Post-Partum Depression is a topic not commonly talked about in our society. Mommy Jumie, a mother of one, shares her experience to shine light on an issue that keeps mothers in the dark.
“In hindsight, I knew something was off when my mom commented how good he smelled and I realized I’m not aware of my son’s scent because I did not have that urge to "take him all in" after birth. I dreaded each day I was left alone with my son. Yet, every day, I would still tell him I love him, only to realize that I was probably doing that to convince or remind myself that that's what I am supposed to be feeling.
Whenever he cried and couldn’t figure out what he wanted, I felt like a failure. I felt inadequate most of the time. Taking care of him became utilitarian. I was always watching the clock, waiting and praying for my husband to get home already so I could breathe and relax again. My husband was my greatest support system then by letting me be me. He allowed me to cry and shout when I needed to release all the emotions.
Opening about postpartum depression is difficult. I would get comments like: "Amuyin mo lang ang baby mo sasaya ka na.", "Ha?! Ang sarap-sarap nga ng baby e!" which were not helpful at all. They made me question if I was fit to be a mother. Perhaps it would have been better if there was an attempt to understand what I was going through. Maybe it would have been nice if more people were willing to just listen.
Am glad that aside from my husband, there are people who showed up during these tough times. My OB urged me to go out and do things I used to enjoy doing prior to giving birth. There were friends who reassured me that I am not a bad mother, that I should be kind to myself, and that it's okay to experience these difficulties because even if they're not usual, they are normal. These were the best things to hear then because I was so full of doubt and sadness and was really feeling defeated. My mom and lola also helped me with the mental load by sending helpers and food.
Different activities helped me help myself. I watched TV shows when my son was feeding to help regulate my emotions. In my 7th-week I had a haircut and I felt like a new person. By the 10th week, I received a go-signal to go back to pilates. Looking back, it was the "looking forward to something" that helped a lot. I also started an online journal. Journaling is a big part of my life even prior to having a child so to be able to do that again was helpful.
To all the moms going through postpartum depression: you are not a bad mother. What you are going through right now will not define how your relationship will be with your child weeks, months, or years from now. Your body went through so much and it needs time to adjust, give it time. In the meantime, try to do things that you used to enjoy. That person is still there, you are still you. "