For many months after my son’s birth, and subsequently the Postpartum Depression (PPD) that ensued, I have struggled to come to terms with the effects of my condition on my little one. Many times I have been asked, so how did you deal with it? Was there a support group? Did you seek professional help? And this is how I go about answering those questions.
- How did I deal with it? I fumbled my way, grappled in the gloom and dark that depression presents, taking steps. Sometimes I took 5 steps forward and 20 backwards when PPD reared its ugly head. On some days, just the realization that depression was a condition like any other is what kept me going. A day, sometimes an hour at a time.
- There was no support group, at least not that I know of presently in Kenya. And so the support structures for me, came in the form of family and very close friends, even when they had no inkling why my days were filled with sadness ‘when moms ought to be enjoying the new season’.
- I sought help online and mentioned it in this post, because it is what worked for me then. There is such a thing as Internet Cognitive Behavior Therapy for those with PPD. Just as the name suggests, this form of therapy involves taking up online treatment options that are adapted for moms with PPD. You can read more on this here.
- Here’s the thing. I was just about 23 years then and a jobless single parent finding my way around this thing called motherhood. I had saved up some money in the months leading up to my son’s birth, but you know how babies seemingly gobble up diapers, and how there are no free clinics? Yes. This meant that right at the bottom of my priorities was seeking help if I had to pay for it with money I did not have.
Read More: Scary Anger
That said, I knew that the blinding rage, the bubbling fury and the intrusive thoughts I often had were not merely superficial. The saddest bit, and anyone who has had PPD will relate, is that all these intense emotions are often directed at the child. The thoughts of hurling my LO downstairs were not far apart, there was always the lingering thought of ‘getting done and over’ with motherhood as well as the tears that soaked my pillow. The beatings that accompanied the potty training sessions, and tantrums, and the yelling….
All these things kept me up on many nights. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew I would seek professional help later in my journey. I was especially keen on knowing the effect PPD had/ would have on my son. I just didn’t know it would happen sooner, thanks to the gift of a lovely friend I met over at Bible Study.
This August, my little and I started seen a psychologist/therapist in light of my thoughts above. This is the first of posts that I will be blogging about on what I have learned, the progress we have made with my little and overall, insights that will helps better parenting skills. It is a journey I am really looking forward to, because it is never too late to get help.