I am excited to be back and to engage with my readers after a short blog break. The break was intentional as I decided to dedicate time to focus my attention on my start up. I have to admit that I have missed writing and hearing back from my readers.
In this post I have decided to tackle one of the most common but rarely mentioned and discussed issue of ‘Postnatal depression’. This past week I have had four new moms who approached me and shared their personal struggles and fight against this predator.The severity of this hit me when one of the moms mentioned she often fantasized about killing her baby and another stated how she shook her baby so hard in despair. This post is dedicated to my friends who have requested that I write as an effort to raise awareness and help reduce the stigma attached to this issue.
This subject is very close to my heart as I am one of those many million children who were caught in the whirlwind of maternal depression. My mother suffered severe postnatal depression after my birth and she has struggled with the effects of it since. I have not personally experienced the blues or depression with any of my pregnancies but I am well aware of the consequences that come along with the package.
Listening to the stories my friends had to share of their struggles in battling depression, I questioned why in the recent past this issue has become an increasingly common occurrence with new moms. I have realized that in our modern nuclear family setting with little or no help,the pressures of life added with balancing a home and getting used to a new baby can be one of the most stressful moments in the life of a woman. A combination of the above with the hormonal changes and many other changes to a new mothers lifestyle is a perfect recipe for depression. Many families suffer through this in silence as a result of lack of awareness or the stigma attached to mental illness. Through this post I attempt to tear down some social veils and offer facts on how common this phenomenon is.
Research states that 50 percent of new mothers suffer baby blues and one in every 10 new mothers suffer postpartum depression, which is a more serious condition.Postpartum depression results in intense feelings, and long lasting symptoms, which could occur anytime during the first year of birth. The symptoms could include intense sadness, anger, guilt, insomnia, fear of hurting you baby, lack of interest in things you enjoyed before etc. This requires support; counseling and early medical intervention. If you are reading this post and you are suffering through post partum depression you owe it to yourself and your children to get the help you need.
I have had many women address me as a ‘Super mom’ to which I have always responded I am no super mom. I have 3 boys aged 5 and under which is indeed a challenging age group to handle. I look at them as my most valued gift and source of investment. I try to give motherhood my best shot and to be there for my children. My honest confession is that there are many instances I have failed and made mistakes. As much as I enjoy home making and raising my kids, there are days with my boys around my home everything seems chaotic with broken sleep and an overwhelming sense of responsibility and a sense of inadequacy. A great learning that I have taken away is the understanding that there is no super mom or there will never ever be a perfect mother. Every mother needs the one and only super God and support from people around her to fulfill her call as a mother.
New moms i urge you not to come under pressure to be a super mom,to get everything right. My big advice is for you to relax your standards. It is more important to care for your wellness and for your baby than to get the home looking spotless or to prepare a fine dinner. Prioritize your sleep and eat healthy. Get out of your home and enjoy a walk in the park,coffee dates with friends ,shopping for yourself or indulge in any treat you would enjoy. There is nothing shameful about admitting that motherhood has taken a toll on you and you are finding it difficult to cope with the role.Seek help and delegate responsibilities. If you are suffering with symptoms leading to postnatal depression do not disregard your feelings and suffer in silence. Find courage to share with people you are comfortable with and count on your spouse. Learn to tune off the voices that says you are not getting this right. You are not a bad mother.You are finding your grounds and learning everyday as every mother does.
Your moment of breakthrough and healing is just around the corner. It will come with a combination of changing you’re thought patterns to reflect hope, caring for yourself and seeking a support group and medical help. There is a bright light and hope awaiting you. Never give up and never give in to this thick cloud. Choose to rise up, choose to be resilient, choose to slay your dragon.