Motherhood, as most women would agree, is regarded as one of the most beautiful and poignant moments in a woman’s life. We have read countless women gushing over their experience of ushering in another life into the world, and have heard numerous women referring to this experience as life-altering. The feeling of bringing another individual into this world, who owe their existence completely to you, is perhaps, legitimately, precious.
The image of a mother, blissfully happy in motherhood and playing with her child, has been one that we have grown up watching, and one that validates what we feel about the experience. This, however, is the popular narrative– one that advertisement campaigns play on, and popular television series depict. This experience seems easy to comprehend and fathom.
The alternative to such a reality is starkly different, and evidently less rosy. Postpartum depression, or clinical depression a woman undergoes after giving birth to a child, is a rampant phenomenon.
Dr Kamal Khurana, a senior psychologist, Credihealth, says that postpartum depression, much like depression, is a manifestation rather than a cause, and is deeply embedded in psychology. Though the condition is person specific, Dr Khurana maintains that there are certain common symptoms. He adds that one of every three women cry incessantly after giving birth, or are overcome by a general sense of apathy towards life. They exhibit perceptible traits of aggression, irritation, and sometimes even complete refusal to take care of the child.
The reason, Dr Khurana feels, can be varied — they did not get enough attention before the pregnancy, or lost all the attention they were getting after giving birth to the child, or “the pregnancy was forced”. The doctor feels the women could not communicate their unwillingness at that time, and PPD manifested as a result of that. The reasons could be plenty, but it is the lack of love between the partners that Dr Khurana feels could be the most obvious cause. “One out of three woman was not loved by their partner,” he says.
The suppressed anger and hurt then is directed towards the child, as there is a subconscious attempt of taking revenge. “She feels like shouting out to the world that she has done her job,” adds the Delhi-based psychologist.
The cruel tragedy of the situation remains that many of the women going through PPD remain unaware of their actions and their repercussions. Their thought process is completely subconscious, the Dr Khurana says.
In this video, Dr Khurana speaks at length about PPD, its causes and how to deal with it. Watch a video of the conversation here.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines