Postnatal depression: How new mothers can cope?

You just delivered a pretty little bundle of goodness and you’re holding that baby in your hand, but you don’t understand why you can’t stop fighting the tears. Others are looking at you, pacifying you, to let the tears of happiness roll, but deep down you know that these are anything but tears of happiness. This is exactly my situation the very next day my daughter was born. Postnatal depression is real and it happens to all new mothers.

Motherhood in itself is an emotional rollercoaster. How quickly the emotions convert from apprehension to reality, reality to excitement, excitement to worry, and finally worrying to depression is beyond imagination. Only a mother can tell you what it means to hold a baby in her hand and realize that now she lives for this little creature. For critics who think life doesn’t revolve around kids are either kidding themselves or are yet to be a responsible parent.

Coming back to postnatal depression, let me tell you my personal perspective and experience. The day my daughter was born, I was elated with quite a hint of sedation, due to the epidural. I had a C-section, so I could not cuddle her much. My milk refused to come in and that is what triggered my depression. I was trying to fit into the world’s definition of a perfect mom and unable to love my child in the way the world says the baby needs to be loved. Breastfeeding is where the bond begins – is all I read all over the internet or otherwise through friends and family. I was constantly tiring myself wondering what if I never breastfeed my daughter, will we ever bond then?

I expressed my worries to my mother, who did as any mother would. She consoled me and told me that these petty things will not even matter 10 years down the line. You cannot control everything about your body, do what is best for the baby and move on. But, me under the deep postnatal depression, could not control but sulk for days till I finally got a grip on myself.

It is not an easy situation, you are so clouded by your own insecurities that no amount of advice anyone gives to you will matter. It is just you who has to help yourself out of this depression. Here is how I helped myself:

•   Go away from people who are judging you for any failure that happened during the birth process. Be it breastfeeding,    
    premature baby, C-section, or anything. Trust me when I say we do not want any negative vibes near the baby or the mother.
•   Look at your baby and imagine a sunny day with her, when she will be a year old. Dream about the future and how you will 
    shape it.
•   Talk to people about your insecurities or why you think you are failing at it. The hospital I went to unfortunately did 
    not have a psychologist who talks to new mothers and helps them deal with postpartum depression. But, make sure this is on your checklist when looking for birthing options.
•   Stop thinking about the past and how it was before the baby. I used to spend hours thinking about why life changed and 
    why I took this decision. NIP THE BUD right there. 
•   Eat. You are a new mom and your body is still recuperating. Postnatal depression kills the appetite, so try and eat 
    smaller portions.
•   The final point is ACCEPT. Accept that you are suffering from postnatal depression. Denial will only make it worse. 
    After you are done accepting it, you can actually take some positive steps to end it.

It is a tough world for us moms, not just moms, parents too. We will be constantly judged and procrastinated for the parenting choices we make. This does not mean that we stop making decisions that we see deemed fit for our child. A positive attitude and a sense of humor is all you need to be with your baby. There will be times when you will not sleep for two-three continuous days and that is exactly when the sense of humor will be much appreciated.

Did you suffer from postnatal depression after birth? How did you deal with it?