After I gave birth to my first child, of course I did what every woman in my shoes would do. I went to my doctor to make sure everything was alright and moving accordingly. One thing I remember my OBGYN telling me after having my daughter and after I saw a shift in myself that I couldn’t understand why it was happening, he said, “I can’t help you now, we need to let your body take its time to heal itself from pregnancy & labor. Come to me in 6 weeks and then we can take it from there.” He then patted my husband on the shoulder and said, “it is your turn now champ. This woman doesn’t need her Mom or girlfriends, she needs you.”
A big part of me wanted to punch the doctor as he wanted me to stay feeling like this for 6 weeks! 6 weeks of demonic thoughts and lack of sleep with a newborn child on my arm! Is he insane!?
He was right about one thing though. I only needed my husband, every day my parents, aunts, uncles, sister and friends appeared at my doorstep to show their love and support and give advice to the new mother which was nice. But, all I would feel during those dreadful hours is how much I needed to scream at the top of my lungs and tell them all to get out and leave us alone.
One night nobody showed up, it was just my husband Osama, my daughter Ameera and me in the apartment. This was the first time I smiled since giving birth 10 days ago!
I felt like me again, not fully but at least that feeling of pressure was no longer there.
Then 6 weeks passed, the depression symptoms settled for a bit, I mean the horrible thoughts & the anxiety… but still I wasn’t Ok! I couldn’t connect with that child on my arm. the child whom I fed on my breast, who shares every single moment of the day with me!
My OBGYN referred me to a psychiatric he knew, a smiley old man who all I wanted to do was hug this old man who felt like my granddad ever since walking through the door of his office. His mellow voice gave me a weird sense of comfort.
When he asked me what was wrong, with tears filling my eyes I said ” I gave birth to a daughter who I think is not mine”
He smiled, wiped away a load of papers in front of him and said “ooh that’s an easy one my child.” Looking deep into my eyes he replied, ” I promise you within a year from now, you will be fighting the world for that little girl who chose you to be her mother.”
Taking the depression test and after being asked what felt like 400 questions, the doctor made his diagnosis.
“You have severe depression, my child. But don’t you worry, with your intelligence & commitment to the therapy I will recommend, I know you will be as good as new in no time. As with every sickness in this world we have to endure a little bit of pain.”
According to postpartumdepression.org, “approximately 70%- 80% of women will experience, at a minimum, the baby blues and many more will experience the more severe condition of postpartum depression and its other subtypes.”
My mind was racing as I saw these numbers. Why doesn’t anyone say that! why don’t anyone share their experience! why don’t they say that ITS OK ! it can be only a hormonal rollercoaster and it will settle safely with the right support system!
It has been 7 months and 1 week since my first visit to my Psych, it was the most painful and challenging visit. Having a child and raising it is a working progress but it’s definitely worth it. Worth every tear, every layer of memory & every moment I spend with my daughter alone as the doctor said I would.