Battling PPD and winning the battle with Yoga

 

Motherhood isn’t all just about happiness and responsibility. It also comes with something, called Postpartum Depression or in short, PPD.

PPD is a very real and very serious problem for many mothers. It can happen to a first-time mom or even an experienced one. It has become a common term these days, and of course, it is an alarming issue. One that needs to be talked about.

Symptoms vary from person to person but may include a loss of pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable, anxiety and panic attacks, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, disinterest in or a fear of being left alone with the baby, irritability, mood swings, and more.

Yes, I too faced it.

Most of the Indians, even though, they are mentally stressed or at an initial point of being depressed, might not wish to go for medical treatment. It’s almost as if it’s not allowed here, in our society. Because if anyone gets to know that you’re getting such treatment, they’ll definitely label you as an “insane” or a “psychopath” or very commonly a “mental”.

Let me narrate you my side of the story…

I got married in November 2014. Thanks to my parents, that they made me the woman I am today – confident and independent. During that time, my husband was posted in Rajasthan as he worked with State Government there, while I was employed as a school teacher in Delhi.

After 15 days of my marriage, I decided to stay in Delhi with my in-laws and he went back to resume his work. He used to come home during weekends. Those were the only times we would get to enjoy our newly married life. We would travel, shop, and absolutely enjoy that newly married phase.

Within 2 months of marriage, I discovered that I was expecting. Obviously, I was really glad and happy about this news.

Also, obviously, it was a major decision of my life and I independently decided to continue my pregnancy. Though my husband was a little apprehensive about my decision since he knew I would have to deal with my pregnancy alone. But, I was clear that I wanted to continue with my pregnancy, even though, my husband was not staying with me.

I convinced him that I’ll be able to take care of both of us, and since my in-laws were around it wouldn’t be an issue.

Time flew and I delivered a beautiful baby girl in the 38th week. The good news was broadcasted quickly to all the relatives and friends. Since she was born on a Saturday evening, my hospital room saw a huge number of visitors the next day. Everyone appeared happy, but inside their hearts, there were a few who were not expecting it to be a girl.

This is where my PPD kicked in. Of course, Postpartum Depression is very common but really serious and every mother is expected to go through this phase at least once.

I had been brought up in a very liberal family and didn’t notice the conservative side of my husband’s family, at least till the time my daughter was born. As a matter of fact, there was no discrimination between a boy and a girl in my maternal family, but here, in my husband’s family, there were different traditions and cultures concerning girls and boys.

It was only after my daughter was born did I notice these differences.

For instance, when a boy is born, people would dance on Dhol music and celebrate with a grand party. But if a girl is born, the mandatory ceremonies will take place quietly. There were several other customs which made a difference, and I was made to realize often that I’ve given birth to a baby girl.

People used to walk up to me and whispered “ladka ho jata to achha tha. Ek hi baar me kaam khatam ho jata” (“If a boy were born, you would’ve settled in one go”)

They used to often tell me “ab to jaldi doosra bacha plan karna padega, ladka to chahiye hi” (“You’ll now have to plan another child soon, everyone expects a boy”)

And inside my heart, I murmured “I’ve just delivered a baby. Please let me survive and heal up.

I used to feel disgraced, disheartened and felt like running away with my daughter. I felt alone and shattered.

Here, I want to mention that my husband and my maternal family were absolutely happy and glad about her birth.

Days passed by and I was expected to join my school, as my maternity leave was getting over but my in-laws were not very confident to take care of my daughter and asked me to get the leave extended or resign.

Extending a leave was not that easy and so I had to resign.

Here arrived my second level of depression, as I was now a jobless SAH Mother!!

I decided to be a stay-at-home parent for the sake of my daughter and took care of her in the best possible way. By that time, my husband was also transferred to Delhi and things started going fine.

But, at times, that stress of being jobless used to hinder me. I’m not being mean here but when you’ve worked for so long and have been independent financially, it matters a lot. Besides that, like all little ones, my baby used to keep me awake on most nights.

I wasn’t guilty of my decision to be pregnant, neither was I desperate to have my job back. But I was just missing that family support.

Five months into my baby’s birth and I could see no change in the situation. Even after having such sleepless nights, I used to still get up in the morning, prepare breakfast, bathe my baby, and prepare lunch and dinner. It left me feeling like I now had no time for myself. My skin started getting dull and for the first time, I noticed I had developed dark circles too.

I used to speak to my mother regularly but never mentioned my depression as I didn’t want her to feel bad for me.

I decided that something had to be done and that too, very soon!

And here came my savior -YOGA!!

I used to do Yoga before my wedding, but then changes happened in such a way that I couldn’t continue with it. Initially, I started with meditation and light exercises. And I started feeling the change!

I was now giving no ear to those baby girl-baby boy talks. I was enjoying my association with my baby and even realized that the job was not a priority. My issues were resolved to a great extent. I started regaining my confidence as I felt mentally strong. That feeling of being jobless did not linger anymore. I started believing in myself and realized that a strong bonding with my child was much more important than any other thing in life.

Personally, Yoga really helped me in battling my depression, my fears, and my situation.

A lot of people see early pregnancy as a burden or a mistake.

But, I never saw motherhood or pregnancy as one. It was my decision and I stand by that.

You may hear people saying several things or you might not get that family support.

Doesn’t matter!! Keep yourself fit and healthy, for you can’t pour from an empty cup and don’t hesitate about seeking help!

Editor’s Note- Manisha Sharma is a post-graduate in Chemistry and Education, and teaches at a school in Delhi as a PGT. She is as passionate about dancing as she is about teaching and has performed at various dancing platforms. You can read more of her works here.

1 Comment

  1. I appriciate ur decision of moulding urself for ur baby.
    Being a mother is a fantastic experience either a boy or girl.it doesnt matter .be U n enjoy the life with little one.😊

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