Dear postnatal depression,
You are tough. At a time where a mother should be experiencing nothing but love and joy for the new arrival of her baby, you barge right into her life and make her feel like she is worthless. Postnatal depression can be dangerous, and in many cases women feel ashamed to open up about how they’re feeling. But I am here to assure you, that it is really common and you are not alone. There are many symptoms that are associated with this terrible sickness, including feeling numb, having a lack of interest in the birth of your child or feeling any pleasure, a lack of energy, feeling worthless or helpless, often wanting to cry, feeling resentful towards other mother’s, your partner or your child, changes in your sleeping pattern, changes in your appetite, feeling isolated and disconnected from others, including your child, having thoughts of harming yourself, or your child, or having difficulties in concentration, thought, and decision-making.
Society nowadays has this expectation that a mother needs to have this unconditional love for their child from the moment they enter the womb. When a woman suffers from postnatal depression, this can cause severe anxiety as she will feel like she is the only one who is experiencing this and will struggle opening up to others for fear of judgement. To the mothers who are currently going through this, I assure you that you are not alone. But please, talk to someone. Start by chatting with a loved one, and then seek help from a doctor. Your doctor will refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist who can begin treating you as quickly as possible. Reach out to a support group because believe me, the more stories you hear of other mothers going through the same thing, the less lonely you will feel. Most importantly, you need to remember that postnatal depression is temporary. There is always a way out. And this doesn’t mean your child will be taken away from you, nor will it mean you will be judged by society. As I said, just because you suffer from this debilitating sickness, does not mean it defines you as a person. Slowly, slowly I believe the stigma surrounding these types of illnesses are diminishing as more people open up about their struggles. The first thing I suggest is recognising what is going on, and taking the right approach in getting the right help. As I mention in every post, mental illness clings onto our vulnerability, the things we love the most. You love your child, otherwise you wouldn’t be feeling such distress over not having that connection with it. You wouldn’t be worried that things are never going to get better because you simply would not care whether they got better or not. So the fact that you are recognising your struggles, acknowledging that things are not okay, is the greatest step towards the right direction. I know plenty of teenagers who openly admit that their mothers had postnatal depression when they were born. And yet majority of them are incredibly close with their mother’s, and do not feel any different, nor have any resentment towards them. This is because they understand that postnatal depression is entirely out of their control, and can happen to anybody. But you’re doing your best to overcome it so please don’t be so hard on yourself, just get the help you need.
Resources that can assist you