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Common knowledge says that a baby’s arrival is a joy like none other for a mother. We are brought up with a set picture in mind- the baby is born, the mother is full of joy with her maternal instincts immediately setting in, etc etc. We see it in ads, in movies, around us, everywhere. So, I imagined it would be the same for me too. I should have known then that I would be wrong again!! While I was happy seeing the tiny tot, the happiness was quite short lived. Back from the hospital, and reality hit in. Life changed 180 degrees. I seemed to have lost touch with everything and everyone around me.
Before having a baby, I was the one who used to be taken care of. Now suddenly I was the one in the care givers position. Days and Nights were occupied taking care of the baby. Post-delivery, the baby’s mood dictated my actions. If she was awake and playing, I completed my household chores, when she took an afternoon seista, I cooked, when she cried, I carried her, when she got bored, I took her outdoors, when she dirtied the diapers, I cleaned them, when her day ended, my preparations began for the next day. Additionally, I had breastfeeding issues. Sundays and weekdays all seemed the same. .
But these were simply the physical changes that I was going through..the emotional ones were the most difficult to handle. I suddenly found myself alone throughout the day with a month old baby. From being someone who was used to talking continuously to grown-ups, I now spent most of my day wondering whom to talk to!! I didn’t understand how to and what to talk to such a small baby. I felt lonely for most of the day. The only adult conversations I had were the ones with my husband (that too only after he returned home from work) and my family (over the phone). I no longer went for movies, nor did I meet my friends. My social life almost became nil.
The result of all this was that I started feeling depressed and distant. Everyone else around me (including my husband) seemed to be better off than me. I started experiencing self-pity. I used to feel tired all the time, but I simply couldn’t sleep. I cried without any reason. Nothing seemed to make me happy. Not even my tiny tot!!! I didn’t want to discuss it with anyone since I didn’t want to be seen as someone who was WEAK, as someone who couldn’t handle it all. I had always set high expectations on myself and I could see everything falling apart.
While a part of me knew, that I was suffering from some form of Postpartum Depression, the other part, didn’t want to give in. I simply didn’t want to accept that reality. However, after 6 months, it became unbearable and I simply wanted the old ME back. It was then that I started reading about this phenomenon. I was surprised to find that one woman in every five new mothers experiences this in our country. A part of me felt relieved knowing that there were others going through what I was going through. I didn’t know if I needed medical intervention yet. But I finally decided to confide in my mother, my aunt and my best friend. Talking to them helped a lot. They motivated me to keep going through my day. They shared their not-so great experiences while taking care of their babies too. It helped to have someone call me all through the day to just tell me how great I was and how amazingly I was managing everything. My mom came and stayed with me for a few days just so that I could get a break from all this. I went away to my aunt’s place to relax, and do nothing. My friend took the pains to skype with me all the way from Canada to ensure that I had few good jokes to laugh about!! My husband also motivated me to take up a work from home job.
All in all, once I opened up to my closest circle, everyone chipped in to help me in overcoming this phase of my life. Most importantly, they helped me in accepting this big change in my life.
Finally, after almost two months I was back to my normal self. I no longer lived a life of denial. I also decided to prioritize my life. While I loved my daughter, I also loved me. I found ways of pampering me. Instead of going out for movies, I watched them at home on CDs after my daughter had slept off. I found home beauty parlor services and enjoyed the girly stuff when the baby took her afternoon siesta. I hired a nanny to help me take care of the baby while I could work. When my friends came to the city, instead of meeting them at CCD, I had them over for dinner and we could chit chat when the tiny one slept off early in the night. In short, I made a list of all the things that I missed after the birth of my daughter and decided what alternate ways were there to enjoy those. I outsourced some of my routine work, and spent more quality time with myself and also with my daughter.
It has been six months since I changed my way of life. And I haven’t been happier. Yes, I still sometimes crave for that peace but then I look at my tiny tot. And I know that my life has changed only for the better.
PS: The purpose of this particular blog is not to scare the would-be mothers. But it is to tell all new moms out there, who are probably feeling lost with this new journey, that its perfectly ok to feel what you are feeling. In case it is becoming intolerable, don’t hesitate to seek help from your family, friends and if required from professionals too. It’s not something to be ashamed of… it’s simply a part of your journey of this thing called motherhood!!