They’re real – so very real, it’s scary.
It’s not some nightmare or horror story people tell you in hopes you can sympathise with the difficulties of parenthood.
They’re an actual monster come to life that breathes into one of the most precious and beautiful moments in your life, and makes it into one of the ugliest. They’re beasts that has claimed the lives of many (who would’ve been) loving parents and ripped its tear-stained claws through the fabric of happy families.
Disclaimer: I’m in no way trying to write a medically-accurate article. I’m just sharing my own experience, and it’s worthwhile to note that everyone goes through postnatal blues differently.
The sad thing is, no one seems to talk about postnatal blues enough. It seems to be taboo? Or maybe we just be like ostriches; stick our head in the sand and hope it doesn’t come for us. Or maybe, what’s even worse and I think more probable, is that more and more people succumb to postnatal blues, and become entirely different people without even knowing it. And no one will be any wiser; even the parent himself/herself. Because parenthood itself changes you too. So, if the monsters of postnatal blues killed the old person off and replaced him/her with a shell – who’s going to know? Who’s going to be able to hear the desperate and silent cries of a parent, over the loud screams of a young baby?
I had a very severe case of postnatal blues. No, I didn’t go to see a doctor – but it’s not my first rodeo with depression. It was like an old friend that came knocking on my door once more. I know depression when I see it. Even these days when I bring my baby out and see other parents, I can tell many of them actually have depression which I highly suspect is brought by the monsters of postnatal blues.
So, why is postnatal blues extra scary?
Because hardly anyone ever instinctively thinks to help the parent. Everyone is either swooning over the newborn baby or trying to stop it from fussing. And rightfully so, actually. The baby is brand new to the world and is 100% reliant on others to survive.
And while everyone is so incredibly distracted with the baby, the parent is left one side just dying little by little every moment – in plain sight in front of everyone. This, is one of the highest forms of loneliness I’ve ever experienced. You’re there right in front of everyone, everyone practically falling in love with this beautiful piece of you that’s lying in the crib – but no one actually sees you.
But it’s not other people’s fault.
Y’see – more often than not, even the parent himself/herself doesn’t even try to save himself/herself from the monsters of postnatal blues. He/she is typically too busy attending to the baby, trying to appear strong and happy in front of everyone… then by the time it’s too late, it’s really too late.
What it was like for me
I had an extremely traumatic and stressful confinement period. Even as I’m writing this, I’m still nursing my wounds, healing from the trauma and harbouring a lot of resentment against those who caused me so much pain and robbed me of happiness during the first few months of my firstborn’s life.
Every single day, I contemplated suicide at least 5 times. And did foolish things at least twice. I cried till I was literally dehydrated. I was tired beyond belief, but I just couldn’t sleep because the monsters won’t let me.
At first I controlled myself because I didn’t want my baby to be without his mother. But over the next few days, when the horrible situation of my confinement period got even worse – it was like I lost my mind. I sometimes even forgot I have a child, sometimes I even resented I had a child because everything was so much easier, then I would resent myself for even feeling that way and decide that my child is better without a mother like me anyway.
It got so bad that even my husband started having his own monsters too. The man who always held my hand as I fought through depression in my younger years, was crumbling right before me. And neither of us were in any position to help each other up this time.
It was like this for the first few months of my postpartum.
So, how did I get over it?
I don’t think I really am completely over it, to be honest.
Like I said, I still get upset and have a lot of resentment. But I did get stronger. Over time, I built a stronger and loving relationship with my baby – which constantly gives me strength to fight on and be there for him. And in that way, my baby is the reason why I’m fighting to get over it.
But a big part of being able build a loving relationship with my baby, was because I was aware of my monsters and decided not to let them get in the way of my baby and me.
And slowly, I’ve became a lot fiercer than my monsters of postnatal blues. Just started flinging pink hearts at them! 💓💓💓 Hahaha.
The monsters are still fierce and strong, and they still come at me every now and then – but not as fierce or as strongly as I want to be the best mother I can be, to the best baby in world (in my entirely biased and unobjective opinion 😜).
Alongside, I also have some of the most loving friends around me. When it comes to fighting depression, having a good support system makes all the difference. Trust me on this!
Which is why I’ve long concluded that it was never about the number of friends you have, how wealthy/accomplished/funny/attractive etc. they are, – it was always about how much those friends are willing to hold your hand and stand your ground with you, while the tsunamis of life come at both of you.
You guys know who you are!! ❤️❤️ And some of them are actually newfound friends I found in mummy communities too. Thank you all so so much. I wouldn’t trade our friendship for even my ugly c-section scar disappearing! That’s how much your friendship means to me.
And I really, really, reallyyyyyy want my ugly c-section scar to disappear. 😢😢
Aiya, but it’s alright lah. If it wasn’t for the emergency c-section operation, I would’ve lost my baby. And I simply cannot imagine my life without my little bundle of joy. He’s the best thing that has happened to me, and it was because I fought off my monsters of postnatal blues – I was finally able to see all that, and run with him toward a happy future together. ❤️👶🏻
If you or someone you know is suffering from postnatal blues, please seek help. It’s not taboo, it’s not wrong, it’s not weak to ask for help. In fact, the very act of seeking help when you genuinely need help is one of the bravest and selfless things to do. There’s help at many facilities, like at KKH.
And if you’re comfortable with it, I’m also open to talking. Sometimes you just need someone to listen to you and make you feel heard and seen. I promise I won’t judge, and I won’t even try to fix your problems if that’s what you don’t want me to do – I’ll just be a parent helping out a fellow parent in need. ❤️🩹 You can send me an email at email@example.com! And of course, everything you share with me will be treated with utmost confidentiality.