Postpartum Depression- Mental Health of a New Mother

upset woman sitting near wall
Sonia – Postpartum Depression

“What happened Sonia? You are looking so tired and upset today. You haven’t even had tea and are still sleeping. How many times have I said that during these days you should wake up a bit early? Do some exercises and try to stay engaged in some light activities.”

“You didn’t even eat last night. During these days, you need to eat nutritious food. And for the nutrition of the child, however, you manage but you must eat something. But you just don’t listen to me. Sometimes gol gappas, sometimes ice cream, and sometimes chaat, you are just depending on these items”, Indumati, Sonia’s Mother-in-law started to explain to her once again in the morning.

“Maaji, I was feeling very tired today, that’s why I did not feel like getting up. And last night I was disturbed, so couldn’t sleep properly, so am still sleepy. Please do not disturb me.”, Sonia also replied sternly.

pensive grandmother with granddaughter having interesting conversation while cooking together in light modern kitchen
Mother in law Advising

“Listen Sonia, you are not the first one who is pregnant. We too have gone through this stage. Every woman has to go through this stage. Nothing’s going to happen with all these excuses. If you do not want to get up and change yourself, then you will feel tired all the time. If this is your condition right now, then what will you do after delivery? Right now there is no responsibility on you, you just have to take care of yourself. After having a child, there will be a lot of work, then how will you adjust”, Indumati continued.

“Exercising and doing a little work is very important not only for you but also for the baby. Eating good food will make the baby healthy. And secondly, being active helps in normal delivery. You won’t even realise how these days pass by. In our times, we used to be busy doing work all day and used to feel so hungry that we used to eat whatever we got and digest it quickly”, Indumati said emphasizing her point.

Sonia, who was in no mood to talk to anyone that day anyway, quickly catching her words, said, “I am saying the same thing Maaji, if this is the situation from now on, then what will you all do after the child is born. In everything that you say and do you just have the child’s wellness in mind and not mine as if I don’t worry about it. Whenever you come into my room you keep emphasizing these points only(eat this, don’t eat that, do this, don’t do that). Let me tell you clearly, I am fed up with all this. I just don’t understand how these days will pass.”

By the time, she reached her sixth month, Sonia began to lose her patience.

On one of their regular visits to the doctor for her check-up, Indumati started complaining to Sonia’s doctor, “Look, Doctor Sahiba, this girl just does not listen to me. She does whatever comes to her mind. There is no time to wake up or sleep. She watches strange serials on TV till late night. She neither eats good food nor exercises ever. The whole day, she just feels irritated. No happiness can be seen on her face that should be there on a would-be mother’s face”, said she.

Before the doctor could answer, Sonia also jumped into the battlefield.

people woman sitting technology

Immediately retorting to her mother-in-law’s words, she said, “Madam, ever since my pregnancy started, Maaji just keeps preaching. As soon as she wakes up in the morning, her rules and regulations start. Why did you not eat, why didn’t you take a bath, Do worship, work, etc. etc. Now I do as much as I can. If I don’t feel like it, how can I forcefully bow down to her demands? I do not feel like drinking lentil soup and eating laddus all day. I don’t feel like doing work. What do I do, if I feel like taking a rest?

“Now you tell me how much I listen to her every day. In such a situation, what will happen except irritability.”

The Doctor, who had been listening calmly till now, after getting to know the views of both of them, started explaining them.

“Look, neither of you is wrong in this case. You are both absolutely right in your own place.”

“Sonia, Indumati ji’s concern is justified

In such a situation, we really need to exercise, have a nutritious diet and follow some rules, so that our body remains in movement, sugar level remains under control, and the child’s growth is good. This way, a mother is also able to prepare herself for post-delivery. Otherwise, it can be very difficult to follow a busy routine after passing so many months just lying down comfortably, because then our body will not be used to working, so how will we be able to prepare ourselves to take the responsibility of a newborn baby overnight? And if consume nutritious food,  only then you will feel fit, otherwise, you will remain tired like this. And if it is a matter of nausea or vomiting, I have already given you all the medicines to take care of the such situation.”

A smile of victory was visible on Indumati Ji’s face as the doctor was explaining her point of view to Sonia. But this happiness did not last long. Because very soon her turn also came.

“Indumati ji, now I would like to tell you something. Look, we lived in a different era. Then, there were neither doctors nor hospitals and we had deliveries normally at home only. So that way, you might also say what is the need for a checkup.”

a woman sitting while looking the laptop
Doctor’s Advice

“Look, every woman has her own hormonal system, which is the reason for her mood swings, and her behavior, and during difficult times like menstruation or pregnancy, this hormonal system is more active, which has now been established scientifically. That’s why the nature of every woman does not remain the same during such periods. Some stay happy, some feel sad, some feel very hungry, some do not feel like eating anything, some want to keep working and some may want to sleep. That is why the blame for the behavior of these days cannot be put on a woman, nor can it be given the name of tantrums. Our time was different, when pure air, water, food, and drink were available. Nutrition could be obtained from simple lentils and roti. But in today’s era, due to the use of fertilizers, insecticides, and many types of restricted hormonal injections, the nutritional capacity of food has now been reduced to a great extent. On the contrary, many times there are many such chemicals used, which can harm the mother and child, that is why we already give medicines, multivitamins, etc. for nutrition. This is not a gimmick but it is the need of the day. That’s why if your daughter-in-law doesn’t want to eat much, don’t force her or worry too much.”

“It is because of the hormonal system that some women wake up at night and some during the day, so you adjust. It is only a matter of few days, then in any case Sonia has to take care of her responsibility.”

“Yes Sonia, one thing and it’s okay watching TV till late at night, but watching strange serials or watching mobile for a long time is not advisable at this time, because it has been proved that the baby can hear everything from the 6th month onwards in the womb and secondly it also harms your eyes. So instead you can listen to some good music or talk to the baby, or go somewhere in the garden”, said the doctor, ending her talk.

“I hope both of you have understood my point and now the journey ahead will be comfortable and not irritating”, said the doctor to both of them.

Both the mother-in-law’s pair found the words of the doctor to be logical. There was peace in the house for the next three months and then a little angel entered their life.

toddler s left foot
Baby Girl

The delivery was normal, so Sonia was soon discharged from the hospital. When Sonia came home with her baby girl, both the mother and daughter were welcomed with great warmth and affection, but Indumati could not understand why Sonia was not feeling well. She had started feeling irritable once again.

On the other hand, be it guests or family members, everyone was so attracted to the new baby, that Sonia felt that no one cared about her.

Once again the same old thoughts started troubling Sonia’s mind. She thought that probably that’s the reason why her mother-in-law always used to keep on instructing her. She just cared about the child. She started hating her own baby. Once or twice, she even uttered in anger, “it would have been good if you had not come into my life. You took everything away from me.”

It is not that she lacked anything, but she felt as if no one needed her.

One day when the matter was beyond her tolerance, she closed the room and started crying bitterly. Just then her mother’s phone rang.

As soon as she picked up the phone, she poured out all her thoughts, crying bitterly.

 Postpartum Depression
Postpartum Depression

“Mumma, I had told you, didn’t I? No one here cares about me. Everyone is just worried about the baby. Give her milk, give her a massage, etc., etc. Just keep on doing this, doing that all day and night. No one seems to understand my tiredness. No one even asks, how I am. That’s why I told you that these people don’t care about me……”

Sonia was saying all this just when  Indumati ji was passing by. She heard everything and couldn’t control herself, so she came inside and immediately said, “What are you saying, Sonia, are we not worried about you. I cook food for you myself. I fulfill your every need. I do not even disturb you if you are sleeping. If I am not worried about you then for whom have I made all these laddus and other things, she asked sadly.

“You have wronged me in front of your mother today”, she said, with tears flowing down her eyes.

Sonia’s mother asked her to hand over the phone to her mother-in-law. When she came on the line, she said to her, “Behenji, I am not a stranger, in front of whom you should be worrying about your honor. And don’t I know, how many preparations you have done for Sonia’s delivery? She is a fool not to understand you and is saying anything foolishly. Do not take it to your heart.”

She continued “though, I should not interfere in your family, but still, I would like to share my opinion with you from my experience. Look Behenji, our era was different. At that time there used to be joint families. Bringing up a child was considered to be a collective responsibility then. Somebody used to give the baby a bath. Someone else would give a massage and someone would put them to sleep.  The new mother was also engaged in chores other than handling the baby also so she neither felt the burden of the child nor loneliness, because her Sister-in-laws, Sisters, friends, and many other women used to come to share their happiness, sorrows, and experiences with her.

“But now the atmosphere has changed. Nobody has time for anyone. Even if some relatives come to pay a visit, they just play with the child for a while and it is done. In such a situation, all the responsibility falls on the mother and the family. And the new mother is almost confined to a room all alone which creates loneliness in her mind. We too are alone. We too feel tired, how much can we do? So in such a situation, the mother neither gets sleep at night nor does she get rest during the day. And moreover, the loneliness and monotonous feeling take over her. The pressure of her husband’s office work also falls on her. The husband comes tired, talks to the baby for a while, and then goes to sleep early. In such a situation, how lonely a mother becomes and this loneliness gives rise to depression, as is probably happening with Sonia.

photo of woman sitting on floor
Postpartum Depression

“Behenji, there is no doubt that you must be taking good care of her, but she needs more love from her loved ones at this time. Do not mind, but pay a little less attention to her food and drink and try to be with her more, because nowadays doctors provide many supplements for mother and child both. They give vitamins etc. to both.

So instead of just keeping yourself busy preparing dishes for her, you just spend some time with her, and try to keep her a little away from the baby. Sometimes distance also increases love. You’ll see the difference.”

Hearing all this, Indumati ji also realized her mistake. She was once again unknowingly putting too much pressure on Sonia to take care of her health and her child in the process just increasing mental pressure on her. And Sonia was becoming more and more irritated.

She also requested Sonia’s mother, “Behenji, you are probably right, I had forgotten that our elders used to say that even the whole village falls short to raise a child. Do me a favour. If it is possible then why don’t you come and stay with us for a few days? Together we will take care of Sonia and the child both and Sonia will get  moments of peace away from the baby.”

Sonia’s mother also immediately said yes.

That evening Indumati took the baby away when Sonia’s husband came back from his office so that Sonia and her husband could get some moments of togetherness.

She had already made his son realize his mistake.

Within a few days, Sonia again started chirping as before, and leaving behind her irritability, she smiled. Nor did she now get angry at her daughter because now she too got her share of time and love equally.

woman wearing yellow button up long sleeved dress shirt
Happy Again

Postpartum Depression


There is a lot of discussion going on these days about postpartum depression. This is a new word for the elderly and science calls it a game of hormones, whatever the reason, one thing is for certain postpartum depression is real it is the root of the depression for a new mother.

But I suppose fighting it is not that difficult either. With a little love and care, and maybe sometimes some medication, we can easily manage this mess up of hormones and help the new mom stay relaxed.

There is a need, to make a new mother feel special and that she is also taken care of and loved equally. That she too has a different place in the house that no one else can take.

I believe that the hospitality of the new baby is necessary, but it should not happen in a way that the mother starts feeling ignored. 

To avoid such a situation, it is very important to strike a balance in the relationships after the delivery of the newborn for the overall mental health of the new mother.

What say  ????

-Ashu Verma Chaubey

Postpartum Depression

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