How to Deal with Postpartum Depression
We are living in a society that thinks of Postpartum Depression (PPD) as a taboo topic. Mothers are expected to feel happy and excited by the birth of their child. This society does not acknowledge all other emotions that a first-time mother can experience, the jumble of powerful emotions that mothers are going through after giving birth.
Prior to becoming a mother, I have no idea, whatsoever, about postpartum depression. I neither made effort to know or read about it. It was something I am not interested about – until I experienced firsthand, and I was caught off-guard.
I do not know what I was going through weeks after I gave birth to Skye. I can’t think clearly and logically. I had difficulty in sleeping and I have that unexplained feelings of guilt and inadequacy. I got very much acquainted with irritability and I had to flick away tears off my cheeks every so often. I was far from being happy and excited like all other first-time mothers brag. I was anxious, I was afraid, it took time until I admitted to myself that YEAH, I WAS DEPRESSED.
Weeks after I gave birth, I couldn’t get through a day without bawling. I cried every morning when my husband left for work. I cried when my husband failed to text me when he arrived at work, or when he did not tell me he’s already taking his lunch. I cried, too, when it took him several minutes to reply to my short messages. I cried when I had to wash the dishes. I cried when I had to eat alone. I cried for no reason at all. Also, I always initiated a fight. I tried seeking comfort elsewhere. There were moments when I just cried and held my daughter while telling her I am sorry for acting awful and crazy. I tell you, PPD was one of the most difficult things I have gone through. It lasted for almost three months.
Then I met other mothers who experienced the same “insanity” and I realized my story is nothing compared to what they’ve gone through.
TRUE STORIES OF PPD
Hello Ms. Missy. Yes, right after ko manganak when we got home from the hospital. I was depressed and feel ko na kasalanan ko why maaga ako nanganak. Premature kasi baby ko. She is due Sept 21 pero August 21 naglabor na ako. Then pakiramdam ko ayaw ng asawa ko sa baby ko kasi he tends to forget to double check her medicines pag inuutusan ko sya bumili. Laging may mali or laging kulang. Pag gabi naman na pag sleeping na si baby ayaw ko sya tingnan kasi mukha syang monster sa akin. There is this feeling na you want to choke her kasi for me that time monster talaga sya. – Ruth
Hi Missy. Share ko na din experience ko after ko manganak sa 2nd baby ko. Dun sa first baby, okay naman, nakarecover ako agad. Pero dito sa pangalawa muntik na ako mabaliw. Lagi din kasi nasa work si hubby kaya wala ako makausap sa bahay. Lagi na lang ako umiiyak pero hindi ko alam ang rason. Lol. Inisip ko pa nga patayin na lang yung baby ko tapos magpakamatay na rin ako. Ganun kalala. – Joanne
Thank you for making an article about PPD. I also experienced it. I started with feelings of inadequacy when I had to return to work after my maternity leave. Since I got used to be with her (baby) all day, I felt like I was neglecting her when I started working. I always cried in my worskation and I cannot concentrate. I terribly failed all matrix so I resorted to just resign. I left my 8-year job because I felt so guilty for not being able to stay home and care for my child. But that made my depression worst. – Becca
Nung nag-PPD ako, hindi ako naliligo for several days. Wala akong pakialam. Nagpagupit ako ng buhok. Feeling ko ang pangit ko at ang taba ko. Wala akong ginagawa maghapon kundi umiyak. Ayaw ko pa nga minsan buhatin si baby kasi naiinis ako sa kanya. Feeling ko sya ang dahilan kung bakit nadedepress ako. Feeling ko ang sama-sama kong Nanay. – Joy
Na-CS ako kasi mahina heart rate ni baby. Nung nakita ko sya for the first time, I was disappointed. Feeling ko ang normal lang naman nya, nothing special. He doesn’t look like me. I can’t feel the “motherly love” na sinasabi nila. Nung nakauwi na kami, lagi ko sya tinitingnan not because I adore him but because I do not like him. Hindi ko sya kamukha. Si Hubby ang unang nakapansin ng mga changes sa akin. Sya yung kumausap sa akin at umintindi sa akin. Kapag umiiyak ako ng walang dahilan, niyayakap nya ako. Kakausapin nya ako, bakit daw, hindi ko naman ma-explain kung bakit basta gusto ko lang umiyak. Nawalan rin ako ng gana kumain and I got addicted to Milo. – Elsie
HOW DID THEY OVERCOME IT
Hindi ko pa sya totally nao-overcome. Every once in a while nalulugkot pa den ako and umiiyak pero not on the level na monster sya for me. Ngayon ang depression ko is lagi syang may UTI or bacterial infection. So feeling ko I am not suitable to be a mom. I have my support group. Husband ko, cousins, My OB too. I no longer have parents so I rely on my relatives and friends. Supportive naman sila. If nararamdaman ko na aatakehin na naman ako lagi ako nagprapray and iniisip ko den matagal ko hinintay baby ko. 3 years kaya I need to be strong. I had miscarriages twice kaya precious baby itong daughter ko. Maselan kasi ako magbuntis. – Ruth
Medyo matagal bago ako nakarecover. Dasal siguro. Lagi ako nagdarasal kasi wala din naman ako makausap. Ayaw ko sabihin kay Hubby kasi isipin mo kung sasabihin ko sa kanya na gusto ko mamatay kami ng anak ko, diba? Baka ipasok nya ako sa mental hospital hahaha. Ay nagkwento na rin pala ako sa mga friends ko. Sinabi ko yung mga nararamdaman ko pati mga kabaliwan ko. Na-surprise ako naintindihan nila ako. Normal daw yun. Doon ko nalaman ang tungkol sa PPD. Tapos, yun. Okay naman na ako ngayon. 4 years old na si Kiray. Hahaha! – Joanne
Never let anything or anyone steal your happiness. Remind yourself of how good it feels to be happy and talk to the Lord. I then began to make time for myself. I made sure to have my “me-time.” I started Zumba and went out with friends. I opened up to my husband about how I was feeling. Now, I am happy. I love seeing my daughter and I make sure to cherish every second that we share. I couldn’t be more blessed. – Becca
Si Mama ang nagpatino sa akin. Mother knows best nga talaga. Lagi nya ako kinakausap. Sabi nya sa akin kung ano man ang nararamdaman ko, i-let go ko lang. She did not force me naman to talk about it pero she assured me na she will listen. Ganun lang. Lagi kami nag-uusap. Tapos kung gusto ko lumabas sya muna nag-aalaga kay baby. Nagkaroon ako ng time para sa sarili ko ulit hanggang sa maging okay na ako. – Joy
Support of friends and hubby. Kapag feeling ko naiiyak na naman ako, tatawag ako sa husband ko pag wala sya sa bahay tapos magkukwentuhan kami saglit, magpapatawa sya. Sabi nya si baby kamukha nya kaya pag laki nun makakahanap din ng magandang asawang tulad ko. Yun nakakalma ako hanggang sa maging okay na ako. – Elsie
On my end, I overcome PPD through the help of the people around me. My partner has been very understanding of my situation. I know it wasn’t easy for him either. Now, whenever we bring up the topic about my PPD, we laugh it out. We both learned that having a family is indeed a difficult job. Being a member of an online support group, South Pinanays, also helped a lot. I learned that I do not have to be the perfect mother, I just had to be the best that I could be for my daughter. It was a tough lesson to learn from, but one that I keep in mind when things become overwhelming. Talk to someone. Make your feelings known. The more you keep your feelings to yourself, the harder things can be.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
After going through PPD myself, I was able to better understand parents, especially mothers, who are experiencing the same fate. It made me think that maybe those mothers who hurt their babies (there were cases when mother even killed their babies because of PPD, see this link), those we saw in the news, were also suffering from PPD and that what they needed was serious mental help instead of judgement. It made me think that maybe a lot of marriages failed, especially after having kids, because mothers were not able to handle the roller coaster ride of emotions and no support system was available.
In the 16th Congress, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed a bill to support research that would expand the understanding of the causes of postpartum depression and find a cure for it. It is estimated that there were 126,826 cases of postpartum depression in the Philippines in 2004, but Santiago noted that this number had been heavily measured through statistical extrapolation rather than an actual count.
In 2008, actress Claudine Barretto admitted that she suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth to a son in July 2007. She sought professional help and took medication. “People should understand that there are ways to deal with postpartum depression. It’s no joke,” she said in an Inquirer interview. – Inquirer Research
If you think you are experiencing PPD, immediately ask for help because it will not cure itself. It is a temporary condition that you can recover from; however, you have to give it proper attention and treatment. Remember, you do not have to carry all the burdens yourself, there is no manual to parenting, and it truly does take a village to raise a child.
Rest if you must. Ask for help if you need a time out. Your family, friends, and husband will understand, must understand.
Read articles about becoming a mother. Listen to stories of other mothers, and know about the things that could affect you, your body, and your baby after giving birth. Develop hunger to learn more about PPD to get some ideas on how to deal with it should it hit you. It pays to be equipped with the right knowledge.
It sucks being sad especially when there’s no reason. We cannot control our emotion but we can make ways to not sink deeper into depression. No mother wants to entertain PPD but it hits at the most inopportune times. We can only hope that people around us can serve as our support system and the society can be more forgiving.
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