Postpartum depression: Why we need to talk about it?
Giving birth counts as one of the most precious experiences that a woman or a “mom” can have. New mothers go on a new journey of transformation. From being a wife to becoming a mother that goes into the exhausting giving birth process. Supposedly, mothers are always expected to be happy, joyful, and satisfied after giving birth, since it is seen as a wonderful moment. However, these expectations are challenging for new mothers. Many find themselves stuck in their shield and can’t express their depression, sadness, and deepest fears. In the end, mothers reach a point where they keep the inner emotions that cause them to suffer from PPD or what is known as Postpartum depression.
What’s Postpartum depression?
After delivery, new mothers experience changes. Whether on the inside or outside. These changes tend to impact her interpersonal world and eventually lead to negative thoughts and feelings. It happens usually 4 weeks after giving birth. Among these feelings are sadness, severe depression, guilt, fatigue, loss of appetite, and many more. Based on studies, depression hit 11% of women before delivery, and up to 14% after. What’s important is that approximately 23% of Muslim women experience PPD.
There are endless reasons behind such a result, among them is the age where young mothers would be at a higher risk of experiencing PPD. Not having sufficient support from the surrounding, a history of depression in the family, or marital issues can also be on the list of causes. Not bringing out emotions of shame and guilt ranks the first to be a major cause of new mothers experiencing PPD. The overwhelming expectations that new mothers find themselves in are the reasons why they keep silent until they reach behavioral, psychological, and hormonal changes leading to PPD. The social pressure of them being happy and joyful while they can feel sad and depressed causes them to feel guilty and shameful.
Comebacks from the surroundings
Family members or spouses would feel confused and often misunderstand PPD as a whole. Sometimes when new mothers open up about their feelings, their surroundings would judge them for being ungrateful. it generally happens rather than offering her support. More often, new mothers find themselves accused of not appreciating “motherhood”. Nor their new child. This puts them in a deep hole of negative emotions about themselves. One of the accusations that new mothers are addressed with by their spouses is laziness to become a mother. This is highly disappointing and discouraging. When new mothers receive such accusations, judgments, and attacks, they choose to stay silent. They suffer internally without letting their surroundings know about what they are going through.
Does it differ from normal adjustment issues?
Many mothers wouldn’t be able to distinguish between adjustment issues after delivery and Postpartum depression. There are certain signs to look at when you want to know the difference. First, consider monitoring sadness, anxiety, or depression for weeks post-delivery. If these feelings are persistent, then there is a high chance you’re suffering from PPD. When new mothers tend to not take care of their hygiene, house chores, or daily activities, there must be a red alert. A huge change in personality, in a negative way, could be an additional sign to look for in case you’re wondering if you suffer from Postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression and its place in Islam
Allah (SWT) in the Quran and the Prophet’s Hadiths, both were keen on highlighting the importance of mothers. Taking care of mothers on a daily basis, giving them emotional and social support, and comforting them are strongly encouraged in Islam. When Muslim mothers are supported by their surroundings, they will create a healthy lifestyle. This leads to a healthy environment for their children- the future generations. In the meantime, motherhood tends to be disrespected in different societies. Yes, and through several means. What is important is to do the opposite thing and to put the maximum effort into honoring such a precious and treasured role. As Muslims, it is a duty to provide total support for mothers. Not only for one day but on a daily basis. In order to have healthy future generations.
(Written by freelancer Yara Lotfy)