Personal experience on postpartum depression

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This picture of me and my children taken 3 years ago brings back so many memories. It’s reminds me of how hard I fought postpartum depression so it never set in at the time. The birth interval between my kids is just a year and a half so you can just imagine how motherhood was challenging for me during that time.

My biological mum whom I was hopeful will be the main support in my motherhood journey unfortunately got very sick when I was just 3 months pregnant with the second child (boy) and my first (girl) was also just a few months after a year old. I had to rely on my own energy first of all, my husband, my step-mother Inlaw of blessed memory and my husband’s mother. At some point even my father Inlaw had to also baby sit so I could go to work in peace. These people I can’t stop thanking them each passing day.

Just imagine all these number of people holding the forth for me as a new mum. It means that, clearly motherhood derives a lot of energy from not only the new mum herself but from the people around her provided they gladly avail themselves or agree to support her if she requests for that.

On the other hand, if the support is not coming by the people around her and if she herself doesn’t psyche herself very well for the motherhood journey, easily she can end up physically, emotionally and mentally drained or insane.

After child birth, a lot of things happen, even more complex than you can imagine. There’s the cause of high emotions, reactions and behaviour exhibited by the new mums. Most often than not, these characteristics some new mums demonstrate is not intentional if you ask but until you have been there or have knowledge about Postpartum depression you will never understand them hence you see society, their own families resorting to name calling, name shaming, unhealthy comparison between them and other new mums who had or having it easy.

A lot of new mums go through different faces in their lives during this period but sadly do not even know what it is they are going through or what their sudden behaviour can actually lead into. So we need the education on Postpartum depression just as we do for Malaria.

If you are a new mum and your emotions often run high, if you constantly have mood swings, cry over little things, have little or no sleep at all and sometimes anxious and over reacting over nothing, please take it easy on yourself because these traits can actually trigger postpartum depression and this is very easy to come about after child birth.

Seek for help with your child/ children when you feel you can’t do it alone anymore. Here’s the main reason why I always tell young women to always look out for men who have compassion in choosing a life Patner. A compassionate man supports his partner during her pregnancy and after she delivers. He endeavours to play a significant role every step of the way in the motherhood journey. Babies are made by two people and so it’s only in line that, a father just as the mother helps to cater for them from the moment they come into the world. A father can organise the most expensive baby shower, naming ceremony for his child just to show how much he loves his partner but if he’s not helping with common basic stuff like taking turns at night to feed a baby who barely sleep at night, cleaning, cooking, running errands in getting essential needs for the house and also helping to take care of other children so mummy can focus on the new born. Is becomes overwhelming for the new mum if you ask me. So also seek for assistance before you die trying to do it all alone when you know it’s beyond you.

Don’t be too concerned about how your body is looking after birth because it takes quite a time to get back in shape whether through caesarean or vaginal birth. Just as it took 9 and sometimes over 9 months to carry a baby your body also need to heal before properly getting back in shape. This is a gradual process, don’t stress or force it and don’t think you can never catch up at your own time.

Also, if you have a troublesome partner, kindly do yourself a great favour by not focusing on his ways that troubles your emotions other than that it will have a great effect on your wellbeing and even the baby in the long run. Your relationship problem shouldn’t be transferred to the new born and the thoughtfulness. The way you can avoid this, is to not focus on the negative energy of your partner. Deal with your issues if you have the energy just make sure you the emotional and mental strength to do that otherwise you shall be depressed. However you feel is the same way your child feels, they feed on your energy and vibe.

Do not be hard on yourself if you are struggling to get the right way of taking good care of your new born. It’s okay, it’s fine, you are a new mum with no hands on experience so mistakes are bound to happen. Take it one day at a time, do not let the noise of other mothers and those who are more experienced than you get a better part of you to make you feel you are terrible at motherhood. Nobody was born with the best motherhood practices, we all learn to become masters. Desist from comparing your motherhood journey with the other new mums because it’s not a competition. You and your newborn are very different from that new mum and her child. Every child grows different and are unique and special in their own ways.

Lastly, attend your postnatals and return home without having to compare another woman’s child’s growth, weight, size, colour, beauty or handsomeness etc. to your child. When you do this and your child doesn’t look like that of the other woman you are comparing with, you begin to question yourself so much and might end up even not liking your own child. Ever heard of new mums who kill their own children? It happens everything and this is one of the things that trigger that.

Postpartum depression is real, some mothers we think are the strongest and look “yummylicious” are probably suffering depression.
You and I may also be suffering or might have suffered that without knowing.

Let’s be kind to new mums with our words, actions, gestures and support. If you see any sign of depression, speak to a health professional.

Motherhood is a priceless, beautiful and joyous journey. Enjoy it with all the maximum excitement but may sure you are sane.

Story by: Adizah Kuburah Braimah
(Social Activist).