• Akosua Acheampong

The Terrible Blues

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

You have just been through one of the most difficult periods and have experienced a life changing event that required all your strength and will power. You expect to feel completely exhilarated and on top of the world. But the reality can be quite the opposite. You suddenly feel you’re at your weakest physically, mentally and emotionally when the world screams that you should actually be feeling like a superwoman. It is called baby blues, the seldom discussed symptom of the “fourth” trimester of pregnancy.

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

After having my baby I expected life to continuously be filled with joy, it is exactly what I had looked forward to ever since finding out I was pregnant. It was supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel and the rainbow in the sky after a 9 month storm but I was in for a sharp reality check. I felt like crap. Day 5 postpartum was full of tears, wailing and feeling ashamed of myself for being so “weak”. I always thought of myself as a strong person, full of zeal but my tough armour seemed to crumble along with the stability of my hormones. I of course kept these feelings of self-doubt and sadness to myself because in my mind, the world said I should be at my happiest.

Looking back now, becoming a mum was the biggest test of my character and my resolve to keep going. Whenever I’d look at the innocent, sweet, angelic face of my son, I was reminded of what I had to fight for. I had a stint with anxiety a few years before giving birth and it’s sudden return postpartum made my recovery all the more tougher. It is the ugly monster that rears its head when you least expect or need it but I came to realise that I could not be the only new mum going through the blues.

Perhaps more needs to be done to address this issue in a society where we feel we have to always maintain a positive front, because it is very real and a daily reality for a lot of mothers out there. It not dealt with appropriately with the right support system, can easily spiral out of control and turn into depression. If there was one thing I had to say to all new mums, it definitely gets better especially with the attention and care of your loved ones. As the weeks roll on and even if the lack of sleep continues (if your baby continues to be a night owl) you are filled with the inner joy of knowing that you created an amazing little human. It certainly helps when your baby starts to hit those cute little milestones like their first smile, a chuckle or for some mums even blowing raspberries with a mouth full of food, will have you welling up with tears of unexplainable love.

A report in 2018 found that suicide is the leading cause of death in new mums, typically occurring within a year after the end of pregnancy. If you think you may be suffering from postnatal depression, signs and symptoms have been summarised on the NHS website, there are many routes and avenues to seek help before it is too late. Organisations such as PANDAS Foundation, APNI and MIND provide confidential support to aid you through the tough times.

Through the emotional highs and terrible lows, I honestly wouldn’t change a single part of my mummy story thus far. My Christian faith has taught me that “all things are working together for my good”; with that in mind, I take it all in my stride and remind myself daily that it will all be ok.

*Blog post written in support of Mental Health Awareness Month*

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