“Do you want mamma to slap you? Do you?”
Another round of silent yet loud enough sobs.
I could hear the hard thud, the shouting and the sobs again kind of making a repeat sequence .
This is almost every day routine that I hear before going to bed.
I stay in Mumbai and no matter how big or small the houses are, our one bedroom window will overlook the living room of the other flat. So, only way to stay within our privacy is to keep the curtains drawn .
Curtains are the barrier in viewing but not listening.
Every night before retiring for the day when I enter my bathroom for the last round of brushing I hear this on n off . It lasts for few minutes for maybe more but I never had the courage to hear it for long .Other day the shouting and sob cycle went for a little longer . I stood there in the bathroom frozen as if there was flashback going in front of me on the huge mirror in my bathroom .
I was 26 when I delivered my elder son. Too overwhelmed by first time motherhood I tried to do and get the best for him. Right from imported diapers to a particular bottle feeder, softest clothes, cutest shoes and what not. But something was not right . I was constantly dissatisfied, angry , screaming , panicking , OCD , all my expressions and emotions were on the extreme side .
Sid was two and a half years old when he started his playschool in Gurgaon. It was a very child friendly school. I was happy but I think after a while teacher’s weren’t’. I had constant complaints that Sid was pushing , hitting , screaming and fighting with other children .I tried every possible way to explain him but things were not going fine . I was clueless.
It was about time to move from Gurgaon to Bangalore where my younger one was born .I was 29 then.
Things didn’t change much or I was so occupied with two kids that I didn’t pay much heed towards my thought process . Husband had erratic working hours and he had a guest appearance in the house . I was in a zombie state throughout. But, something was still not right.
Well, again it was time to move from Bangalore to Mumbai . We moved to a high-rise on 14th floor and we had a huge common balcony running across all rooms. Sid and Abhi were around 6 and 2 years by then.
One fine evening I was standing in the balcony with Abhi in my lap and Sid sitting and playing with his toys.An instant thought occurred to jump from the fourteenth floor with my boys. Shiver ran down my spine and there was a complete blackout. I have no memory of what happened next but what I remember is ,that I was sitting in my living room with Sid and Abhi clinging to me. I didn’t jump! Since, then I have developed extreme fear of heights.
My situation was alarming.
Things were not fine. No, they weren’t at all. I was concealing my issue under the excuse of being over occupied.
I was under huge depression. I now knew it well .
But, why depression? Who to talk ,share or discuss?
Husband? Poor thing, he was clueless himself. Long working hours and then children taking all the time where was the scope to sit and explain. But I remember I kept on telling him that something is wrong with me. He used to come home complaining that either my car was unlocked or the window is left open or the door key is left outside. I had no answer.
I had to take charge of myself but how?
I started reading on my symptoms and relating each reaction to a particular episode. Very soon that I knew I was going through huge postpartum depression .
Suddenly, there was a knock at my door. It was my younger one asking me to come out of the bathroom.
I knew exactly what was going on in that house.I wonder no mother can harm her child until n unless she herself is under some problem .
A woman goes through lot of hormonal changes during pregnancy and post-delivery. Hormones could be monstrous or blessing. Mines were monsters. postpartum depression is not well-known; less talked, misunderstood and many times goes unattended.
I vented out my entire depression on a soft target – my son. What a horrible mother I have been? My poor baby bore the burnt and I had no idea for my uncalled behaviour.
Well, things were to go fine now. I started taking care of myself very well. I would not be ashamed if I say, I became selfish.
Few troubleshooting strategies I adopted, sharing them here:
- I listened to my body and mind , no one knows you better than yourself
- I had MY time. Extract time for yourself – JUST YOU. Things will work as they are even if you are not around. You cannot make everyone happy every time, after all you not chocolate fudge!
- I started loving myself. Love your body. Work hard on it, sweat it off, let it get dirty, pamper it. Put that liner, kajal and go out for a run. Wear the brightest red lipstick and go out in dirt. Give a damn shit to “others ”
- Children will grow and move on, what will you do then? Get involved in anything of your choice that may or may not give you gainful employment but will keep you mentally engaged.
- Talk and talk it out don’t keep the negative thoughts or feeling to yourself.
- Everything can’t be perfect and why to even aim there ,be there where the fun is ? Be easy in life , in household , with children and spouse
- If the last bite of your favourite dessert is left , ask you children to share with all the family members.Why do you have to be Mother India and sacrifice your bite?
- Laugh the loudest ,gladly flaunt that cleavage , wear what you wish to without taking body shape into consideration , just be YOU
Depression has nothing to do with being mentally unstable but it’s more to do with emotional instability. Get a companion or better be your own companion.I strictly follow flight instructions for myself – “Before saving others wear your oxygen mask first”
It’s just one life we get, live it the fullest and the way YOU like it.