“How could someone so strong get into a depression?”
Have you ever felt that way for a friend, family or your own self?
I was bouncing in joy, just about to deliver my baby, exactly 3 years ago. That was the day I imagined holding a bundle of joy and posing for all the beautiful mommy pictures inspired by social media super moms.
I delivered. The much anticipated moment was right there. Overjoyed to get back home from the hospital, we started our parenting journey. The three of us and a beautiful home. It felt perfect.
Around her 25th day, I sat on the couch, felt a sudden bout of anxiety in the head and a tremble in the hands. My newborn escaped her first fall! Her dad was right there, in awe. We choose to sleep off, hoping tomorrow will be better.
Morning sun was nice and bright. We had a good meal before he left for work. I was relaxed and positive for a new day. I walked with her in my arms and realised it wasn’t on a straight line. The bout of anxiety struck back. It was 4pm as I rang him up to get back home on an emergency.
As days passed, the anxiety got more familiar and had a constant place in the mind. The mirror did not show any resemblance to the beautiful pictures of social media super moms.
I researched on PPD – Post Partum Depression. I refused to accept that it could happen to me. How could I be so weak to get into a depression?!
We condition ourselves to believe that becoming parents is a sheer joy. It is a joy, most certainly yes. But it is not entirely joy, not entirely all smiles. It took me months to realise that parenting is hardwork; permanent hardwork. At every small leap, there is an overdose of smiles, that keeps us sane and gives us hope. I had to accept and overcome the anxious phase. I had to accept that depression can happen to anyone.
I couldn’t manage to visit a Dr; little did I realise it was important to do so.
Friends came to the rescue. Far & away, we connected on calls that lasted hours. I was fortunate to have my best friends in the family too – my husband & sister. The conversations felt good and convincing at the time. And after a while, it was back to square one. I learnt that depressed people could cry without a reason.
I had to get this over with. Who else could help me? Ahw, but I had ‘me’. Yes, self help is very powerful.
In the evening, I embraced to face the world and take a walk through the apartment, wearing a messy worn out look. An old man asked me who takes care of the baby, looking at my drained look. It was an annoying question. I said “me”. What?! Ah yes, the worn out depressed soul could take good care of her baby. Wow, I realised that pride is so important to cure anxiety. Take pride in your little achievements!
Oh yes but I loved driving and din’t drive for months. He got me a child seat and I got her buckled! The first drive with windows down is one to cherish. I took a U turn and drove back but it lifted my confidence, just a little bit though.
Next day I was nicely dressed up for the walk. I took a look at the mirror and smiled. It was the same worn out face but only this time I found it normal. I hadn’t slept through nights and it is ‘normal’ for a new mom to look tired. Bang on, I realised acceptance of a situation works wonders to heal the mind.
As loads of fresh air tickled my face, I smiled. And my baby smiled! Months ago, all I wanted was to smile back at my smiling baby. And there I was, making her smile. Fresh air is nature’s best cure.
Months and years passed on. I got better. Not that I don’t feel anxiety anymore, but I know how to control it.
Depression is a disorder, an even painful disorder than having fractures. If you ever find someone depressed, be there as a listener. You don’t have to remind them to be positive, trust me, they try really hard to be positive. Take that friend or family member on a trip. Tell them they are loved. Make them feel important. Give them hope without heaping advice. Spread some love. You never know, it might even be your own self that you end up healing with loads of love and self-love.
This write-up is dedicated to all new moms suffering from PPD and to anyone reeling in the hands of anxiety. You are not alone in your journey. You are going through this because you are strong enough to handle it!!!