A friend of mine says that her mother calls the phenomenon of post natal depression “Angrezi Bakwaas”- that when you have a child you should be so naturally overjoyed and fulfilled that sadness and frustration are the last things on your mind. The same friend went through a rough patch following the birth of her son and she couldn’t talk to her mother about it because…well..according to her mother, she was being a drama queen and thousands of women across the world did this everyday, without the help that my friend had.
A lot of my friends who had babies went through a period of adjustment following their baby’s birth. Some more tough than others. Tantrums, tears, frustration, excitement, joy, madness, chaos, exhuastion, and yes maybe even depression- any new mom would smile and nod hysterically at these words- they are very familiar indeed. The change is enormous and you cannot predict when the sheer overwhelmingness of it will creep up on you. Some of us are luckier than others, and a few tantrums and screaming banshee fits later, we are able to put the whole thing behind us and actually BE happy. Others are not so lucky. A doctor friend tells me how this can be traced back to your own feeling of not having done enough for yourself as a person before motherhood collides with you. “If you feel that the child slows you down, changes your career path and basically doesn’t allow you the life you want, you will get upset. Hormones play a huge role too because suddenly there will be a sense of loss because the bbay which was yours alone now beloings to the world. You will be upset at that too.”
The first 6 weeks were a rollercoaster ride. You did not know when a dip was coming and you felt like screaming with exhilaration at the highs. The lows exhausted you and even the steady plateaus of routine just made you antsy in anticipation of what was going to come. Today, 4 months, later, I still have to tell myself, very strictly, to take each day as it comes. To not get upset when a previously planned day goes haywire. And not start counting my chickens in advanced if we have a great time-managed week. I still sometimes have to talk myself out of the disappointment of delayed shopping trips and cancelled visits and missed deadlines and learn to rejoice in the milestones that I am able to be a part of each day with Naddu because of my decision to be at home with him. Some days it takes every ounce of your energy and positivity and sense of humour to be able to look at your well ordered life from before and smile and exclaim, “oh what the hell” and actually mean it. And the funny thing is the more the more that happens, the more you actually DO mean it.