Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Post Partum Depression Is Not a Myth

I belong to an online mommy community where most of the members are breastfeeding advocates. It was through their constant preaching that I decided to breastfeed if ever I get pregnant again.

Lo, and behold, I did! So I conditioned myself on the hardships and complications of breastfeeding. When I gave birth, they brought my newborn to me and immediately latched. I could never be happier.

True enough, breastfeeding is not a walk in the park. The first week was difficult but I never gave up. Every contraction and chapped nipples actually urged me on and I held firm on my resolve.

But what got to me that made me decide to mix feed was post partum depression. 

Contrary to what people think, it's not a myth. One friend even shared that her elders does not believe in it as it only happens in the US. The shift in hormones can really make your brain go haywire. I went through crying spurts and wishing that I never got pregnant. There were moments that I didn't want to see my baby. Having no yaya for a month also added to the cocktail of volatile emotions that it's a big miracle I held everything together and lived to tell the tale.

Two months post partum, I could say I'm in a better place. Still not 100% there but definitely better than where I was a month before. Here are my learnings from my experience:

1. Don't be ashamed to accept or ask for help - having a dependable yaya nowadays is a valuable commodity--like looking for that rare pokemon. In case you're not successful in your search, have your mom or a relative/friend stay with you to help you out or even vice versa. Live with your mom while you're on maternity leave. Nothing like your mom's tender loving care to help you take care of yourself as well as your baby. Though we are painted as such, our superwoman powers can only take us so far. Take that long bath. Have that me time so you can breathe. Have someone wash the clothes or cook the meals. For CS moms (like me), you just went through a major operation. Give your bodies time to heal and recuperate.
In my case, my mother-in-law was a big help. Whenever she's at home, she would take the baby and let me have time to myself. I took my time taking a bath and finally had the chance to scrub off the grime from my operation. 

2. Surround yourself with positive things - itapon lahat ng nega. I didn't watch any heavy drama series during this period. I kept tabs on my favorite ALDUB LT which was my happy pill. I also listened to relaxing music and gorged on interesting shows on TV (FYI is my favorite channel and I want a "Tiny House"!). If you have people around you who think they know better, just tune them out. And if you need to, call a friend just to rant and share what you feel. You really need to get it out and you cannot keep it to yourself. Don't be ashamed that you're crying for no reason at all.

3. Get out of the house - once you're able, get out of your room. A change of scenery will do you good. In case you can't leave the house, go to a different room or get some fresh air. Being cooped up in our room the whole day drove me crazy. I was climbing walls and it added to my depression. Less than one month post partum, I wanted to go back to work! What I did was after lunch, I would bring my son to the den and I would watch my tv shows from there. And then would just go up to our room at twilight. Besides, it's better to stay at the ground floor as I had the misfortune of giving birth during summer. It's hotter at the second floor of the house as the heat rises up.

4. Sleep - better said than done considering your infant does not know how to differentiate night from day. But given a chance, get some rest. Believe me, your brain will conjure more depressing stuff when sleep deprived. Everything will look better after a good night's (or in our case, a couple of hours) sleep. 
During the height of my depression, I confided to a friend and she sent me a Spotify playlist which really let me relax and get some sleep.

5. Breastfeed - this actually releases happy endorphins. So even if I'm mixed feeding, I ensure to do this. It not only benefits him but me as well.

So remember, you are not alone in what you are feeling. Warm hugs to you and know that if I was able to get through it, you will too.

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