Post-Natal Depression: A Muslimah’s Story (Insight Series)
I feel like the acronym P-N-D (Post-Natal Depression) carries the same weight as the most insulting swear words within the Muslimah community.
PND is a real, medically recognised condition.
It is a form of depression suffered by a mother following childbirth.
Typically arising from the combination of hormone changes, the psychological adjustment to motherhood and fatigue. PND is not the ‘baby blues’ that everyone refers to. The ‘baby blues’ generally only lasts for a few days and doesn’t require specialised help just assistance from the new mothers support people.
Signs for PND include:
- Very low mood;
- Feeling inadequate and/or like a failure as a mother;
- A sense of hopelessness about the future;
- Feelings of severe exhaustion, emptiness and/or sadness;
- Feeling guilty, ashamed or worthless;
- Frequent and strong feelings of anxiety and/or panic;
- Trouble sleeping, sleeping too long or suffering from nightmares;
- Excessively and constantly worrying about the baby; and
- Fear of being alone or leaving the home.
In more serious cases some women experience thoughts about leaving their family, causing self-harm or harm to their partner or baby.
I suffered PND in silence
I suffered PND in silence after the birth of my first child. I was anxious, highly stressed and practically void of happiness. I felt alone, like a failure and believed that I would feel this way for the rest of my life. I was embarrassed and afraid to share that I wasn’t coping and didn’t know that help was available.
I rarely heard women speak openly about PND. If I did it was a quiet whisper within a small group or a horrifying story about a mother that had committed an act that reflected her struggling mental state.
I suffered PND after both my children were born. The first time in silence and the second time like a BOSS.
It took almost 18 months to work through my first case of PND. It was terribly tough and I felt like I missed special milestones with my daughter because I struggled to find emotions within me other than sadness and emptiness.
More days than not, I would cry, sometimes uncontrollably.
I hardly smiled and laughing wasn’t part of my life anymore.
I found that I was constantly faking happiness in front of friends and family to give the illusion that I was coping well in my new role as a mother.
Loneliness and self-doubt controlled my life. It felt as if I was in a constant state of breathlessness because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to inhale enough oxygen into my lungs.
After my first daughter was born I made a silent vow to myself that I wouldn’t have any more children because I couldn’t survive going through PND again.
Almost 2 years later I surprisingly became pregnant with my second child (alhamdulillah). I was afraid but also determined that if I noticed signs of PND I would look it in the eye and beat it!
Throughout my pregnancy I researched the condition and spoke openly with my midwife and doctor. But the most valuable advice came from other mums that had also been forced to battle PND. I was utterly amazed by the large number of women who had a personal PND journey to share with me.
Each story was unique but completely relatable at the same time! It was so powerful for me to hear their stories, I finally felt like I wasn’t alone and more importantly that I was not a bad mother.
If you or someone you know is showing signs of PND, please seek help.
A recommended initial step to take is, to make an appointment with and inform your GP about what you are experiencing. But if you need help urgently or you aren’t ready to leave the house, phone one of the many support numbers that have been set up specially for new mums and mums of young children.
If you are in Australia contact:
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Pregnancy, Birth & Baby 1800 882 436
PANDA 1300 726 306
If you are outside Australia use your countries local search engine or google to find a service that specialises in assisting with PND and post birth mental health.
Let’s break the taboo that surrounds Post-natal depression. Talk about it, share your journeys with others. We don’t need to suffer in silence.
Guest Author Bio:
Breharne Al Zoubi is the owner of http://www.bybreharne.com a lifestyle and parenting blog.
Breharne is a mum of 2 girls from Australia that writes about the good, bad and ugly of all things mum life and topics and products that she loves.
As well as a mother and wife Breharne studies Law part time. Her favourite things to do in her spare time are read, bake and travel.
Follow her on social media: