Post-Natal Depression, a concern among Zimbabwean mothers

March 6, 2019

Overcoming Post-natal depression:  Yolanda’s story

The first wails of a newborn are usually described as “the best moment of my life.” This was not the case for me and I am sure many other women, though afraid to say, can relate. After a painful 20 hours of labor only to get a C-Section, I was just glad the ordeal was over. This pregnancy was my first and I kept waiting for an overwhelming happiness to sweep me off my feet but it never happened.  Instead, I felt so sad. I cried for no reason. I cried for every reason. I felt alone. I felt my life was gone. It would never be back to any kind of normal, not even a new normal. I was not sure I could be a mom. I loved this tiny human more than words, but had I made a mistake?

I felt selfish for thinking those thoughts. I felt so much guilt and out of control. I was angry and frustrated that I was feeling this way. I just kept falling deeper and deeper into this darkness. It was enveloping me, choking me. It was taking away all my joy, all of reasons to live. I cried all the time; I was upset that no one told me or helped me prepare for this. I started praying that I would wake up and it would just be gone. That did not happen. I was supposed to be the happiest person ever! I had a gorgeous new baby and I couldn’t even bring myself to get out of bed and enjoy my new life. 

I began to wonder if I was the only woman feeling like this. I could not be the only woman to ever feel such an influx of emotions after a baby. That is when I realized that post-natal depression is real and most women are afraid to speak out due to fear of judgement. There is need to speak out and educated women about this illness. Women need to look out for each other and start these conversations, no matter how taboo it may seem.

No one should have to suffer from the pain and damage caused by anxiety, depression and post-natal depression. It does not just affect individuals. It directly affects their children, the “normal” that these children are raised with, their spouses, their siblings, their friends … everyone they interact with regularly. It is so much bigger than one person. If you know someone who is in it, or you sense they might be, BE SENSITIVE. Something as simple as “How do you feel?” can go a long way. Be thoughtful, Hug them, Take them seriously and hold back your judgment. Encourage them to seek help. Offer solutions like phone numbers and referrals.

Positive self-talk is essential; it is how I overcame my illness. Start your day by reciting a few mantras, mine are, “I am beautiful, I am abundance personified, I am LOVE.” Once you get the green light from your doctor, the gym is the best place to be. Exercise helps to release endorphins that tackle post-natal depression and helps to re-claim your confidence. TOTAL FITNESS GYM, for me has been a haven, providing a safe and clean workout environment and 6 months later, I have never felt or looked better.

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