Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Post Natal Depression - Sounds familiar?

It seemed like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. The responsibility of having a child, feeding it, looking after it, entertaining it, nursing it through sickness and through health. All of that was mine, and mine alone. No one understood how dificult it was for me to deal with nappies, breastfeeding, staying at home, holding a crying baby. Everyone was out there having fun. Husband included.

He was the worst culprit. He didn't know anything about being a parent. Nothing. He didn't have to put on any weight. His nipples weren't sore from breastfeeding. He wasn't stuck at home. His job ended in the evenings. He wasn't eating like a pig. Maybe I should have divorced him. I didn't like him anymore. I hated all his habits, his quirks. Anything he said, annoyed me. I was miserable. Whereever I could see, I would see bad. Everything was wrong with my world and none of it was my fault.

I didn't want to get out of the house. What was the point. With a small baby all that meant was that by the time I reached wherever I was going, it would be time to feed her. Then she would poo and I would need to change her diaper and then it was time to get back home. My room was my comfort zone. I was happy to sit on the bed and surf the net. I wouldn't step out of my room for hours. Life was one big hell and none of it was my fault.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can say it was no one's fault. Post Natal Depression (PND) is a killer. It's a vicious circle that is very hard to get out of. Everyone seems to be conspiring to make you miserable. Nothing seems right.

I suffered through the worst of it for at least 6 months after Squiggles' birth. I started breaking out of it when we went to India in December. Meeting new people, doing different things helped. But Squiggles was a clinger, so it didn't help as much. If I'm honest, the distance from DD helped as well. If only to remind me that I loved him and that I was just loony to consider any other option in my hormonal state.

Things continued like that for a few more months. Sometimes good days, sometimes bad days. It was hard to predict when I would feel low. There were more good days than bad days. And then suddenly it just snapped and I was a new person. Maybe it was the fact that I was offered a job and it restored my self esteem. Maybe it was Squiggles who grew up and was less of a baby. Maybe it was the month long vacation with DD in March. Maybe it was something else. But suddenly, I was like my old self. I was happy and content. I was enjoying Squiggles more and more each day. We were doing fun things together. My relationship with DD started resembling our old days. I wasn't nasty to him anymore, and he was effortlessly nice. We were a family and were enjoying it.

I can only breathe a sigh of relief now. It wasn't nice being who I was for the longest time. I was hell to live with and I didn't want anyone's help. I'm so glad it's over. It never felt like it would end.

If any of this seems familiar, then I just want you to know that you're not alone. There are others who have been through it and come out fine. Just don't give in. Keep trying to get back to your true self. You'll find yourself again. If it seems tough, get professional help. The difficult bit is recognising the symptoms. I kept asking myself if I had PND, but I didn't want to acknowledge it. It's better to take help for it rather than suffer through it and let others around you suffer as well.

I'm glad I'm back.

15 comments:

Random Vignettes said...

aww..glad u feel mucho better too..isnt it the worst feeling knowing that u CAN make things better by just snapping out of the blue funk but not able to?

noon said...

Glad you feel back to normal now! Things that women go through - that men will never really really know what it means...

Maggie said...

Glad you're back too :-)

Kodi's Mom said...

big hugs, SM..'
you never let on even the slightest bit in your posts last year, would never have guessed. sometimes when you're in the thick of things, I guess, things arent as crystal clear as they may be now.
but I am so glad you're out of it all - and if you feel yourself slipping again, you know there's a world out here to lift you back up. hugs and love to Squiggles.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure but maybe I am also going through a little bit of PND right now...specifically resenting the husband part...although I can't complain really..he is doing half of everything...but its pissing me off that my life has come to a standstill not his, I am the one who is probably the only person to die of breastfeeding not him ...basically I am just angry that he is a man and I am a woman who is suffering through all this...My brain tells me this is illogical and so far he doesnt know I harbour these feelings...but fact remains that I am having such thoughts ...after reading your post I think I now have an inkling of what is really happening to me..now I'll probably deal with it better...thanks for sharing :)
-Avanti

Squiggles Mom said...

RV, Noon, Maggie - Thanks for caring.

K's Mom - I guess I wasn't ready to accept that I was the problem not everything around me. And time and distance helps if you want to put it down in words. I remember I had a fight with DD once and wrote about it but at the last minute never posted it. Re-read it a few months later and realised how much I had over reacted. Not that I had no provocation but my reaction was extreme too. Thanks a ton.

Avanti - Take care. These are tough times. If you want to talk about it, email me. Unfortunately I don't think the husbands can understand. It's just something we have to plod through and they have to wait out. *Hugs*

Poppins said...

That was honest and heartfelt SM. I know all about that phase, methinks a lot of us have gone through it in some form or the other.

But seeing it there written down, made so much sense to me, thanks for doing this post.

DotThoughts said...

I could have never thought.. not from your posts. Thanks for sharing this.. I am sure someone looking for help will stumble here and read your experiece. I am glad youa are out of it. You have such strength to go through this and yet be cheerful. Kudos and hugs to you! I hope and pray you never go to that dark place ever again.

mnamma said...

That was such a heart-to-heart, profuound post Squiggles Mom. I am glad you rebounded. And you got an award!

Marni Tiani Self said...

I just did a post so similiar to this a day or two ago. My thoughts are with you, I know how hard it is, even after...

Aditi's Album said...

I went thru PND for a couple of months after my girl's birth. But once my mom left and i had to take care of the household and baby all by myself, things feel into place. I would cry every evening at 6PM, sometimes in front of mommy and hubby, but other times alone - in the loo, while having a shower, feeding - any time. those 2 months were really bad. I'm surprised that u battled it for 6 long months and glad u've come out of it. True that working does help a LOT...not being with the baby al lthe time, seeing some cash in the bank and praise from staff at work helps a lot in boosting one's confidence - especially if u've been a very busy career woman.

Preethi said...

glad you are back.. it was so brave of you to make such a profound post!!!

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

Hugs to you SM ... such a heart felt post ... I bet most women go through it to some extent. First time mommies face it more I guess ... you can never explain to your husband,even if you did,he wouldn't get it.
Glad you are back to your normal self.

Squiggles Mom said...

Poppins - I guess it's shorter for some but a bit longer for others. I took a while to get out of it but I can only appreciate what I went through once it was over.

Dotthoughts - Thanks. I guess I never felt strong enough to post about it before. But somewhere I wanted this to be a reminder to myself so that I wouldn't let it happen to me again. And if it can help someone else then that will make me very happy.

Mnamma - Thanks for my award. You are a sweetheart, you know that?


Marni tiani self - I'll check out your post. Thanks for dropping by.


aditi's album - I'm glad you got through it. As you said, sometimes it's a bit of distraction that can help you break the spell and a spell it is!

Thanks Preethi.

Cantaloupes.amma - Thanks CA. I think a lot of women go through it but we're encouraged to think nothing of it and just get on with life. And usually people around us don't understand why it can affect us in such a big way.

Mystic Margarita said...

I can relate to what you described - went through it myself - started around 3 months after P was born - and it was terrible. It was like drowning in waves of hopelessness - in my case, I believe it was a medication I was taking that brought it on and some external circumstances reinforced it - but I never want to go through that feeling again. But you always sound so cheerful and optimistic - would never have guessed you went through it as well. Hugs.