Indians’ awareness is severely lacking in the issue of PPD, the acronym for post-partum depression and many Indian mothers are struggling with it in silence.
PPD is a silent, life-sucking, invisible monster that makes the life of mothers hellish
I am going to cite a personal story regarding PPD. My nephew, sister’s son was born when I was 18. I was there when she was giving birth. Like many Indian men, my sister’s husband chickened out from being with his wife when she was pushing his child out from her vagina.
The next day, when my mother and I visited my sister, she was crying because she didn’t know how to handle her baby. My nephew was crying himself.
Fast forward, my sister and her baby came to our house for the confinement period. It wasn’t a blissful time, rather a tormented period. My sister was cranky and she showed her crankiness at me particularly, forbidding me from carrying her newborn and being near him when I was on my periods. I was very hurt but that’s another story.
Months passed and my sister would often come to our house, carrying her baby son and tell us that she doesn’t know how to best nurture her baby – that she’s afraid she’d harm him. Other times, she’d come and say that her in-laws mean harm to her baby. These are clear symptoms of PPD.
I was unaware of PPD at that time and my mom and my sis’ in-laws’ reactions were worst. They asked her if she’s the only one in the world who gave birth to a child to kick up such a fuss, “Ulagathila iva orthi dha pullaiya pettha maari nadanthukura.” (She’s behaving like she’s the only one who had a baby in this world) My mom forbade my sister from coming to our house without her husband and her in-laws’ permission. My sister vented out her angst at me – she flung my books out of the house and accosted me for letting dust accumulate on the porcelain deco that she had bought for our house. At hindsight, I am glad she took it out on me and not on her baby.
Many Indian men and elders think that women with PPD are acting-up and overreacting, staging a drama or dismiss it as baby blues
Throughout this time, my brother-in-law had been the typical Indian man – unhelpful, non-supporting and by no means took part in taking care of his firstborn.
Somehow, my sis’ colleague to whom which she had confided in, told her that what she’s feeling is classic symptoms of PPD and my sister sought treatment – SECRETLY. She had told our cousin sister back then to whom she is very close to. I was only told about this a few years back. If PPD is explained to our mom and my sis’ in-laws, the reaction will be “Meh, in those days, women had 12 – 20 children. These days, 1 – 2 kids only and so much fuss.” They don’t take into account the current rat-race and stress as well as the fact that women those days definitely had PPD but it wasn’t yet medically recognised.
PPD can last for years and in extreme cases, result in filicide. Read about Andrea Yates – she drowned 5 of her children due to PPD. It’s important to know about PPD. It’s more common than you think and, no, it’s not a phase that will pass soon enough – it requires timely intervention and medical solution.
Motherhood is painted with rainbow colours when often, it’s dreary and grey. It’s not easy pushing out a baby out of the vagina – for many women, it’s highly traumatising. C-section is equally a travail. Pregnancy and childbirth change a woman’s body to an unimaginable extent – you make memes on how girls become aunties after marriage and becoming a mother, being fucking insensitive and ingrates.
Being a mother means expectations piled on her, she should be selfless and all sacrificing. It’s really a burden. We should allow mothers some breathing space and pitch in the upbringing of children – fathers, do your part. The kids are yours too. When faced with feminists many men love to say, “You are here because of a man, your father.” No one is denying that fact. But, when are you going to do more than saying that you ejaculated?
Doing more isn’t as in providing as a breadwinner – it’s as in support for your wife from her pregnancy to the newborn and new mother care.