Thursday, October 12, 2006

Postpartum Blues

I went through a pretty bad case of postpartum blues, which took me by surprise. I had been so looking forward to the baby that it never occured to me that I would feel anything but deliriously happy when the baby was born! I was a sleep-deprived, weepy, anxious, exhausted and a very moody new mom. It started the very next day. The hospital room, which I had to share with another person, did not help. I was in the windowless part of the room and the small area was claustrophobic. My little one was 3.5 weeks early and was tongue tied. So nursing was a very traumatic time for me as well as the baby (both of us would cry the whole time!). We had just moved to a new house and were not properly set up (we still have some stuff at my old place, after 3 months!) I was very overwhelmed with everything. I'd cry for no reason and would not stop! After a particularly bad bout, my mom gave me a biosalt called KaliPhos (my mom is a big homeopathy buff). It helped me have a good night's sleep and overcome the worst phase. Talking to others who went through it helped tremendously. Actually, just talking to people helped. I have been lucky that I had people who understood what I was going through and were there for me. It surprised me to know that almost 80% of postpartum women experience some form of the blues!

In India, a woman is in confinement for 40 days after birth of the baby, when she is forced to rest & to recuperate from the childbirth. She is given oil massages and hot baths everyday. Her food intake is carefully monitored. There's wisdom in many of the traditional practices. During the first 6 weeks after delivery, the pregnancy pounds are relatively easier to come off. It gets more difficult to lose weight after that period. With the traditional diet that I was put under for the 40 days, which had 1-2 spoons full of ghee at every meal(!), I lost 21 of the 27 pounds that I had gained during the pregnancy! The diet had adequate nutrition for me as well as the nursing baby. It also helped with lactation. It seems astounding to me that people centuries ago, with no education to speak of, could devise such a diet (vegetarian at that)!

If you know of any person going through the blues, please, please visit and/or call them often. Have them get a full night's sleep at least once. It helps a lot! KP, the biosalt, is available at homeopathy stores and online. Encourage them to go out and do something they love. It may take weeks but it will pass eventually. Just be there for them. They need you.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Am glad you had people around you that helped you through it....and you are right about the traditional diet...it does help with nursing and I too was surprised I lost my pregnancy weight inspite of eating all the ghee that my mother would literally pour on top of my food.

Anonymous said...

Vani, i've completed the tag. Do take a look when u find time. Thx again for tagging me.

Nee said...

Oh dear! Am so glad that you had people around who understood you, and that you're able to enjoy your baby now Vani! *Hugs*

Nee

Vani said...

J! Thx for taking up the tag!
U're right. That diet has so much fat but u still lose the weight! Amazing!

Nee! Yup, M is so much fun these days. I really do enjoy my time with her.

Foodie's Hope said...

Baby blues are very real,I had it for some time!! It gradually disappears itself if it's mild! For severe cases, you have got to go the the hospital and get treated!

I am glad you are okay now! Family and friends do help a lot! I was all alone in England with a very busy husband!Thank God I survived somehow!Second time, I was a happy camper,no problemos!!:D

Happy Diwali!!

shilpa said...

Well..I didn't know anything about it...Thanks for sharing that Vani.

Vani said...

Hi Asha! I'm so sorry that u went thru it too. That too alone! But am glad to see that it was alright the second time over.

Hi Shilpa! I had to share this because so many people did not know how to react to my situation. Some people were like "I'll talk to u when u feel better!" not knowing that I needed them more at that point than later.

starry nights said...

Post partum blues is real, I went through that after my second child was born,was aweful.thank god I got over it but it did take a toll on my husband, he did not quite unserstand what was happening to me.I am sure your post is going to help a lot of women who dont know this. Thanks for sharing.Thanks for stopping by my blog and please do come again.

Vani said...

Thanks for dropping by, Starry Nights! I'm glad to share this coz I know that till I went thru it myself, postpartum blues was just a term to me. It takes a toll on everyone - the mom, the baby, the immediate family.

Gini said...

I am so glad to see you talk about it. Most Indian women feel guilty about these feelings and keep it to themselves, making matters worse.

Vani said...

Thanks for stopping by, Gini! That's true about Indian women. We're always on a guilt trip about something or the other, aren't we?

Deepti said...

Hey Vani,

I visited your site today and it was nice to read your note on postpartum blues( i know it is an old post:)...I was wondering if you could post recipes for the things you ate during the first month of delivery..It will be good to know what diets other girls have followed..

Thanks,

Deepti

surabhi said...

Hey vani..I went through your blog it is very nice...especially this one..I know I m too late to comment on this..I have a 10 months old baby girl ..this took to me to my pregnancy and postpartum days..even I too went through really difficult phase.had no help , sleepless nights..my first baby n away from my beloved people..did not know what to do and how to handle things..I always feel I have not done justice to my baby . the only help I had was from baby centre and phone call support from my mom and few friends.I am still taking care of baby all alone .somehow this post gave me strength to go ahead with what I have been doing from past 10 months..just knowing that many women go through the same thing..especially postpartum blues..all we need is a patient friend or a person who listens to us without judging the situation...thank you,
Surabhi reddy