HAVING BABIES & LIFE AFTER BABIES
You thought you’d be the happiest person in the world when you had a baby, one of the most important and awaited events in your life. You fantasised about this moment since you got married, or maybe even since your teenage years? So why are you so down and upset often? You are not alone! More than eighty percent women suffer mood disturbances after pregnancy ("postpartum").
Feeling disturbed, isolated, fearful, or even unloving toward your baby sometimes, and severe guilt for going through these feelings is not unusual. Often the symptoms are mild and melt away with the preoccupation of bringing up baby! But in many cases it turns into a disabling mood disorder known as Postpartum depression or ‘baby blues’ –a transient state of heightened emotions after recently giving birth. Symptoms typically include downcast mood, tearfulness, inability to enjoy pleasurable activities, troubled sleep, fatigue, appetite problems, suicidal thoughts, feeling an inadequacy as a parent and impaired concentration.
When the exuberant Mandira Bedi confided that she suffered this same affliction recently when a new entrant came into her life I was surprised. Her candid confession was endearing- “I can’t deny that I suffered severe post partum blues. It wasn’t easy. I’m sharing it because I feel women should know that post partum depression is normal. I feel women should come out and share experiences so we know it’s normal. There were good days and bad days. I did feel I couldn’t cope and most of our friends told me it never gets easier. That today it’s pottie issues but later its school admissions and then even later dating issues. There is a lot to deal with. I’m past the depression phase mostly but I still find it difficult. And I feel from my experience that as the baby grows you can start getting your life back. I leave the house for a short while now that the first two months have passed. It’s part of my routine. I’m working at working off the blues.”
Late marriage naturally means late children, and Mandira went all out at her career, did her thing to her heart’s content, enjoyed marital bliss and had her baby ‘Vir’ only just two months ago. Brave move according to many conventionalists? But then Madonna had set a trend and I’m seeing many ‘girls’ taking the baby boom plunge only in their late thirties and early forties.
“We’re at a stage where there is no monetary issue, we’re sorted and can pamper a child. Both Raj and I feel we can take time off for Vir, big chunks of time like a year in my case.” Husband Raj interjects “We’ve done our holidays where we could up and leave without a care. Now I do realize that spontaneity will go for a toss, but because we left having a child for later we’ll never feel like we are missing out. It’s been eleven years before the baby came in.”
Mandira and Raj effortlessly manage the cherubic Vir while chatting with me over cimamon croissants- all the time fondly keeping an eye on this new entrant into their otherwise busy lives. Today all is put aside and on hold for the love of their lives, “we’re now set in our ways. So when we are confronted with this life altering situation, I find we are more yielding, more easy to accept. I would recommend having kids to everyone in the world. It’s the most wonderful thing happening to us, this fantastic being looking me in the eye. It makes your perspectives change. You want to live for somebody else suddenly. Work is important but this is a whole new experience and gives life a new purpose. All the depression, confusion, staying awake at night is worthwhile when I see this bundle laughing up at me like this” says Mandira as he gurgles up at her rambunctiously.
Published & Printed in Asian Age & Deccan Chronicle
This blog is courtsey Deccan Chronicle & Asian Age