Postpartum depression is one of the most common complications of childbirth. In fact, it affects about 500,000 mothers every year. In spite of the high prevalence, most women choose to suffer in silence and are even hesitant to ask for help.
Postpartum depression is not often talked about and the stigma around it often causes mothers who suffer to put a dirty hand over their mouth, preventing them from speaking up. It is the fear of not being good enough that stops these mothers from expressing how they really feel. Add to that, they are afraid of being labeled as sick, weak, damaged, inadequate, a bad mother etc.
The birth of a new baby is expected to be a joyful milestone in a woman’s life. This is why many of them are hesitant or scared to admit that they are not happy after giving birth to their babies. Women who are suffering from postpartum depression may find it difficult to handle the responsibilities of being a parent or do not feel attached to their babies. Oftentimes, this leads to guilt and constant anxiety.
Nobody is perfect, and there is no perfect mother either. But the pressure from everyone, including family, friends, doctors and even strangers, expecting you to be a perfect parent can be overwhelming. Sometimes, this pressure can become too much that it can have toxic consequences.
People are watching their every move, and some people are ready to pounce at a moment’s notice if they feel that mommy isn’t doing a good enough job. This magnifies the guilt and sometimes pushes them to commit suicide.
If a loved one or a friend is exhibiting signs of postpartum depression, it is crucial to engage them in a supportive, nonjudgmental manner. Reach out to them. Talk to them and see how you can help. If you think they’re not doing okay, then encourage them to get the help that they need. Instead of judging them, why not help them find hope during these darkest times?
Together, we can stop the stigma that strangles us and let us not allow mental illness to sit in silence any longer. Understand them. Be there for them. Listen to them.