Dear Tory lovers,
"Madam, If I meet you here like this tomorrow, I will refer you to the psychiatric hospital".
Those are the doctor's words that have hunted me for the past five years now.
Life indeed can be funny sometimes.
Now I wonder why I am starting my story with this but that's exactly how I feel.
Birthing a baby is the most beautiful thing that could happen to any woman but I can't say it was for me. Please, don't get me wrong, I am not ungrateful and I also know there are a lot of women out there who would give an arm and a leg just to have a child yet it's not happening for them.
I got married like every other girl out there and I never expected the turn of events that would change my life forever.
By the time I got pregnant for my first child in August 2015, hubby and I had accommodation challenge and we decided it was best we stayed with my parents-in-law since we already had a building in progress and monies for renting a new place could be channeled into our own house.
Hubby and I stayed with my in-laws all through the 9 months pregnancy period and of course, we had several issues which resulted in a fight one day, though we used to get along very well before I moved in with them.
I had the most seamless delivery, no stress at all.
There was no phone call or visitation whatsoever from my in-laws all through my stay in the hospital, not even my parent in-laws whom I left their home to go deliver in the hospital that Thursday night.
I was left only at the mercy of my cousins and a few friends who came to visit.
I ended up staying in the hospital for five days because hubby was shuttling between hospital and fixing the new house, distance and traffic made him always arrive at the hospital late and I couldn't be discharged at night.
I instantly assumed that my in-laws weren't happy with me, not even with the arrival of the baby.
The first time I remember crying was in the hospital, I remember holding my baby and crying bitterly because I was made to stay in the ward (not even a maternity ward) with other people who have been ill for a long time ( apparently I was dumped there because no one came to discharge me). A doctor came in the morning and saw me crying and holding my baby, then he asked what the matter was but I couldn't say anything. I didn't even know what to say. I just wanted to go home. I was tired, I wasn't sleeping well because I was sharing a tiny bed with my infant baby coupled with mosquitoes and having to stay up all night feeding the baby or being woken up by the cry of the sick people around me. That was the scariest moments of my life!
So the doctor yelled at me! He said if he meets me there the following day he would have to refer me to the psychiatric hospital, that I was a madwoman, that he was sure I was a bad person since nobody will leave a woman with a new baby in the hospital and many other horrible things. A nurse who was with him took the baby from me after he left. She helped calm me down and advised I reach out to someone to help get me out of the hospital after I explained the situation to her. It was from her I first heard of "depression" I still didn't even know of "postpartum depression" at the time.
I knew something was wrong after a month of birthing my baby. At first, I thought it was just the pain and stress of having to do everything myself but I would soon realize it was more than that. I began to snap at even the few people who would come to visit me and they always wonder why I had become such a bitter person instead of being excited for birthing such a beautiful girl.
I began to have very funny thoughts then I started to ask myself questions. Why do I think of abandoning my daughter and running away? Why do I feel so sad? Why do I feel like dying? Why do I even feel like taking my daughter's life? (I mean it was that bad). I became very afraid and even scared to tell anyone. Not that I even had anyone around me, just a few calls here and there once in a while.
I got really scared one day, picked up my phone and went on Google, and started searching for answers to all the questions I had. That was when the answers hit me; I was having postpartum depression!
And that was my first time coming across that word. Now I knew why the doctor in the hospital called me a madwoman, why the nurse mentioned depression and everything kept playing in my head.
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Without mincing words, many women go through this or similar situation unknown to them. Not too long ago there was the story of a woman who killed her baby a few months after delivery and if you watch her interview she was not even remorseful about what she had done.
Postpartum depression is real. It is an emotional experience that women go through which is triggered after child birth when they began to feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety or joy and fear all combined. Some women are able to overcome this by staying positive and focusing on good thoughts while it can be so overwhelming on others leading them to take wrong drastic actions especially when they are not surrounded by people who genuinely love and care about them.
Its symptoms include anxiety, mood swing, excessive crying, restlessness, insomnia, irritability, difficulty bonding with the baby, fear, hopelessness and so on. There are extreme cases of the new mother even having suicidal thoughts or intense impulsive harm on others.
My plea to every one of us is, please be nice to people you come across. You have no idea what anyone is going through. If you cannot help, do not in any way leave the person feeling worse. Times are really hard, do well to check on people around you and give a word of encouragement.
If you have been in the situation or know someone going through it, advise them to seek medical assistance immediately.
Don't forget, The Tory Teller loves you and is rooting for you. Sending you loads of love, hugs and kisses!
Photo credit: The Indian Express