AbezAbez Is... 50% White, 50 % Pakistani, Muslim Hijab-wearing type female, Daughter of Momma, Sister of Owlie Wife of HF, Momma of Khalid, a special little boy with Autism, and Iman, a special little girl with especially big hair, Writer, Graphic Designer, Editor, Freelancer, Blogger, Inhaler of Chocolate
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My sister, De Owl

My Husband, who never updates!

Mona, who I don't visit enough

Hemlock, who I don't hug enough

Baji, the orginal robot monkey pirate

Prometheus, who buts brains to blog about Autism

Socrates, a blogger with Asperger's

Jo, a funnier Autism mom with a great blog

Autism Watch-  for logic-based information

ASAT- Assosciation for Science in Autism Treatments

Quack Watch- for current news and info on all sort of medical treatments

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My Cousin- really, he's my cousin.  Wish he would update more.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Post-Partum Depression & I

There are a few mommy-related blogs that I’ve been meaning to type, one of them is on post-partum depression, or PPD. There’s an interesting generational/cultural gap that exists where PPD is concerned- traditionally speaking, in the Pakistani culture, there is no such thing.

(Wateezdiss, pee-pee-dee? After your baby is born you’re supposed to be miserable!)

Yes yes, so after your baby is born you become a sleep deprived, and you worry about whether you’re doing things right, and you desperately wish the baby would sleep, but when the baby does sleep, you have to go check to see if the baby is breathing... Being a new mommy is hard, but is it supposed to make you depressed?

One friend of mine, whose baby is six months younger than Khalid, called me up and very bluntly said- I’m taking a survey about post-partum depression. My mother said there is no such thing, but after Asiya was born, I couldn’t sleep, stopped eating for 36 hours at a time, and felt mentally paralyzed, no one told me about this! How about you?

How about me? Well, I was a sleep-deprived baby-tending robot whose engine ran on caffeine and the terrible fear that my baby was starving all the time. And, this is hard to admit but unfair to hide- I wanted to die. I did. I didn’t want to kill myself, and my contradictory brain was terrified of anything happening to Khalid or to myself (because then who would take care of Khalid?) but we used to live on the sixth floor of our apartment block, and I wondered what it would be like to fall from the balcony. I have never wanted to be in a car accident, but there were times in traffic when near misses disappointed me. I wanted something to happen.

Why? Was I unhappy with my baby? No, I adore bebeface. Was HF unsupportive? Not at all, and he did what he could to support me and make sure I was taking care of myself too. (Also, we snuck out to movies and ice cream and went for drives and walks)

I was constantly tired, but had terrible insomnia. I was completely disinterested in socializing. I stopped answering the doorbell, and I kept it all, the misery, the insomnia, the thoughts of death- all to myself for as long as I could. I dreaded having to feed Khalid, because nursing was, in the beginning, difficult and very painful, and no matter what I did, he always seemed hungry.

(It turns out we had serious latch issues + low supply for nearly two months)

At one point I broke down and told HF. I think it took him by surprise. He asked me what was making me so depressed, and I wasn’t sure what to tell him because I had no idea myself. Nothing specifically was making me unhappy- but I was miserable about everything, and I was sure that I was doing everything wrong- why else was Khalid crying all the time?

When did things get better? Gradually, when Khalid was a few months old, things got better. They didn’t get easier, they just got better. One thing that made a huge difference was HF checking up on me- “How are you feeling? How was your day? Hey, you’re doing good.” It seems like such a small thing now, but HF reassuring me that I was doing good and that Khalid was fine gave me the reassurance to not freak about him starving/ailing/wailing, and it made everything lighter, more bearable.

Alhamdulillah, my experience with PPD was, from what I understand, really mild. I thought about dying, and I had some pretty fantastic crying sprees, but it never got in the way of me caring for Bebeface- I was never incapacitated by it. There are people who have had it far, far worse, and I am grateful to God that I was able to break out of the misery and be alright again, Alhamdulillah.

So yeah, we’re taking a survey- Anyone else out there had PPD? Any advice? We have some new mommies on the block who may benefit from what you can share.

Love to all Mommies!



At 14/4/07 4:31 PM, Blogger baj said...

aye, i think i had a spate of it myself. alas, it manifested itself as post-partum rage instead of a mild, mopey depression. i would get instantly furious about the stupidest things and i KNEW my emotions were out of control but i couldn't seem to do anything about it. luckily, i am blessed with a patient hubby and the whole meltdown phase was short-lived. things like baby's first smile, baby's first clapping, and baby's first voluntary cuddling helped too. :)

At 15/4/07 9:21 PM, Blogger afie911 said...

I'm still single. Can't say I do. =P

At 16/4/07 8:12 PM, Anonymous hemlock said...

i read about a 17 yr old who panicked once she had the baby and stabbed it 112 times or something.
and the other where the mother hung herself from the ceiling fan here in UAE because she her baby was crynig and she didnt know what to do.
and i read both the stories in the same day.
so my love, im sure this isnt as easy at it looks.
and youve got to get owly to post

At 17/4/07 8:08 AM, Blogger Abez said...

Baj: Wow, props to you for dealing with that- I think I was better off just feeling sad, who knows what havoc might have been wreaked if I was mad about it all too!

Saira: Lol, well- at least now you've got a heads-up for the future?

Hemmie: Yeah, HF, who gets dressed and heads to work at about 7 am, gently poked me awake after reading this post and said, "I read in the paper today about a young woman who comitted suicide while her baby was crying in the next room [same story you're talking about Hemmie] and I thought I'd ask- are you doing ok btw? You're not miserable or anything?"


No, Alhamdulillah, we're not miserable. :)

At 17/4/07 8:13 AM, Blogger Abez said...

FYI: I think the whole point of me posting about this is to put PPD on the radar- no one likes talking about unhappiness, and anything that's attached to the word 'depression' tends to get the negative stigma pf mental illness, but PPD is not a mental illness- it's the understandable effect of extreme fatigue, uncertainty, and unstable hormone levels post-baby, and rather than it be a nasty shock, I think we should see it as something to look out for and be prepared to address InshaAllah so that everyone is happier all around. :)

wow, that's a long sentence...

At 17/4/07 4:27 PM, Blogger afie911 said...

Thank you! =)
Oh, and no offence taken wutsoever but my name is Arifah.;)

At 18/4/07 10:24 AM, Anonymous Mona said...

you're absolutely right. i read this last week, after you visited and i thought, well alhamdolillah, no signs of any of this yet.
but you're right abez, it set in and now the feeling of inadequacy is ever-present. especially now that hana and i are having feeding problems. she'll take breastmilk in a bottle but is just unhappy at the breast. she screams and cried like i'm torturing her by putting her at the breast. i can't stand it.
it's also that what i express and feed hana is not enough. like i'm the only mother in the world unable to feed her hungry child. i give her formula to supplement her feed and then cry about it because i know it's no good for her.
i've cried hours together in the last few days, sometimes in sync with hana. it's scary. thank god for zman and my mom though, they're really a rock-solid support system together.
and Hana is only a few days old!

At 26/4/07 6:54 AM, Anonymous taubah said...

awww Subhanna'Allah, I'm so sorry to hear that Mona, but it will get better Insha'Allah. It's always so much harder the first few days. Even the first few months, but Allah will help you INsha'Allah.

ALhamdulillah, I didn't have any problems with PPD, I was frustrated many times, but never depressed, it's good to talk about this though, good post Abez

At 3/3/09 8:02 PM, Anonymous Amy / Umm Adam said...

i am new to your blog and was interested in reading this very old post because my son, Adam (now 4) is also "on the spectrum" with Asperger Syndrome... I also suffered through PPD and early breastfeeding issues... Sometimes i think about things in hindsight and wonder if its the special challenges these kids present that make us more suseptible (sp?) to PPD? Anyhoo, i am glad i found your blog -- i am planning on bookmarking you so i can come back and visit more often :)
- Amy / UmmAdam in Upstate New York


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