I discovered about my first pregnancy in the most unexpected fashion. The news brought a lot of excitement in the house given that it was the first baby in the house. My pregnancy was otherwise smooth and I and my husband were eagerly waiting for the baby to arrive. My man was the kind who would never raise his voice on anyone and took care of his relationships including his wife. He stood by my side throughout the 26 hours of induced labor that I went through while I was screaming like a monster.
Despite that she was a much anticipated baby and a beautiful one too, when the nurse brought her to me for the first time I did not see much of her. Two hours later when she was brought to me again in the room I requested them to keep her in the nursery. At that time my mind could not process why I am least interested in taking a look at her and bonding with her. I thought I am just exhausted and needed rest. The next day when a visitor asked me about who does she resemble I had no recollection of her face. I could still not realize my baby blues were already laying their foundation.
I moved to my mum’s place for the next six weeks. I rested for the most part of the day while my mom looked after my daughter. For some reason I felt unable to connect to her. I could not believe I popped this little human out of my body. I got depressed for unexplained reason and found myself crying in the middle of the night. Two weeks later I started to gather my senses back and decided to breastfeed my daughter, who was being given formula until now. However, I discovered I was unable to do so and a new wave of depression took over me. What changed this time was that unlike before, I became an oversensitive mom from a totally disconnected mom.
Six weeks late I packed my bags to leave with mixed emotions. I was happy for my reunion with my husband but I was nervous about my ability to look after my daughter.I went back home to a typical desi household where my father in law had already invited his two dozen relatives to meet the baby. As days passed, things became worse because I found everyone wanted to have the baby all the time while I just stared in their face. I was once also mocked for being an “over” mom. Needless to say I took it all on my husband. I became dull day after day trying to get the hang of my changed lifestyle. Even the pettiest thing would trigger my mood and there came a point where I heard my husband shout at me. My marriage became rocky. My husband decided to seek professional help for me after one of his colleague hinted this could be post partum depression (PPD) – and this actually was.
I scheduled an appointment with a psychologist who took me in for counseling sessions. Being a medical professional she understood my situation and spoke to my husband too and we had a few marital counseling sessions too. She helped me with coping up my strategies and guided me to come out of it, meanwhile explaining my husband how he needs to be my support system. Soon after, I started working from my home, and started socialize with my friends. Going out for lunches while my mom babysits my baby was a decision worth it. I can’t say if I have fully recovered because my situation became a lot worse due to not realizing that its Post Partum Depression, but I can safely say that I am in a much better situation. My relationship with my husband has revived and I have bonded well with my baby. There are still bouts of depression that start kicking in at times but now I am self sufficient in coping up under such circumstances.
Baby blues and PPD are real and can have grave repercussions if not dealt with timely. I gained more control on myself through help and my own efforts but two years later, to this date I do at times get panic attacks. Unfortunately most new moms are not aware and there are many marriages that suffer due to lack of awareness on the subject.
The experience is a first hand narrative of a Post partum depression survivor Sana Adnan.