I look at my children’s good health and the kindness of my husband and say alhamdullilah, but there are times when it is hard to have this attitude.
For me one of these times was when I had my youngest child. I have always been lucky in having a kind, helpful better half and a useful family who were involved with my children from day one. This along with trusting my instinct as a mother has made me feel confident and competent as a mother. This changed when I had my littlelest one. At birth he suffered from and which required physiotherapy and at a week old he developed jaundice. This meant that both of us had to stay in hospital longer than usual. I’m not sure if this contributed or whether it was just hormones, but within a few weeks of bringing the baby home, I felt utterly, totally miserable.
I found it almost impossible to get up each morning and face the day. The task of changing, feeding and playing with my children seemed Herculean. The thought of getting up tortured me, and I often lay and though about why the ground wouldn’t open up and swallow me to put me out of my misery. The thought of finding a dark corner where no-one could find me felt like bliss. I found that the mood lifted a little as the day progressed, but didn’t dissipate entirely. I have since read that this is sometimes a sign of post-natal depression – the improvement of mood during the day.
I studies psychology at university and one of the things I remember, when learning about depression, is thinking – “Why don’t people just get help – drugs, therapy, whatever and stop being so miserable?” I realised then that, depression is not just sadness or feeling down, these are normal feelings. Depression is the feeling that you just cannot do anything, a very powerful feeling of disinclination towards activity of any kind and a sense that there is no point in anything.
I look back now and think of what got me through. Family and friends, even my beloved, were at a loss, except eventually suggesting I might want to see a Doctor – it seemed odd when the person who tasked themselves with creating fun and bringing the family together, now bored everyone with her inexplicable misery. One person stood out though – Gorgeous. I have never come across such a happy baby. Mash’allah for the whole four months I was down, I hardly ever heard him cry. Whenever I was at my lowest, his sweet giggling would bring me back a little.
As the feeling of depression lifted, Gorgeous became more spirited and I truly felt, that Allah had made taking care of this baby easy for me when things were difficult. As I write this he is refusing to leave my lap and insisting on shutting the computer down and pour milk on the keyboard, and I just can’t feel cross at him.