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Baby Blues – An unspoken reality

Sarah* was sitting outside her home… Crying. I asked her what happened? She said I have been thrown out of my own house. I inquired why? She said she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, whom she doesn’t love. I was confused, a mother who doesn’t love her own baby? How!? She said ever since I gave birth to him I could not feel that love for him… I could not sleep and felt sad all the time. I was restless and agitated… “He’s your own child, not loving him is a crime, hug him Sarah” I used to force myself to hold him. My husband thought I had gone insane. He threw me out of the house and has married another woman. I am all alone in this world and I feel like I have committed a huge crime … I feel… And she started crying again.

Baby blues or mood swings after giving birth, are not uncommon. Misunderstood, these mood swings often go unnoticed and undiagnosed. Sarah was one of the women I had encountered during a community visit to Rehri Goath (A village). She was labeled as crazy and pagal. But the truth is what she was feeling was not unnatural or uncommon. According to American Pregnancy Association approximately 70-80% of the new mothers develop negative thoughts or feelings towards their new born.

Their symptoms, just like Sarah’s, include crying, lack of sleep, agitation and prolong sadness. Doctors are still trying to find out the exact cause of this, but mainly it occurs because of hormonal changes (Chemical substances in our bodies which control many bodily functions including emotions). Many women do not talk about it as they feel that something is wrong with them as they should not be feeling this. They feel that they are committing a crime by not loving their own baby.

Women who feel that need to understand that they aren’t alone. And it’s not a crime. It’s only a matter of time till they’ll go back to loving their child. But what they should do is talk to someone. A friend or a relative they can confide to. Maybe visit a counselor or ask for help. Distract themselves and write down what they feel.

And we need to understand that stigmatizing them and labeling them as mad, crazy or nuts… Is not okay. They are not feeling what they are feeling on purpose. It’s not a crime and instead of penalizing them, support them and be there for them.

Let’s move our focus towards better mental health.

*Name changed

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