Interview: let’s get to know the truth about Postpartum Depression
Back in my college days I studied Psychology and those were the days when we had heard about Postpartum depression, we all wondered that only the moms in the west might be affected with it because getting your bundle of joy home is the happiest feeling ever….how can anyone feel sad? But…..Reading about Sneha who lost her battle with PPD was an eye-opener for me…PPD exists in Indian moms as well….we got chatting with the ever smiling and enthusiastic Arushi from Trijog and the sincere Jyotiba from Insaniyat.
As….Trijog – Know Your Mind and Insaniyat come together to launch ‘Sneha – A Ray of Hope’, a campaign towards recognizing Postpartum Depression in India#DialYourDepression #TalkWithTrijog
Read on to know more…
SuperMOM Mitali asks– Can you tell us something about yourself and the work that you have been doing especially for PPD via Trijog?
Arushi: I am just a girl driven by passion, commitment and love towards making the world a better place and making sure better help are available for all! We are a nation suffering in silence. Mental health affects every 1 amongst 4 people.
Since the inception of Trijog, we have had a number of clients suffering from PPD. Each client that we help gives us the validation, that we are making a difference in their life and giving them accurate help and guidance is the first step towards change.
Seeing these results we wanted to aim higher and reach all the women we can. The awareness of PPD had to be put out on a larger platform, and in a way that people could connect with the most, Hence #Sneha – A Ray Of Hope An impactful photo blog that uses images and poetry to get the word and message out!
Awareness. Acceptance. Therapy. Recovery is what we aim to provide for PPD and every other mental health concern.
SuperMOM Mitali asks: Why do you think is PPD is on a rise in India now, as opposed to 10 years ago?
Arushi: Statistics say at the brink of motherhood – 2 in 10 women in India are at risk for depression post the birth of their child.
PPD has always existed, just like every other mental health concern. The issue is all-mental health concerns are invisible illnesses.
Today there is a rise in the awareness and hence identification of the same.
However over the years with globalisation there have been certain shifts: 1)The rise of nuclear families v/s Joint families 2) Rise in working and career-oriented women. 3) The want of having it all. Our expectation with ourselves and with the way things should be has grown two folds. Perfectionism and they want to be a super mom and do everything perfectly is the want of the hour. We need to normalize and accept the fact that a woman is human.
Let our stressors not lead to our burn out. Let us recognize how much we can do and do it to the best of our ability.
SuperMOM Mitali asks: How can we identify a woman with PPD? Any Symptoms?
Arushi: PPD is a disorder that may be caused by several underlying factors – Biological, Psychological, or a number of cumulative stressors experienced during one’s life.
A few identifiers of PPD: People may experience:
Mood: anger, anxiety, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loneliness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, panic attack, or sadness
Behavioural: crying, irritability, restlessness, or social isolation
Sleep: insomnia, nightmares, or sleep deprivation
Cognitive: lack of concentration, thought disorder, or unwanted thoughts
Psychological: depression, fear, or repeatedly going over thoughts
Whole body: fatigue or loss of appetite
Weight: weight gain or weight loss
SuperMOM Mitali asks: What can be done to treat the same?
Arushi:1Creating awareness via campaigns like Sneha so women understand that this condition has a name. hence the campaign
2)Normalising therapy – seeking correct professional & guided at the right time.
3)Providing better help for a psychologically healthier world.
We even were really fortunate to meet Mr Jyotiba who runs the NGO Insaniyat and he answered our questions in detail as well.
SuperMOM Mitali asks: Tell us something about yourself and the thought of starting the NGO Insaniyat.
Jyotiba: I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where I was encouraged to question everything. To find my own definition of what is right and wrong and to act on my opinions.
Insaniyat was a byproduct of a thought experiment that stems from our innate urge to be part of social change. Arjun Meghe, Pratik Bhat and I (co-founders of Insaniyat), from our interaction with the people in our community, realised that there was latent potential for change everywhere. The opinion that things need to change and the willingness to bring about this change was one that resounded with each of us.
SuperMOM Mitali asks: What do you think about PPD and is it really affecting a lot of women? Does it affect the child?
Jyotiba: Post part depression like many other mental illnesses are hard to diagnose and easily confused.
1 in 20 people in India suffers from depression. Particularly alarming are the statistics that depression rates are much higher for women compared to men. And women are particularly prone to depression in their childbearing years, commonly manifesting as postpartum depression.
Mothers facing emotional difficulties often do not come out to their families about it due to stigma or social norms. In some cases, they may even be unaware that what they’re going through requires medical attention.
Despite health professional knowing this, India’s reproductive health programs do not include services for prevention or treatment of PPD.
PPD is a battle for the mother balancing the home with childcare. The condition may not purely be the play of hormones but a confluence of a host of reasons such as son-preference, domestic violence, poverty, pressures within joint families, lack of support and relationship problems. All these might be considered as triggers for depression. Sometimes mothers might feel that the child is the source of these issues, in which case they would distance themselves from their child and in extreme cases even try and inflict harm. We know today, that if the needs of a child in his/her infancy are not satisfied they will translate into larger problems as they grow up.
SuperMOM Mitali asks: How would you discriminate between clinical depression and Post Partum Depression?
Jyotiba:“Regular” depression and PPD, two forms of clinical depression, share a number of symptoms. But regular depression is unrelated to childbirth, while PPD occurs after the birth of a baby. PPD is usually diagnosed within a year after giving birth but can extend beyond that.
Certain characteristics distinguish PPD from depression that’s unrelated to childbirth. In addition to typical symptoms of depression — sleep and appetite disturbance, anxiety, weepiness, hopelessness, loss of concentration, loss of sexual interest, and social withdrawal.
It’s hard enough to struggle with a clinical depression. But when you’re doing so with an infant, a toddler, or a few children to care for, your situation may seem unbearable.
SuperMOM Mitali asks: Are there any cases that you have witnessed in India?
Jyotiba: The motivation for this campaign comes from a personal experience. My Sister Pooja Sethi, unfortunately, lost a close friend to PPD. This campaign was conceptualised by her to spread awareness on the complexity of the different stages of postpartum depression.
SuperMOM Mitali asks: How can we spread awareness about PPD in India?
Jyotiba: We are still in the process of familiarising ourselves with the idea of mental wellness and its significance. Consulting a psychologist or seeking help for mental illness still, has a cloud of stigma around it. Through awareness, we aim to break down these barriers and find solutions.
In cases like these, awareness of the issue can help a great deal. It provides comfort to the victims that they are not alone in this battle against depression and instead of blaming themselves they can seek help and be properly equipped to deal with the situation.