Thank you for helping me through PPD (pre/post partum depression)

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.

Whatever your parents have, will ultimately be yours!

“Hi Kanchan, how are you?”

“Hi Vikas, I am fine. What happened? You called so late!”

“Yes Kanchan, I don’t know how to say this, but I think, we will have to cancel our booking for that flat.”

“Oh, why? what happened? Wasn’t the broker suppose to get the paperwork done before our wedding? And now with just a week to go, what is the issue?”

“Even I don’t know. That broker just called and said, we need to give the remaining 20 lakhs within a week, or else the booking will be cancelled and we will loose our token money too.”

“Oh, but how can he do that now? With the wedding preparations and all, already we have a lot on our heads. How are we going to arrange 20 lakhs now?”

“That is what I was thinking. May be I should cancel the booking. Yes 10 lakh token money will be gone, but it’s impossible to arrange 20 lakhs in less than a week. I will call him first thing in the morning and cancel the flat. It’s just that, I did not wanted you to suffocate in our small flat, with a joint family, so I booked that flat, to give you a comfortable life. But I guess, we will have to let it go and look for another one in a few years.”

“Vikas, 10 lakhs is a big amount. Can’t the broker refund it?”

“No, I asked him and he refused.”

“Vikas, wait for sometime. Let me call you back.”

“Vikas, I just spoke to Dad. He is ready to give 20 lakhs. He said, he wanted to give a nice gift for the wedding anyways and was thinking of buying a car. But a house sounds even better and he said he will pay for it. He wanted to give the entire 30 lakhs, but I refused and told him to give 20 lakhs only.”

“No Kanchan, I can’t accept the money from you. I wanted to buy the flat for us, with my own money and I would have easily paid the installments, but this broker messed the whole thing. No! I better cancel the flat. How can I take money from your father?”

“It is OK Vikas, remember, your parents are my parents and my parents are your parents. And what shame in taking help from parents? Dad is happy to help. Let him.”

“Ok Kanchan, I don’t want to, but if you are pushing so much, then I will let him help, but I will return the money soon.”

“Ok baba, whatever you want to.”

“I love you, Kanchan.”

“I love you too,Vikas.”

………x…..x……x…….x……x……x……x…..

“Vikas, Can we buy a small car for me? It takes more than 2 hours to reach office by bus. If I have my own car, I can drive to office and reach in less than an hour.”

“Ok, I will think about it Kanchan.”

“Kanchan, I have a better idea, Why don’t you bring over your old car from your house, that you used to drive before you got married? You can bring that car here and use it, meanwhile, I will book another, new one for you. This way you won’t have to wait for a new car.”

“Yes, I can, but Mom drives it now.”

“Oho, Mom use it to go to kitty parties and buy vegetables. She can always book a cab. She doesn’t use that car much. It mostly stands covered in the parking. Moreover just talk to your Mom and see what she thinks about it? I am sure, if she know, that you need that car, they will not say no to you.”

“Yes, they will not say no, but it doesn’t feel right to keep asking them for something or the other. We still haven’t returned the money we took for this apartment.”

“That is because you said your father wanted to gift you a flat and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, or else, I would have returned the money long back.”

“Yes, but you only said you will return……”

Vikas was angry by now “Kanchan, I gave you option to live in our old house, with the family but you chose to live seperately in an apartment. It was your choice and you asked your father for the money. I did not force you to take money from your parents and now you are making me feel as if I made you take money from your family. Plus you are the only daughter and your parents have many properties and so much money. What else will they do with it? Who else will they give it? Whatever is theirs, finally you will get it. So what is the big deal about it?”

Kanchan felt those words cutting through her heart like a dagger. It was not the first time that Vikas said all this. It has been two years to their wedding and she heard all this quite often and she always kept quite because somehow, Vikas made it all seem right. Plus she also didn’t want to fight with Vikas over all these lame issues. After all he was right. Her parents were rich and buying her a flat or that diamond set that she liked and Vikas sent the pictures to her mother, without telling her and her mother transferred the money to Vikas’s account and Vikas bought that set for her on their first anniversary. She came to know about it much later that Vikas took the money from her mother and promised to return it but never did.

Or that trip to London. When Vikas was going to London for some office project for 10 days and Kanchan wanted to go too. What will she do here alone anyways and they were newly married and wanted to spend time with each other and her father booked Kanchan’s ticket because Vikas couldn’t afford a return ticket on such short notice, but he wanted Kanchan to go with her, so he told her father and he happily booked the tickets and transferred money in his account for shopping too.

Or that new furniture or fridge or down payment for a property in Delhi. Vikas always took money from her parents on a promise to return, but he never did and her parents never asked for the money because they wanted Kanchan to be happy.

But money can’t buy happiness. She looked around her house. Ninety percent of things in this house were given to her by her parents. She was not sure how long this will go on and she hated to take money from her parents. She was always an independant girl who made her own money, from a very young age and never took help from her parents. Her parents always taught her to be financially independant and have self respect.

When she met Vikas at an office event, she thought he was a man with values and strong convincing power, that is the reason he won all the awards in the Marketing and Sales department every year. He was a man of words. The way he presented himself, Kanchan was impressed and fell in his trap.

Vikas knew she was from a rich family, while Vikas’s father was a clerk in the Income Tax department. He lived with a joint family, in a small government quarter, all his life and Kanchan’s big house and even bigger car, her carefree attitude, her lifestyle, her beauty and dressing sense, everything about her impressed him and he managed her to fall in love with him and finally marry him. He knew his life was going to change and it did.

First he bought the house and then he furnished the entire house in the most luxurious way. Then he bought a big car and many foreign trips in just two years of marriage. He loved Kanchan very much. She was a very nice girl who respected his family and took genuine care of his parents. But all this was secondary to him. He was always ambitious and he felt suffocated in the house he lived all his life. His dreams were big and he wanted to achieve much more and Kanchan was the key to all his dreams. He always kept her happy and pampered.

Kanchan understood now but she felt helpless. She touched her grown belly. It was just two more months and the baby will come. She wondered how much her parents still have to pay after the baby comes. A tear ran down her cheeks and fell on her belly. She knew what she had to do. She went inside the room and started to pack her bag. She didn’t want her baby to be like father.

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Love n hugs.

Beginning of the end (Part 1)

Sheena was always the most popular girl in every school she ever went because of her father’s transferable job. It was mostly because of her carefree attitude, her knowledge and majorly because of her looks. She got many modelling offers, but her parents wanted her to study, after all she was a bright student, and her parents had high hopes from her. She wanted to be a commercial pilot, just like her mother and unlike her father who was a fighter pilot. She had a thing for everything glamorous. She loved to dress up and put on make up and go to parties when ever both her parents were flying.

She was already making plans for her upcoming 16 birthday party. Her parents also wanted to make it extra special for her sweet sixteen. Sheena wanted to throw a big party for all her friends. Many of her friends from other cities she stayed in were also coming. She still had to select a dress and she told her parents she need a designer dress only and her parents agreed.

Her life was perfect and she was the hot topic in her posh school in South Delhi. Everyone wanted to be her friend, to know her, to be a part of her life. Most of the girls were jealous but still wanted to hang out with her. Her parents were open minded and they gave her space and respected her decisions. She was their only child. Although they pampered her a lot but she was a good kid and they knew it.

Today was the annual function in the school and she was the showstopper of the fashion show organised by sponsors which was a big fashion brand in India. She was getting ready backstage with the other professional fashion models who worked for the brand.

“Hurry up girls, 15 minutes to go.” Said the choreographer.

Sheena was ready and was taking tips from the make up artists when one of the models asked her to join a few others in the washroom.

Sheena and her two friends from school who were also participating in the fashion show went inside the washroom.

“Here, try this.” Sheena was handed a white powder by one of the models.

Sheena knew exactly what it was. She had seen many of her friends in other cities doing it.

“No way! How did you bring it inside? We are going live in 10 minutes and we can’t be doing this. If someone saw us, we all will be in trouble.” said Sheena.

“Hey you Miss Precious! Don’t act smart with us. If you want to go on stage then you have to take it or we will make sure you end up looking like a fool on stage.” said one of the models.

“And what’s so bad about it anyway? It helps you loosen up and gives you courage to face the audience. Most of the models do it and it only helps us gain more confidence on stage.” said another model.

“Hey Sheena, let’s try it. I always wanted to see what is all the fuss about the drugs anyway.” said Komal, her classmate.

“Komal, I have seen my friends doing it and ruining their life. I will not suggest you doing it, nor am I going to.” Said Sheena in a stern voice.

Just then she felt two hands holding her and she felt the pungent taste of the white powder in her nose and mouth. Her head started to spin for a few seconds but soon she gathered herself and saw everyone in the washroom snorting the powder just as they were called on stage.

The fashion show was a success and Sheena was praised for her charismatic presence on the stage. Everyone was highly impressed by her confidence and the way she walked the stage, like a pro.

As she walked back to the green room, she saw the same models who forced her the drugs.

“We told you… it’s awesome.”

And despite the fact that she knew how harmful the drugs were, she smiled back to them and thanked them.

Sheena knew now that if she wanted to succeed fast, she need more confidence. And she knew where to get it from?

Son, don’t de-root us!!

Rakesh and Rajni had a full life together. People knew them as a happy, 60 year old couple. They met in college and eventually got married. Rakesh was a government officer and was recently retired and so was Rajni. She was a teacher in a government school, for almost 25 years now and had taken a voluntary retirement. She wanted to be with Rakesh now.

Both had a beautiful home, in a posh locality in Kanpur and four children. Two girls, Rohini and Rashi, and two boys, Rohan an Rishi. Girls were both happily married and boys were both studying. Rohan was in America, in the last semester of his MBA, while the youngest Rishi was doing MBBS in Bangalore.

It was a rainy evening. Rakesh and Rajni were sitting with some friends in the garden under a shade, while enjoying rain and having tea and some snacks, when the phone rang. It was Rohan, from the US. “Papa, I have got a job. I am still on training but I will be paid for it. I am sending you tickets. You both have to come for my graduation next month.”

Rakesh was very happy for the success of his son and Rajni couldn’t stop boasting about it, but Rakesh knew it will be difficult to travel so far, as Rajni had a knee transplant few months back and she still had problem sitting, with legs hanging for long hours. Rajni saw the worried look and smiled back at Rakesh. They were going to see their son after two years. Nothing could stop them.

She then called Rohini and Rashi, who told her that Rohan had already called and invited them, but they both had to decline because Rohini had a 5 months old daughter and Rashi had her IAS exam coming up soon.

Rakesh and Rajni had to leave in a month. They got the paper work done and Rajni started preparing pickles and sweets of Rohan’s choice. She was very happy.

It was a hot sunny afternoon when the phone rang. Rakesh answered the call. It was an unknown number from Bangalore. He thought it must be Rishi, but what he heard from the other end froze him for a few moments. It was unbelievable. He stood there with the phone on his ears, even after the call got disconnected, with tears flowing down his eyes. The call was from a police station. Rishi was dead. He met an accident and died on spot. The police had called them to claim the body.

They both cried for hours. Their world had shattered. Rishi was the youngest and brightest of all the kids. He loved his parents too much and never wanted to go to Bangalore. But Rakesh pushed him to go and study. Rishi promised his parents to open a nursing home in Kanpur so he can stay close to his parents. Rakesh cursed the day he pushed Rishi to go to Bangalore. But the inevitable had happened and nothing can be done now.

He had to make arrangements. He called up a few of his friends, who came immediately. He then called up Rohini, who lived in Lucknow. She was close by and can come sooner. Rajni needed her. She was inconsolable. Rohini can handle her well. He informed Rashi in Mumbai too. She promised to be on the next flight and meet him in Bangalore. He left a message informing Rohan, in America, too.

After the cremation, their house was crowded with friends, relatives and family, visiting them for the next 15 days. Rajni was devastated. Rishi was the youngest and the most pampered one. The void that his demise has created in their life can not be filled. The girls had to go back home after a few more days. Rohan never made it because he was in the middle of his last semester exams and training for his new job.

Time to go to USA was fast approaching. Rakesh and Rajni although didn’t wanted to go, but they wanted to meet Rohan and not break his heart, by not being there on his big day. They thought being with Rohan might comfort their grief-stricken heart.

At the graduation, Rohan introduced them to his American girlfriend Becky. They looked happy together. From the day they had reached America, they never got a chance to spend some alone time with Rohan, because of his training. He was always busy and they both felt lonely. They never sat together and hugged each other and talked about what happened with Rishi.

After the graduation ceremony they all went to a restaurant to celebrate. Becky came along too. Over dinner Rohan said what Rakesh and Rajni feared was preordained. Rohan wanted to marry Becky and settle in the USA. He had already applied for the green card. “Ma, Papa, I want you both to shift here with us. I will take care of you. As it is after Rishi, what will you do? You both have retired now, so you can shift easily. We can have a good life here.”

Rakesh knew this was coming. He could see a change in Rohan. He knew in the back of his mind that Rohan will not return home. They both grew older, much older in the last two months. Spending lonely time in USA made them even more worn out. They only met Rohan over the weekends. Rohan took them site seeing and shopping, but that did not made them happy. They wanted their son. They wanted to sit at home, eat home cooked food, and talk and cry and mourn over Rishi. But that never happened. Now all they wanted was to go back home.

As soon as they entered their house in Kanpur, they cried. They cried over the loss of their two sons. One was dead and one was never coming back. Their dream of running behind grandchildren and having a house full of laughter, had died too. So much loss was unbearable for them. They both sat and cried for hours. They now had to spend their life alone with each other. But they were not ready to leave their home and hometown and go spend an isolated life in the USA. At least they had friends and relatives here. There in America, they would be absolutely alone. They were not sure if Becky would stay with them. They were happy for Rohan but they were happy here in Kanpur. Here, they knew people and people knew them. They can talk and meet with their friends here. But moving to America was a far cry.

Now they had to make up their minds to live their life only with each other. Of course, Rohan, Rashi and Rohini, will visit from time to time, but it is going to be just the two of them for a long time, together.

They were still unpacking, when the doorbell rang. Rakesh opened the door. It was Rohini, her husband and the baby at the door. Rakesh and Rajni welcomed them with a big smile and a warm hug. It was the beginning of a new life. They did not plan for it but now this was their new life. But at least they were happy in it.