Many women fear opening up about their battle with postpartum depression due to stigma.
PPD, also called postnatal depression, is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth.
For some mothers with PPD, the childbirth period can be characterised by feelings of sadness, anxiety and exhaustion.
Many mothers silently internalise their guilt and shame, while also having to bear the social pressures of motherhood.
At least 1 in 3 South African women suffer from PPD, according to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).
Renowned broadcaster Melanie Bala has opened up about her challenging experience of motherhood after her second child.
The shame. The stigma of saying: I don't know if I'm enjoying this motherhood thing, as much as I'm supposed to. As a new mom, I envied the women who made it seem effortless. Always well put together. Babies looking cherubic. I was a mess. 😔— IG: melzinbala (@MelBala) January 12, 2018
Psychologist and perinatal specialist Linda Lewis says more women need to break the silence about their experiences in order to raise more awareness.
She advises that new mothers should seek professional medical help if feelings of distress persist for more than two weeks after pregnancy.
We decided to have a second child and it was after her birth that I found myself struggling.— Melanie Bala, TV host and radio news anchor
I'd feel so bad because I thought 'this is what I wanted'. There's a tremendous amount of shame and guilt.— Melanie Bala, TV host and radio news anchor
I was sleep deprived, exhausted all the time; irritable and angry.— Melanie Bala, TV host and radio news anchor
Every new mom is exhausted because little babies are a lot of work... but at some point you kind of start to feel resentful about the baby being there and the guilt that comes with it.— Melanie Bala, TV host and radio news anchor
There were days were I felt like I wanted to run away. It felt like I needed to escape. I think it resonates with so many people.— Melanie Bala, TV host and radio news anchor
It's a chemical imbalance that take place but you aren't able to make sense of it.— Melanie Bala, TV host and radio news anchor
So many women fall through the net... The problem is when postpartum distress spirals out of control.— Linda Lewis, psychologist at the Post-Natal Depression Support Association of South Africa (PNDSA)
Everybody can recover. You need to get help. People who seek help from early on inevitably feel like themselves.— Linda Lewis, psychologist at the Post-Natal Depression Support Association of South Africa (PNDSA)
I spent four years trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully. But when my child was born I didn't have feelings for him. I remember I spent two days without bathing and everything made me cry.— Matsepo, caller
Nobody tells you that you can actually hate your baby when they're born.— Matsepo, caller
Since the moment my child came out of my body, I had a feeling of resentment and I couldn't understand it. It was the most awful time in my life.— Lynne, caller
Take a listen to the engaging discussion and callers share their stories:
Here are some tweets responding to the important discussion:
@Eusebius my gosh I can relate! And I had it worse because apparently I was supposed to enjoy it, I was young, I was employed, I was married. Truth is, i was overwhelmed and it was so hard😔— Lerato Eseu (@Lerry_Eseu) January 16, 2018
@Eusebius sometimes even when you have a partner in your life, the parenting duties are not shared equally. This becomes overwhelming for mom with a small baby.— HenceforthKnownAsQueenOfShade (@Sam_anqu) January 16, 2018
I can totally relate! And I thought it’s because I’m away from home with no family support. I envy people in SA coz they have helpers, family etc Also feel like I can’t complain about stuff so you just suck it up https://t.co/2nFBLzxVW5— Carol (@Ceeworld_expat) January 16, 2018
@Eusebius Excellent topic and discussion on post-natal depression. I’m not a mom yet but taking notes. Thanks so much for this.— Hilda Grobler (@hilda_grobler) January 16, 2018
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Some days I wanted to run away - Mel Bala and other moms on postpartum distress