Majority of pregnant women experience some episodes of infirmity at some point in the gestational period, but some of us rock the bump and appear well throughout: no (or very mild) morning sickness in the first trimester; going about our normal activities until the waddling gait became too obvious! I was even on duty, just a few hours before I was delivered!
Unfortunately, that superpower is not always guaranteed beyond the pregnancy. I lost it when the baby came. He won’t stop crying; 2am was his peak time. Nap time was his, not mine. That was the time to clear the room, finish my own meal, check my mails, wash the dishes and sort out the laundry. Just when those tasks were almost done, he would wake up, crying for the next feeding!
My hair was a mess. Sleep deprivation became my second name. Though, dad was quite helpful, family and friends did what they could; I kept forming the “pseudo-superwoman” trait, giving the (wrong) impression that I was coping just fine. But I was exhausted. I was breaking; literally dying inside. I knew I wasn’t the superwoman people thought I was. Ah! I don’t even want to mention the poor kid who had to witness those ugly sides of me; who absorbed all the transferred aggression and heard very mean comments everyday. Alhamdulillaah, we survived…
Dear woman, we know you are strong. You are resilient, but you have an elastic limit. You are awesome, but you are fallible. You have your weaknesses, which do not make you less of a woman, mother and wife. You are just like any other human. You need help. No, you don’t need help, YOU DESERVE IT! So, don’t feel shy to ask for it and accept it. Your baby needs your sanity as much as she needs your care.
Baby blues is a pretty common condition affecting mums in the first few days after childbirth. Characterised by fatigue, sadness, irritability and mood swings, it’s often self-limiting and most women overcome it through lifestyle modifications and family/social support. However, it’s imperative to seek expert medical attention if the symptoms persist after 2 weeks or in the presence of the red flags listed below, which could be pointers to a more serious disorder (Postpartum Psychosis or Postpartum Depression) :
*Hallucinations and paranoia
*Depressed mood or severe mood swings,
*Difficulty bonding with the baby
*Withdrawing from family and friends
*Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
*Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
*Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
*Reduced interest and pleasure in previously pleasurable activities
*Intense irritability and anger
*Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
*Inability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
*Severe anxiety and panic attacks
*Thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby
*Recurrent suicidal ideation