PPD and how did I battle it!

We just celebrated the 4th birthday of our son Oliver and my heart still finds it difficult to believe our little mone` is 4 years old. As much as children are beautiful and lovely to behold – young mother’s do battle a lot of depression related health issues post delivery, many times misunderstood or unspoken. Today while listening to many young mothers, I can absolutely relate to them as I was one struggling with many post partum issues since the birth of our first son. Even as I am jotting down all that I am lead to share, I find myself in the midst of 3 sleeping children – all by myself as pandemic seems to be coming to an end and offices have resumed their workflow. Now we Mom’s have gone back to our infinite loop of responsibilities at home 🙂 

While it might sound a little feminist at times for those with the black glasses yet I personally believe that I cannot run this family alone !!! I cannot be awake at nights feeding a child and wake up early the next morning to start the household chores, I cannot bathe them, feed them and wash their potty all by myself. I cannot sit with them to teach them their lessons and run and play with them all by myself. I cannot put them to bed and wait for their tiny eyes to take their naps. Yes, I know I am their mother yet I am not a machine. For I too wish to wake up late at times as I feel tired, I get backpain when I carry them and do get annoyed when they cling to me. I wish to sip a hot cup of tea and not reheat it 3 times before I finally end up having an ice cold tea again. I wish to be out all by myself at times.. Oh yes I haven’t forgotten that I have 3 little children at home… YET…..Doesn’t my husband have them too? 

Does PPD – post partum depression effect only the introverts? Not at all!! I have heard it from many Moms – those who have had good family support and  even from those who got to stay with their moms post delivery. For me it began with our first son – There was this tiny little life with me, while I was still recovering from my vaginal birth through vacuum aid and not to mention, my breast abscess. I had to put him to sleep, feed him, and clean him up 10-12 times a day. I felt lonely, I felt chained. I refused to rejoice. I would cry looking at the child at nights. I did not wish to take even a single picture of him with me..! I was tired, depressed, lost, confused and yes locked inside the house!!

The society does put this imaginary handcuffs to the hands of a mother – Ahh.. See how can she leave her child at home and go out! She has to change the diapers as it’s not a man thing!! See how she is dressing!! For the matter of fact I had not once even touched a diaper in my spinster days, It was a completely new thing to me as well as for my husband. Just because I am a woman I do not automatically learn to do things the right way. I wish the society could be a little more patient with mom’s.

As for Oliver, he was a very light sleeper and so I would spend hours and hours together crying at night not able to handle him.. While it got a little better when we moved back to our home at Pune yet my husband’s work timings and actually location did take a toll at me. He would spend 3 hours on road daily, return late at night tired and leave early in the morning! Saturdays were lost as a day for buying groceries and Sunday at church! We did not have a house help !! As a mother just like many other mothers I had no break.

Today we value weekends a lot, almost like a sabbath we wait to have these days every week.. It’s Dadda’s day off and Oliver’s holiday as well..!! Our weekend begins at 7 pm – Friday soon after my husband logs off from his work. And one day while we were just planning about the weekend.. Oliver asked me innocently.. Mumma.. When is your holiday? And tears rolled my eyes… My holiday.. Oh dear son.. I don’t know?

Everything is so exciting about marriage – the romance, having a  house of your own and yes gifts from the Father.. Children. They add such a beauty to our lives yet if one has to be truthful about it..it’s not a very easy journey. We need to seek God’s grace every day and every single moment. And this doesn’t mean we will not fail. I end up asking God for His grace and forgiveness probably almost every day by the way I would have treated the children unlovingly.

The birth of our second son was different and due to the pandemic, my husband was at home. Oh what a difference it made!! As mentioned by a dear Sister.. If our husband’s know how to make love and be instruments to produce the children.. There is no excuse that they cannot change diapers or help with the children. So, there came a balance to our family. My husband started helping out with bathing the children and with the diapers. I always prefer to do the household work like washing the dishes and cooking by myself for it gave me some time off the children while my husband cared for them.

With the birth of Imelda, we were all by ourselves with a house help coming to clean and prepare a meal. I was even better this time. I boycotted the mummy looking and feeling nighties – I opted for the same regular clothes that made me feel so normal. Except for the fact that I had to feed a little life and a few physical pain here and there everything was normal. I was able to wash the dishes probably the following day of Imelda’s delivery if I am not wrong. Oliver joined his online classes a week later and we were back to square one. I didn’t have to lock myself into any room as we were by ourselves and I was free to feed the baby anywhere! There was more freedom and yes the phase did not seem to be a burden at all!! 

When we ask a man.. How was your day? Did you get to do something new today? He replies yes.. I took up an interesting challenge and finished it.. That brings a sense of satisfaction to them.. Yet mother’s are held at home doing the same task… Breakfast /dishes /sweeping /clothes /lunch /dishes /tea /dinner dishes… DAILY and 7 times  a week and 30 days a month and 365 days a year and without a break, incentive or appraisal!!! So how do we deal with it!! Glad for all the working mommies.. You are good where you are yet for us who have made the choice to care for our homes and be a home maker full time. How do we prevent getting consumed with life within a family that does lead to depression at times!!

There are a few things that has been really helpful to us
– Gear up your interests: This might seem impractical yet it’s worth doing. If there is a will – There will come a way!! I love writing! Love doing crafts and yes cleaning. Stealing some time here and there to furnish your desires is worth the doing.

– communicate with your spouse: Speak to him how you feel. There is no Glory in hide and seek. No humility in pretending to be who you aren’t… Trying to be a super human.. No! A mother needs help and most of it from a caring and understanding mate – her husband.

– go shop : very true..! I never would have written until I haven’t experienced it. It’s so true. Just going by ourselves without our children, the best being by walk or a bike or even car and getting the vegetables and groceries does bring a break to our monotonous lifestyle. Not just that. We get to interact with people. Bargain and upskill our talents in getting good deals 😉 and yes a time off – from being mothers…

– exercise and grooming : Oh yes and this would be least expected from me. I was known to be a simple woman. In a sense yes and in another sense no..! Just getting a hair cut or dressing neatly does boost us up. Put on your jogging clothes and go for an early morning walk. For all married women, there is only one man you need to please and look attractive to and that’s your husband. I know of quite a few sisters whose husband’s like them to wear jewellery or clothes of the latest fashion. There’s nothing wrong it. As for me I love to wear the clothes my husband likes to see me in. He hates to see me uncomfortable wearing fancy clothes ( especially saree wherein I am more concerned about covering parts of my body rather then being composed). He likes me dressed up in a decent T-shirt and jeans or a comfortable churidar and I love to dress that way. Look at the sky, observe the person next to you, read the menus on the restaurant, look how a labourer takes care of his family, watch the lazy dog sleeping whole day and acting busy at night.. Oh just observe people around you and bring them back home.. Share with your spouse your extensive meeting.. Your time out.. Oh how much I get to share with my husband when I go out to buy vegetables and end up making pathetic deals like the one I made last week. Bargained pomegranate for ₹90/kg and asked him to remove one whole pomegranate because he had asked to pay ₹100 for 6 pomegranates.

– cry: Yes cry when you feel like. It’s not a sin. It’s not grumbling. Sometimes life gets so hectic and beyond our control.. I cry.. I often cry when I find that I fail to get Oliver write v the right way instead of ^ this and I often cry when I am unable to sit by myself to even eat my meal. At times I lock myself in a room to eat food peaceful because even as I take my plate to eat and sit down I find two heads leaning on my lap. I cry when I find I am weak.. I cry a lot… Yes.. It’s normal. I had watched a video about a neurologist mentioning that laughter even fake brings healing to the body, which I do not much agree because I have witnessed people laughing and making fun of others thus sinning without even realizing it. Yet crying is a sign of weakness and it’s good to be weak and acknowledge it as when we are weak, He is even more stronger.

– know and know.. This is just another phase and this too shall pass. Being a mother especially mother to little ones isn’t an easy thing to do. They are dependant on you for everything.. Even to brush, tie their shoe laces and what not.. It does get overwhelming..! Its normal and continue to seek God’s grace when you feel like giving up even as I have been doing quite often.. Because while this phase is a challenging one yet it is one of the sweetest phase that you and I could enjoy ever!! 

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