A big reason for depression in women post pregnancy is sudden lack of attention & care !!
13 Dec 2015
“Only a few days back I was asked to eat for two. I was being loved for two. Everything was double. And in a moment, it came down to nothing. Now I am invisible”
-- Seema, mother of a 2 month old.
Just like Seema, there are many young mothers who face a sudden neglect after the birth of their baby. This is usually unintended, but the arrival of a new life grasps everyone’s attention and the mother who had been the center of everyone’s attention has suddenly lost all the extra care. This is perhaps, natural but it leaves the mother feeling frustrated as well as guilty and the family confused. There are certain things that the mother herself and the family can do to help her enjoy this phase instead of feeling exhausted and neglected.
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What Husbands Can Do
Husbands play a crucial role in making the mother feel loved or neglected. This is mostly beyond one’s control and realization and hence, difficult to change. The new and gradual process of fathering often shadows the roles of a husband. However, it is essential to note that the two do not stand really away from one another.
· Realize the Reality- We cannot expect the mother to be wholly responsible for the baby.
· Take Responsibility- Taking certain responsibility or sharing the chores will help the mother both physically and mentally.
· Gift her Time- Every mother should be allowed some time of her own wherein she is not surrounded by chores and tensions. If only husbands could take the responsibility of the baby for a while, the mother could spare some rest to herself.
· She is More than a Mother- She is also a woman who has interests and needs. It is important to be able to support her own wishes as well.
· Change with the Change- it is not uncommon for women to leave their jobs after the baby is born and shift to a totally new life, only to realize that their husband’s lifestyle hasn’t changed at all. This can be frustrating when the mother feels that the baby is only her responsibility.
· Listen to her- ask her how she is feeling or if she wants something. Mostly, the natural attraction towards the child leaves the mother unattended to. It is important to remember that she is also recovering from a medical condition and needs care.
What Parents can Do
Parents are often held as a support to the young mother; however, they unknowingly end up adding to the stress and responsibility. Incorporating small changes in oneself can ensure that the mother is able to enjoy the birth of the baby. Some of these things include:
· Don’t be Unrealistic- mothers have come to hold such high stature in our society that instead of becoming a blooming state, it becomes a panic situation. The mother is expected to be perfect in every aspect, which makes her feel more anxious and pressurized.
· It is not her fault- sometimes the water is too warm and sometimes the diaper is over and mostly, everything is chaotic. Nevertheless, it is not her fault. An important point to engrave is that anything that goes wrong is NOT the mother’s fault.
· Do not compare- things are different in different generations and there is no point forcing your ideals onto the mother and how the baby should be reared. This takes away the charm of having a baby. It is best to negotiate such things with the mother instead of forcing them on her.
· Listen to her- take sometime out and ask her how she feels. Just the way you did when the baby was still in her womb. She is amidst recovering from her medical state and handling a pool of new responsibilities, surely she has a lot to say, if someone would listen.
What Mothers themselves can Do
· Do not Neglect Your Health- don’t skip meals, try to get adequate sleep, don’t overdo. No matter what, mothers often neglect their health in the rush to take care of the baby.
· You are more than a Mother- the baby next to you is an important part of your life but there is no point obsessing over the baby’s needs. A small cry, for instance, should not make you panic, it is also a part of development.
· Seek support- hire house help or take help from your parents in the initial days. It is immensely exhausting to take care of the baby and the house all on one’s own. There is no harm in seeking some help for the mental and physical relaxation.
· Don’t be guilty- yes there are things that will not go right and the house will usually be a mess, but it is okay. You are just human, who is learning to be the mother. You don’t have to be guilty.
· Talk to someone- share your joys and frustration with someone. Nobody is neglecting you, people just do not know what you are feeling. Share!
Having a baby is both a beautiful and panic ridden state. Through mutual responsibility one can make it one of the most memorable times of one’s life. However, amidst the chaos, it is difficult to understand where to start from. In such a state, it is best to seek professional advice and ensure that the healthy environment is maintained. A healthy mother is essential for the healthy child and perhaps, a healthy woman is essential for the healthy house!
If you are a would be mother or somebody who has just recently been blessed with a baby and you think you could be battling depression, anxiety or even mood changes, you should not ignore them!
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Tags: #depression #postpartum