SubhanAllah, it’s intriguing to find how the fears of taboo and stigma blanket so many of our shared experiences. Cliche as it sounds, were we to ‘open up a bit’, we would be astounded to find that albeit feeling so, we never really were ‘alone’ in our struggle.
The joys and wonders of birth, the beauty of bringing new life into this world – these experiences could never be articulated. Parents foster a bond like no other with their child, and it is astounding to witness the love parents hold for that creation. But like any experience, the journey has its highs and lows. Albeit the warmth and affection that flood a mother’s heart, her journey through pregnancy and birth may not be as ‘rosy’ as we typically make it out to be. And, that’s okay.
The period following childbirth is characterised with dramatic hormonal changes. Disturbed sleep, shifted routines and struggling to understand a baby’s needs may often cause anxiety. Physical changes, such as fluctuating body weight and returning to normal functioning, may also add to any emotional burden. Subsequently, mothers may feel teary, overwhelmed or exhausted for the few weeks following childbirth; commonly referred to as ‘Baby Blues.’ If however, symptoms worsen or persist for longer, it is necessary to seek medical advice. Whilst multiple factors may contribute to the development of perinatal anxiety or depression, those mentioned above play a key role. The symptoms experienced will differ, but key signs one should be wary of include:
- Severe mood swings or depression
- Persistent feelings of anger and resentment
- Changes in appetite and behaviour
- Prolonged difficulty bonding with your child
- Withdrawal from friends and family.
It is also noteworthy that symptoms may not present immediately following birth, but could develop over the first year.
A common fear for women experiencing perinatal anxiety or depression is that of judgement. Many mothers have expressed their dismay at friends and family for narrowing the clinical condition down to a ‘period of adjustment’ or a mere weakness of Iman (faith). Not so true.
To the amazing mothers out there, we acknowledge, wholeheartedly, that you are trying your absolute best. Your sacrifices and efforts are incomparable, and our du’aa is for Allah to reward you endlessly. Although you may not feel so at times, you are doing perfectly fine! Your feelings of numbness, anxiety or exhaustion are not your fault. The only step we encourage you to take is to reach out. You are not alone. If you are experiencing these dips, know that there is a solution and there is more to motherhood than these. Nurturing new life is one of the most beautiful gifts, and Allah (SWT) deemed you worthy of that role. 💕
May Allah bless our mothers and grant them the best of this life and the next! Ameen, Ya Rabb!