This Too Shall Pass

Written By

Ushasi Sen Basu

This Too Shall Pass Loading

I was 32 when I had my baby. My husband and I were in a good place – financially, and otherwise. I’d taken a break from work after thinking long and hard on it. I had domestic help lined up, and both our mothers dancing attendance on me. Though the last point had its own challenges, on the whole, one has to admit — I was lucky.

Then the much-awaited little girl arrived. She had the hugest eyes I’d ever seen. ‘Finally, the wait ends and the rest of my life begins’ I thought dramatically. (I had 9 months to get the wording just right). In retrospect, this was true. My whole life has changed because of this little person; and at least a 1000 times for the better. 1050 times now that she goes to school for three hours.

But soon after, I started feeling funny. I felt low because I didn’t know how to pick her up properly, and once I’d conquered that first problem, she refused to latch on correctly. The pediatrician told me the baby had jaundice because I hadn’t given her adequate nourishment. (I think my face annoyed him, because he was unfailingly unkind.) The nerves of everyone around infected and possessed me.

Still, for the first three days in hospital, help from professionals was just a bell-push away. When I went home, things got worse. The baby didn’t love me. She preferred everyone over me.

It was like a rug had been pulled out from under my feet and I was sprawled on my back, breathless and unable to get up. To be honest, the people around me with all their opinions didn’t help. (I’m sorry my people!) I just sat and cried every day; the buttons of my top done up wrong, uncombed hair standing on end. I felt a complete failure as a mother.

Then a cousin said on the phone one day, “You obviously have post-partum depression. I had a very bad spell of it, too; so just stick it out, it’ll go away eventually.” Just putting a name to it made it a little manageable somehow. So this is what it is, I thought wonderingly. Perhaps everything I’m feeling is not reality but the hormones messing with my head. Maybe the baby doesn’t hate me, maybe she even likes me…

And it made me grit my teeth and hang in there. I began to insist on my way of things, and slowly but surely I gained my confidence back and the clouds began to recede. I can say that I was officially PPD-free the day my interfering maid quit, and all my family had cleared out. I was alone with my daughter, just me and her. After a whole day of handling her myself, I realized that she loved me and I loved her; and I’d do everything to be the best mother she could wish for.

It was that day, when she was 2 months old, and we gazed at each other uninterruptedly between poo-breaks and meal-breaks and nap breaks; that I realized it was now that my wait had finally ended; and my wonderful life with the centre of my world had just begun.

Tips to help combat PPD

  1. Do some pre-delivery reading on PPD. Many mommies don’t get it, but if it does rear its ugly head; you’ll be prepared. Knowledge is power.
  2. Try not to listen to everyone giving you their two paisa worth (except me!)
  3. Cut yourself and your baby some slack. I absolutely guarantee, once both of you have adjusted to these startlingly new circumstances, you’ll be best friends.
  4. If lack of help is making things unmanageable and depressing, get it! There’s no shame in taking help from neighbours, family, friends and HUSBAND. If too much help is the problem, don’t hesitate to trim the fat.
  5. If it gets too bad, consult your gynaecologist. A professional opinion will put things in perspective.
  6. Breathe… this too shall pass.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ushasi Sen Basu, 37, lives in Bangalore and is the erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of SiyaWoman.com. She published her debut contemporary literary fiction novel, 'Kathputli’ in early 2017, in both Kindle and paperback formats. Ushasi has been a professional writer and editor for over a decade. She also has an unpopular blog called The Crib that pokes fun at everything, including herself. Ushasi (aka Shashi, "U" and 'You-Over-There') loves literature and music, and dances like nobody’s watching. She is the mother of a five-year-old girl, who is the joy of her life and grudging guinea pig for many of her parenting experiments.

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