As I pushed out my baby, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. The journey was over. But then how wrong I was! The journey had just begun. And so had my troubles. Apart from intolerable pain in the nether and other unmentionable areas, anytime crying, pooping and sucking baby and never-thinning crowd of people doling out advices, there was something that was happening to my mind. The changes were so subtle and so slow that they went unnoticed. I don’t know what had taken over me when my daughter was born, but it felt as if I had been possessed by some crazy malevolent spirit.
I didn’t like people touching my new born (well, I am sure it happens with all new mothers).
I didn’t like the crowd of well-wishers that surrounded me all the time (though it wasn’t all the time, it certainly felt so as it happened especially when I was exhausted and wanted some quiet time alone).
I didn’t like the constant stream of advices, suggestions and horror stories from mothers of teens/grownups (though they were well-meant for most part, they were of another time, another era. I want to bring up my child my way; want to make my own mistakes).
So there were times when I sulked, when I was irritated and in foul mood. There were times when I ended up saying a few sharp words. And there were (most) times when I regretted them. As my husband and my mother-in-law were the two constant features in my life post-delivery, they usually found themselves at the receiving end. Though I am not proud of my unusual behaviour of those days, I now feel it was a depression of some sort. Of course, my apologies did the damage control but I believe the ever-changing hormones, the demands of a new born baby and the exhaustion made me do certain weird uncharacteristic things.
People give you a bucket full of advices when it comes to breastfeeding and new born care. But nobody talks about how the mind of a new mother is affected and how to take care of it.
Here is what you can do:
- Read good books, comedy serials/movies that will help reduce some stress and make you enjoy.
- Ask somebody trustworthy to take care of your child for sometime while you go for a stroll/exercise. The release of endorphins or the happy hormones will keep you in a cheerful mood.
- Talk to your husband, confinement nanny, MIL or SIL, or anybody you trust to limit the number and timing of visitors. Tell them you need rest.
- If you find that visitors still outstay their welcome, take matter in your own hands. Don’t be rude but lie down and pretend to be tired or lazy. Or better still, tell them it’s time for the baby’s feed. If they are smart enough, they will take the hint.
- Make it a point to mingle with people a few hours of the day. The interaction will keep you stimulated and help people overcome your reticent behaviour.
- If you make mistakes and utter rude words, own up. Apologize.
- If after a few weeks, you still feel down, depressed and irritated all the time, talk to your doctor. There’s nothing wrong in seeking medical advice for post partum depression. It may help in averting larger problems in the future.
What were your post-partum experiences? Did you have a cheerful time all through?