My message to all new moms on World Mental Health Day
By: Amal Dloul, mother of one child
Motherhood is the greatest feeling in the world: in my opinion, it’s a big dream for every girl who wishes to fulfil what God wishes for her. It’s a new chapter in a woman’s life who was once a baby and now has her own baby to care for.
A few months after getting married, I received the news that I was growing a small baby inside my uterus. The news felt like a cloud over my head.
I felt some distress, emptiness and lethargy, while I was also sleeping less. However, a few months into my pregnancy, I was feeling happier yet the cloud over my head felt heavier and heavier.
I was happy to try out maternity clothes and buy baby clothes even though the last three months were very difficult because of water retention, being overweight and undergoing frequent planning of uterine contractions in preparation for birth and precipitation!
After giving birth, I stayed at the hospital for three days until I physically recovered from childbirth.
I really comprehend the fact that I had just become a mother, until the nurse came over and gave me Omar to breastfeed!
I tried and tried to do it but to no avail and the total refusal of Omar to feed from my breasts made me frustrated.
I did not understand his rejection of my breasts not did I understand how difficult breastfeeding was, especially after the birth of one’s first child.
The nurse left with my baby and I told her to come back and see me later; she returned after a while and, again, Omar refused to breastfeed.
This lasted for an entire month. Omar completely refused to breastfeed from his mother. I resorted to pumping milk for that month.
A few days later, my father died after having a stroke; my mental health could not bear another shock.
I began to feel separated from myself and the environment I lived in. The period of consolation ended, people left and the calm of my family's home was back.
I went back to my home with Omar and my husband was very happy to have us back, however, I didn't feel any longing for my little house, my room, my kitchen, the coffee corner or anything at all. I wanted to go back to my parents' house and I didn’t want to be left alone with this child.
I tried really hard to accept the existence of Omar in my life but I just couldn’t.
My husband told me that I suffer from postpartum depression but I felt as if I was physically ill.
I was thinking about how to get rid of Omar for as much time as possible. I visited the emergency room almost every week, I felt my heartbeat rising, suffocating and crying as if I were going to die.
After undergoing several tests, one of the doctors confirmed that I was in a state of panic - a psychological condition that was a result of shock and fear – and that I must help myself to get better.
I went back home and saw Omar’s smiley face and I thought to myself: “Hanan, as if children don’t cry at all!”
My husband sat down with me multiple times so that I could express what Omar was asking for or thinking about… but I could not speak, I could not express myself at all.
After a few days, I noticed my notebook in my bag. That’s when I felt as if I had woken up from a deep slumber. I called my husband and told him that I would be going out for a short walk with Omar.
During the walk, I was talking to Omar the entire time and he was smiling at me. Since then, I realized that I had to take care of myself first in order to take care of my child.
I realized that I was the only one who could rise up and get stronger in times of weakness.
I accepted myself and my lack of experience of raising a child, taking care of a baby and breastfeeding a baby. I accepted the new way of life that I did not expect after giving birth.