How Rebacca's home & in-laws issues contributed to PostPartum Depression?
13 Nov 2016
It was a long time after Suzzette called Rebecca. They had been best friends in college. After college, they got married and conversations diminished over time. Today Suzzette had called to tell her best friend that she was pregnant, and due in next 3 months. She shared how supportive her in laws have been, and how her husband had shared every moment of stress and ecstasy with her. She planned to work till the end as she wanted to stretch her maternity leave post birth…
Rebecca’s own experience of pregnancy had been much different. From the moment her husband and in laws came to know of it, she faced one restriction after another. She could not do the job she loved so much, as it would ‘exhaust’ her out during pregnancy. However, she was expected to do the household chores with finesse, as being ‘active’ would help her and the baby at this time. She could not eat what she wanted to, as her mother in law knew better and therefore would decide her diet. If she asked for something of her husband, he would consult with his mother before consenting to her. Rebecca went in to depression during her pregnancy.
After the child was born, it was another story. It was not her child, it was the heir. She could not take decisions about his well being. She was criticized on every instance. When she shared her concern with her husband, he simply said that his mother had raised him and his sister, so she was experienced and thus Rebecca should follow her lead. Rebecca was at her lowest point, she hated her life but she could not make herself to end it for the sake of her child.
Constant criticism makes us lose confidence, question our judgments. As much as it is difficult and demoralizing to be criticized all the time, there are ways to deal with it. Here are some tips for the same:
i. Let it roll off your back
If you are looking to keep the peace, the best thing to do is not to engage. "To respond, instead of react to unsolicited advice, you can smile and say you appreciate their advice, and will consider the suggestion after you check it out with the pediatrician.”
ii. Speak up…respectfully
If you are not one to let the opportunity go by to speak your mind, biting your tongue is not the only option -- although the delivery makes a world of difference. Before you go flying off the handle, try using some tact when responding to your in-laws' advice. Try thanking her respectfully for her interest and her wisdom before you explain that you might need to figure things out on your own because that's the way you learn things
iii. Be willing to give a little
Sometimes an outside opinion may give you a fresh perspective on the way things can be done, including child rearing. Even when the lines of communication get a little crossed and the criticism seems harsh, try to listen and be open to making changes. You may find that there is some merit in the advice that is being given. It will also give you the opportunity to cool off after surviving the in-law's disapproval on your parenting techniques.
iv. Do not take it head on
Even if you feel like you are at your wit's end with your in-laws and the uninvited parenting tips, remember that your in-laws are still your spouse's family and they most likely have the best intentions. You can always pretend to consider the "advice," laugh about it later with a good friend (and confidant), and ultimately do what you want. After all, you as the parents are the final decision makers in your little one's life!
Don’t feel the need to explain or defend yourself. Doing so will get you nowhere but more frustrated. Just say what you feel is factual, and then go back to the other strategies without trying to defend or criticize. Your job here is to protect yourself from feeling overwhelmed. With some practice your mother-in-law will learn that she isn’t upsetting you, and that at the end of the day, your child is your responsibility.
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Tags: pregnancy post pregnancy mental heath well being coping issues depression