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The One Thing No One Talks About Postpartum Depression

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

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“Oh my God, looks at this bundle of joy! You know how many people pay thousands of dollars just to have a kid. You are so lucky.”

This probably does not make sense for some people because this is something you should say, right? I mean, it sounds so nice. But shoulds could get you in a lot trouble.

Postpartum depression is a very tough subject, one that I tried many times to write about. It is not easy because for me to even pen these words with my little daughter sitting beside me is unthinkable.

Maybe you’ve never heard of it or maybe you have. It’s just depression right? Depression after you have your baby…wait, what?! Hold on.

Why would you feel sad after giving life to a new soul? What is depressing about the joys of having a new baby? Shouldn’t you actually be happy and grateful?

I battled with postpartum depression and I still can’t answer these questions. So I can imagine how baffling and maddening this disorder might be for people who never experienced it first hand.

“I feel like killing my baby. I hate it.”

She could not even say he or she but only an “it.” That is so how detached my friend felt from her newborn. When she told me how depressed she was and how she couldn’t stand this newborn “it”, I understood. I also knew that she knew that I understood because only mothers who actually suffered from this disorder get it. Everyone doesn’t and honestly can’t. How can I describe the color blue to a person who was blind all their life? I can’t and that doesn’t mean the blind person doesn’t want to understand. It’s just that the color palette is not in their repertoire of experiences.

So hopefully these words can shed some light on what this disorder is and instill a culture of love and understanding for the mothers who do deal with this maddening illness.

If you’ve never had postpartum depression, you might think mothers like these are psychos and should never be near any child, let alone their own. How can someone want to hurt their own child? I can understand harming oneself or someone you hate or who has wronged you. But what justifies feelings of violence against a part of yourself, an innocent baby.

And the answer is there is no justification. There is no explanation. That’s why it’s an illness. A disease plagues your body without your permission. It intrudes your body and many deadly illnesses turn your own body against you. So what’s the point of this post? We already saw that a person without postpartum depression can’t really empathize with a mother who is challenged with this disorder unless they went through something very similar.

However, people who can’ fully understand this illness can sympathize with the mothers who have it. What does that actually look like? It means cut us some slack dude! We are trying here. And to help you a little more, here is something that you do NOT say to a mother suffering with postpartum depression:

“Oh my God, looks at this bundle of joy! You know how many people pay thousands of dollars just to have a kid. You are so lucky.”

Seriously, don’t say that. At least not yet. That’s like your mom forcing you to finish your food as a kid because all those starving kids in Africa would love to have this full plate in front of you.

I mean, I get it. Gratitude is a great mood booster. I know. I have a daily gratitude practice. But if I’m in pain, I need someone to be in the arena with me, fighting and struggling alongside with me. I know, I’m high on Brene Brown. I’ve read four of five of her books in the past month and her concepts and analogies just unintentionally spew into my convos and writing. But she does make a good point. If you are not down there in the dirt, sweating and bleeding with me, I’m not interested in your help, feedback or “constructive” criticism. And the odd thing is that you don’t have to have postpartum to understand a mother suffering from it. You just need to empathize with the feelings she is going through. When you do that, she will know that you “get” her and that builds trust and connection. And that my friend spurs action, not being guilted into being “grateful” artificially.

Empathizing with someone who is suffering builds a special bond where you can sit in silence and just be in the moment. Even though her suicidal thoughts or feelings of harm might scare you to death, you feel her sentiments. She needs a way out and when you know what not to say, you might just be the light at the end of the psych ward she needs and desperately seeks.

#islam #motherhood #postpartumdepression

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