It is never easy to admit when one is struggling. And when that struggle is emotional, we often rightfully fear criticism and judgement from others. With post-partum depression (PPD), it is even harder, as mothers are expected to be loving and excited about our babies. Few can fathom the depth of depression that can steal these positive emotions from us.
As a PPD sufferer, I have walked a mile and a half in their shoes and came out on the other side. Back then, there was no Internet to turn to, and family support was shaky at best. But eventually the fog cleared, and I was able to give my child the love and support she needed. This is my journey.
I was the last person people expected to be a teenage mother. Pregnant just out of fifth form with barely four subjects to my credit, my mother was far from pleased with me. So, I tried as much as possible to ‘small up’ myself and stay out of her way. For most of my pregnancy, I was in denial about it. So, even when that tell-tale plus sign was on the stick, I refused to believe it.
Fast forward to the actual birth of the child and delivery went relatively smooth although she was born with jaundice which required weeks of sunlight treatment. Shortly after coming home from the hospital my nightmare started. The screams of the baby drove me crazy, and she would fuss a lot and not nurse easily. I found out afterwards that I was not producing enough milk to feed her, but I was unaware of this initially, so her cries of hunger fuelled my cries of frustration. For, hours I would just cradle her and bawl my eyes out.
Sleep deprivation also took a toll on me, as during the nights she would be up screaming. Nothing that I tried seemed to work. I would just walk from one end of the room to the other crying. I couldn’t stop crying. After a while, my grandmother took pity on me and took her so that I could get some rest.
The bed became like my personal prison, as I just couldn’t get up to function. I would sleep, and it would be daylight. Soon after, I would just close my eyes to sleep again, and it would be evening. The cycle of sleeping continued for weeks. I got up to pee and drink water, but that was basically it. I did not realise that I was losing. I had no appetite. I would see my child in my grandmother’s arm and just roll over and go back to sleep. Eventually, I became so semi-comatose that I was taken to a doctor who realised what was happening. And with intervention, I slowly returned to the land of the living.
PPD is no joke. Do not suffer in silence.
— Written by C.W.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.