There are a few mommy-related blogs that I’ve been meaning to type, one of them is on post-partum depression, or PPD. There’s an interesting generational/cultural gap that exists where PPD is concerned- traditionally speaking, in the Pakistani culture, there is no such thing.
(Wateezdiss, pee-pee-dee? After your baby is born you’re supposed to be miserable!)
Yes yes, so after your baby is born you become a sleep deprived, and you worry about whether you’re doing things right, and you desperately wish the baby would sleep, but when the baby does sleep, you have to go check to see if the baby is breathing… Being a new mommy is hard, but is it supposed to make you depressed?
One friend of mine, whose baby is six months younger than Khalid, called me up and very bluntly said- I’m taking a survey about post-partum depression. My mother said there is no such thing, but after Asiya was born, I couldn’t sleep, stopped eating for 36 hours at a time, and felt mentally paralyzed, no one told me about this! How about you?
How about me? Well, I was a sleep-deprived baby-tending robot whose engine ran on caffeine and the terrible fear that my baby was starving all the time. And, this is hard to admit but unfair to hide- I wanted to die. I did. I didn’t want to kill myself, and my contradictory brain was terrified of anything happening to Khalid or to myself (because then who would take care of Khalid?) but we used to live on the sixth floor of our apartment block, and I wondered what it would be like to fall from the balcony. I have never wanted to be in a car accident, but there were times in traffic when near misses disappointed me. I wanted something to happen.
Why? Was I unhappy with my baby? No, I adore bebeface. Was HF unsupportive? Not at all, and he did what he could to support me and make sure I was taking care of myself too. (Also, we snuck out to movies and ice cream and went for drives and walks)
I was constantly tired, but had terrible insomnia. I was completely disinterested in socializing. I stopped answering the doorbell, and I kept it all, the misery, the insomnia, the thoughts of death- all to myself for as long as I could. I dreaded having to feed Khalid, because nursing was, in the beginning, difficult and very painful, and no matter what I did, he always seemed hungry.
(It turns out we had serious latch issues + low supply for nearly two months)
At one point I broke down and told HF. I think it took him by surprise. He asked me what was making me so depressed, and I wasn’t sure what to tell him because I had no idea myself. Nothing specifically was making me unhappy- but I was miserable about everything, and I was sure that I was doing everything wrong- why else was Khalid crying all the time?
When did things get better? Gradually, when Khalid was a few months old, things got better. They didn’t get easier, they just got better. One thing that made a huge difference was HF checking up on me- “How are you feeling? How was your day? Hey, you’re doing good.” It seems like such a small thing now, but HF reassuring me that I was doing good and that Khalid was fine gave me the reassurance to not freak about him starving/ailing/wailing, and it made everything lighter, more bearable.
Alhamdulillah, my experience with PPD was, from what I understand, really mild. I thought about dying, and I had some pretty fantastic crying sprees, but it never got in the way of me caring for Bebeface- I was never incapacitated by it. There are people who have had it far, far worse, and I am grateful to God that I was able to break out of the misery and be alright again, Alhamdulillah.
So yeah, we’re taking a survey- Anyone else out there had PPD? Any advice? We have some new mommies on the block who may benefit from what you can share.
Love to all Mommies!