Maya has been married for two years now. She and Prateek had an arranged marriage in Bhopal, which was hometown to both of them. Maya was an ace lawyer in Delhi and Prateek was rapidly climbing the ladders of corporate world. Both were ambitious and made a bomb of salary. Their families were after them to start their own family, as the biological clock was ticking and Maya was 35 while Prateek was nearing 40, and their parents worried, if they delayed even more, they will never have a baby.
Although Maya wanted to wait some more but she gave in to family pressure and concieved a baby. She wanted to keep working through the pregnancy, but she had complications and was given bed rest for the entire first trimester. She started to work from home and was mostly stressed, as she was trying to rock both the boats at once. She had anxiety most of the times, as she was scared she was not doing enough at work, also she had confusion, fear and stress that she might loose the baby if she was not careful enough. She discussed the issue with few of her friends, who had babies, and they told her it must be hormonal imbalance.
Being a workaholic, she tried to work as much as she can from home, but she could not concentrate and her doctor told her to take full rest as mental pressure can lead to fetal loss. She took 4 months leave from her office and spent her time reading books and watching TV. But it was not enough.
For the first time in years she missed her mom. But she couldn’t stay with Maya, as she had a business to run in Bhopal. She promised to make arrangements and stay with Maya after the delivery.
After Prateek went to office she felt lonely and irritated. She couldn’t sleep much and developed the feelings of guilt or worthlessness. She felt unaccomplished and felt she was not good enough. She spoke to her doctor about it in the second month. The doctor told her, it could be prenatal depression and referred her to a psychiatrist.
Prateek was seriously worried about Maya by now and took permission from office to work from home. He also called his mother, who was happy to help and came instantly. With regular therapy sessions and love and care of Prateek’s mother, Maya started feeling better and less lonely. But still something was off in her.
She gave birth to a healthy baby boy. After the delivery, she was sad most of the time. She got irritated on lame things and was overwhelmed most of the times. She was ready to cry at the drop of a hat. The whole feeding the baby and changing diapers was a little too much for her. Although she loved her baby to the moon and back, but she felt trapped and on the edge all the time. She did not feel like talking to anyone or getting ready or going out. Even if Prateek asked her to leave the baby with his mother and go out for a movie, she refused. She was confused and disoriented.
Prateek understood the urgency of the situation only after he tried to find online the reasons behind her such behaviour. He knew it was time to visit the psychiatrist again.
As soon as she reached the psychiatrist, Maya started to cry and told her how she felt. She told the doctor she felt as if she failed as a mother. She took the blame of C-section delivery. She said she did not try hard enough. She wanted to give birth the natural way and it was all her mistake. She told the doctor she felt like a cow, feeding the baby all the time. She said she failed in giving proper care to the baby due to which the baby cried all the time and she could barely sleep. She was tired of cleaning, nursing and changing diapers all the time. She wanted to go back to her normal life and spend time with her husband too. She was irritated most of the time and wouldn’t let Prateek comfort her or even hug her. She hated her bloated body and wanted to wear nice clothes and spend some time in saloon getting her nails and hair done, but she never got free from the ever wailing and crying child.
The doctor helped her with some medicines, as well as, making a chart and a proper schedule for her. Prateek and his mother were both very supportive and they also took help from a nanny, who would take care of the baby, so Maya could catch on some sleep. The doctor advised her to meditate and join some support groups.
Prateek offered to take time off work and help her as much as possible. Over the next few months, she was exercising more and getting more sleep and had significant improvement in mood and energy.
Maya was feeling better soon enough because of the support she got from her husband and both the families. She was also thankful to her doctor. She cared for her child and family even more so, but now she took care of herself too. She went out with friends and Prateek on dates. She went to saloon. Slowly she started working again too. With the help of her doctor, family and husband, she got her life back.
So ladies and all you new moms out there, don’t shy away from taking all the possible help. Only a healthy and happy mother can give birth and raise happy healthy children and we all know there is nothing more important to mothers than their kids. Every mother will have a different journey and every woman will have different symptoms. I’d like to encourage women that they are not damaged or different, that they are not failures as moms or wives. Guilt can be a very damaging aspect of PPD. So go out and talk to your husband or friends,family or doctor, anyone but express your feeling and let it all out. Have faith that you are not alone and there is help just round the corner. All you have to do is reach for it.