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Postpartum Depression, Divorce And Finding Myself As A Mother

10 Feb 2017

They say your maternal instinct kicks in the moment you find out you're pregnant. I found out I was pregnant a day after deciding to divorce my husband.

Needless to say I wasn't feeling so maternal. We decided to give our marriage another try and went ahead with the pregnancy. Within a few months I had gestational diabetes and a pretty good sense that our marriage was at a dead end. More often than not I found myself wishing the pregnancy would not bear fruit and I'd be able to get out of this nightmare.

 

When my son was born at a healthy 3.8 kg, I felt nothing but exhaustion. The first week he lost tremendous amounts of weight because my husband insisted he only be breastfed. I didn't know it then, but the stress and depression were taking a toll on my body, drying up the milk I was so desperately trying to pump out. I still remember those days as a hellish period, with my mother feeding me all kinds of things claiming they would help milk production, the supplements the doctor gave, me squeezing my breasts till they were bruised and crying desperately as my son fed on me for hours, getting less than 5 ml of milk after all this anguish.

To top it all off, I was prohibited from going out of the house for 45 days.

I remember looking at my child and thinking, through my haze of exhaustion, that all this was because of him. He lay there just eating and pooping, while I was trapped, living out my worst nightmare, because of him.

I believed that no one in my family loved me or supported me, everyone was just taking care of him. I didn't know what to do, so I reached out to books for help, reading up about pregnancy, motherhood, divorce and depression. That's when I realized I had postpartum depression. There was a reason I was feeling this way and I wasn't alone. I knew I had to do something.  I gave my mom an ultimatum, she could either break her 45-day rule, or else I'd go insane. She let me go.

I started going out as often as I could. To a coffee shop, a park. While it made me feel better, the feeling of being stuck never quite left. One day as I was telling my sister that my son was holding me back from doing what I want, she asked me why I didn't just leave him and go then. She said he could be brought up by my parents or my second sister who already had a daughter. What was stopping me from leaving him?

 That conversation made me think long and hard. At the same time my husband left for an overseas assignment and I started spending the days in the park with my son. Suddenly a veil started lifting. I did have the option of leaving my son and going. But I no longer wanted to. With my husband's departure, I realized I had started bonding more with my child. I loved him and being with him made me happy. It took me nearly one year, but the maternal instinct finally kicked in. In that moment, I realized I couldn't leave my son, but the husband had to go.

I got divorced and there's been no looking back. I started working and that brought back a lot of the lost self-esteem and confidence. I realized that if I wanted my son to be healthy and happy, I would have to role model that for him, and that helped me find myself again. My son is going to be 7 soon and he pushes me to be a better person every single day. 

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