We are not unfamiliar with the news of this 29 Year old new mom whom jumped off the building, cuddling her 2 month old baby.
Post Natal Depression.
I remembered how I suffered mild depression after I brought my son home from the hospital after 4 days of stay. The demands of a mom; unbeknownst to me fell on me hard. I did not know that every other sec of my life revolves around something about the baby. The breasts already could make one very busy. The feeling that my life got took over by someone else. And it all seemed to have happened overnight. And the problem was; I could not overturn the situation, or "unbaby". I have a baby now and a crying one. I was holding my son sobbing like a baby, with him crying as a baby.
Things got much better as the little bulb grew bigger. Most things were fine and we also seemed to ignore the small issues which bothers us. We did not put much attention of his consistent need to feed regularly throughout the night. In fact for many months, he fed every hour off me.
But the problem grew bigger when he has this horrible waking moments of crying. Honestly, the reasons for why those fierce and unconsolable cryings are still a mystery to me most of the time. In many instances, he did not want to put to bed by his father, and only wanted me, he can go on 1-2hours in serious soap opera.
His consistent behavioural of 'unreasonable crying'; - I called it, made me grew depressed even without realising it. Although his bedtime is 7pm, but we often have 2 hours or more of torture from him, waking up crying and sometimes if he has a certain demands, he cries long and hard.
This snowballed my emotions to a point that on a one day 2 weeks ago, I could not take the crying anymore and I slam the things all around his sleeping area with much anger and aggression. And it all happened before his eyes.
He then got fearful and cried even louder. You cannot imagine the scene. When my husband realised that I was already too broken and challenged, he asked me to go to another room. And back to my own room, I had to continue to whacking anything around me to unleash the anger and desperation and extreme fury inside of me. I so had it.
After 5 min of crazy, I left to my living room and tried to cool. I was so lost. So angry. So pissed at the same time but so guilty. At the same time thinking of the damaged I have done to my boy, but at the same time having enough anger to not burst out in tears crying in regret because I did not even want to feel that I was wrong. And that my son deserved it.
But honestly, as I started to simmer down, I knew I was left with guilt and sorrow. I was angry with myself for not being able to understand him or help train to sleep properly so that he would not have to be so unhappy or be filled with demands. I thought of how I had to face him the next morning or how I had to answer my actions to my husband later, it just made me felt like sh*t.
The struggle of motherhood is so great and overwhelming sometimes, that it does not feel that anyone ever thinks that you need a break or if it was a difficult day. I seemed to need to have all the answers and also could not tell my son that I need a few hours break from him and go away to a corner by myself to ponder or rest... or just do nothing. And in the midst of handling my own brokenness and guilt, the next day his wailing continues.., and I will have no choice but to be placed in that 'black hole' all over again.
I am a bad mom. I told myself for a few days. And I told myself often.
The difficulty in post-natal depression is the fact that it is difficult to own up and be honest that 'we have done things'. Perhaps out of anger, fear or out of weakness. I knew I had to face it by talking about it. I had to speak to my husband and have clarity of the situation.
Depression can be a subtle thing. Not everyone starts by crying, ends by crying. Once or twice when I shared my struggles to one or two people, they would laugh off my words that I am depressed. They did not get it that I was a truly depressed mom by now.
Depression is like a cancer, it grows sometimes silently on you and at some point, there will be a breaking point of discovery. But early detection of signs is good.
Most of us as mommies are not chronic. It is not like we have to rely on pills or medication. But it is just the roller coaster rides of a being a new mom. - Having to lift up the expectations of self, in our careers, as a wife, as a mom.
This new found role is filled often with conflicted thoughts, confusing feelings, failing in personal and family expectations, sometimes.
I pondered through how alone I felt and how helpless my husband and I felt when we were trying to handle him all over again in the night, be stuck in the room with him with his loud decibel cryings. It came to a point, I dreaded the night and all I wished was I do not wake in the middle of the night, and wished dawn has come again for me.
This experience and an still-on-going experience made me wonder the support our society has for new parents. In my moments of not being able to let my son sleep in peace, I kept thinking of the possibilities of perhaps having some help or maybe if theres a professional sleeping bootcamp in Singapore to help us.
The desperation was real and all our prayers were screaming for miracles.
I find that the society does not have enough support for people like us, without parents or parents in-laws to help even from time to time. A infant care center cant help and a nanny would not have such obligations to give us such emergency help.
What can the society do? What can we do to offer more practical support? How can we minimise postpartum depression by the numbers? Can we improve in the way we communicate? Could we be more sensitive to people new to such phase? And can you be honest when you are not feeling good inside of you? There is no shame in this sh*t we go through.
I believe that we can all have collectively effort to bring about the awareness of postpartum depression and at the same time, have compassion and empathy for new parents' and their helplessness.
So, I encouraged you, if you know someone who is a new mom, or who is depressed, or might need you to give a concern or you know by sharing this article can help someone, please keep this sharing going on. Let someone know we care.
Write to me your thoughts or perhaps your experience. I want to know. We are not alone.