The birth of a baby is one accompanied by joy and felicitations especially to the new parents.
But it didn't feel that way for you did it?
The air felt choking and your pains clouded all your excitement.
This baby whom you've waited upon and prayed for, is all of a sudden the reason your tears cannot stop flowing…
Everyone expects you to feel only joy and fulfilment at the birth of your baby.
You expected the same as well, until reality set in—the exhilarating experience of childbirth wasaccompanied by gut-wrenching sadness, emptiness, anxiety and fatigue.
In a society where motherhood is venerated and mental health issues stigmatized, it can be hard to find help.
When you tell them how you feel, they'll say it's 'baby blues'.
It'll fade off, they say.
Your baby should make you happy, they say.
While they may mean well for you and your newborn, you have to know "postpartum depression doesn't just fade away".
All of these emotions you're feeling will not fade away just because you put on a brave face.
Get all the help you need; the wellbeing of you and your baby is dependent on your mental state.
Let me share some of the dangers of not getting help in cases of PPD and the reason why you should get help as early as you can:
Mother-child bonding The first few months after childbirth is crucial to your baby's health. The bond he/she begins to form with you grows stronger. When a baby senses the detached emotions of the mother and cannot bond properly, they develop attachment disorder.
Chronic depressive disorder When postpartum depression is left untreated it can develop into chronic depressive disorder which is even more difficult to heal from.
Physical harm to infant and yourself Depression in all forms is not a trivial issue. It comes with great emotional turmoil and can lead to having suicidal thoughts or causing harm to the newborn.
Unhealthy coping mechanism As humans, we're prone to create and adapt to coping mechanisms that help us get over tough situations. Women diagnosed with PPD are usually at a great risk of finding unhealthy means to create faux happiness for themselves. Such as substance abuse, etc.
Family conflict Nobody likes to see their loved ones in so much pain. PPD if left unattended to, can breed animosity amongst family members. Mother is unhappy, father is unhappy, baby is neglected conflict, spiralling into broken homes.
It gets really hard sometimes when nobody understands the emotional exhaustion you feel.
The world is changing everyday and more sensitization is being done on this aspect of motherhood.
You're not alone anymore.
Reach out to us through Talk to us on our website and get connected with a professional who can help you navigate the healing process for you and your baby's sake.
Eseose Cecilia-Roxanne Animhiaga
LinkedIn url: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eseoseanimhiaga
Depressive disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. https://dsm.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed June 7, 2018.
Medscape October 11th 2019
NCBI bookshelf Postpartum Depression by Mughal S, Azhar Y, Siddiqui W.
Nigeria health watch