting a ‘break’ from the baby and thats when she realized Postpartum Depression Is Real.
You are human too, her rational mind interjected. She quashed both the voices in her head, took a deep breath and leaned against the balcony railing. As she leaned closer to the railing, she had a strong urge to jump. Preetha was taken aback by how strong the impulse was. She tightened her grip on the railing and took deep breaths. In a minute, the feeling had passed. Preetha ran inside as fast as she could. As she sat there on the bed, drenched in sweat, heart pounding at galloping speed and tears pouring out of her eyes, she knew it. This was not an emotional reaction to a tiring night with the baby. Preetha knew that this was postpartum depression. There was no denying it anymore, she needed help. Preetha decided to book the next available appointment with a psychiatrist.
Postpartum depression is real.
According to the World Health Organisation, in developing nations like India close to 20% women experience some kind of a mental disorder after the birth of a baby. Add to that the kind of utter disregard women in our country show for their own physical and mental needs and you have the perfect combination for a spiraling mental health condition that goes unchecked.It is common for women to experience ‘baby blues’ anytime after delivery till the baby turns about a month old. Typical symptoms include sudden outbursts, mood swings and a feeling of depression.But if these symptoms do not seem to be getting better or improving even after six weeks, then it is a sign. And if these lows are accompanied by thoughts of harming self or the baby, it is best to seek the help of a professional as you realize Postpartum Depression Is Real.
The social stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues is tremendous. A lot of women are even made to feel guilty about having anything but saintly ‘feelings’ for the baby.Remember, it is your journey with your baby and if you need help with that, there is no shame is asking for it.And it all begins with the first and most important step – acceptance.
Here are a few other things that you can do to keep depression at bay:
- Ask for help with the baby! You don’t need to be a super momma.
- Make time for physical activities in your daily routine – exercise, walks or anything else that works.
- Rest, rest and rest more.
- Eat right and stay hydrated.
- Meet other moms, join support groups and use these forums to express feelings and seek help!
- Seek professional medical help from a practising psychiatrist if the symptoms are overwhelming
Most importantly, remember that postpartum depression is curable!
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