I have penned these words several times in my head before I could write them. I wanted to address this issue for a long time but was afraid of being judged. This has been difficult and I feel very raw, vulnerable, and fearful sharing this with everyone.
But, I feel it’s important to talk because it may give others the hope that they have the power to change their day and their thoughts if they don’t quit. I have struggled in the past and still struggle from depression, on and off. The first time I realized that something was not right with me and that I needed help was after my daughter’s birth. I thought that I was tired physically and mentally, and it was a temporary phase. But, days turned into months, and then my daughter turned one. On some days, I used to feel numb and on some days, I felt an unexplainable rage and anger boiling inside me.
My life had changed from the time I had gotten pregnant. I had a challenging pregnancy with vomitings all throughout the nine months. Then, my water broke a week before my due date, and after 14 hours of labor, I had a cesarean delivery. I love my daughter immensely. However cliche it may sound, she is my life. But after her birth, I felt as if I had lost my identity and purpose. I don’t know if any other mothers can relate to this feeling, given that motherhood is glorified as the biggest gift and a source of joy in our society.
I was constantly feeding, changing diapers, and putting my daughter to sleep. I thought, once I resume my job, I may feel happy again. But, it didn’t work. I started therapy but within 3 weeks into it, we had to move to the US because of my husband’s job. As a result, I didn’t get a chance to have enough sessions with my psychiatrist.
I joined a yoga studio close to my house thinking that yoga may help me calm my mind, my anxiety, and depression. It did help but not much. I felt isolated, alone, and frustrated even though I was busy with my yoga teacher training, taking care of a toddler, settling in a new country alongside my husband’s job which involved a lot of travel.
In these past years, I have realized that apart from therapy, curating happiness from small things helps me when it starts getting bad again. It doesn’t come naturally. It takes a lot of effort and willpower to do something that makes me happy even if it is momentarily. During such days, sometimes, I just push myself to go out for a walk, sleep for some extra hours, binge-watch a comedy show, listen to music, call my mom, eat my favorite food, apply my favorite perfume, go through old family pictures, and continue teaching my yoga classes.
I am not an expert on this subject, but what I realized is that it’s ok not to act too strong and independent all the time. You should let your guard down and feel all the emotions. Remember that nobody gets out of experiences like these easily but you get through the first by accepting that you are feeling depressed, then by taking charge of your mental health, and by doing things – big or small that help you sail through it.
Be proud of every little step that you take towards recovery and trust me, it may feel never-ending but you will soon see the ray of light. And, I didn’t just heal myself after having a traumatic pregnancy and birth experience, I found a purpose by helping other women in their pregnancy journey. I have been conducting prenatal and postnatal yoga classes for the past seven years now. I’m grateful to educate, empower, and make women mentally and physically stronger to handle the most vulnerable time of their lives.
Author: Rupali Mahajan