THE NOT-SO-PRETTY SIDE OF PREG­NANCY

Just as with ev­ery­thing life has to of­fer, there is a flip side to preg­nancy as well. The fact re­mains, there are a lot of neg­a­tives, that if gone no­ticed and left unchecked, will lead to a much big­ger prob­lems

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS - BY RUTH DSOUZA PRABHU

When preg­nancy hor­mones rears its ugly head

FIRST-TIME mommy, Rashmi Mayur, was ec­static when she brought her new­born home. Hav­ing read al­most ev­ery book and on­line ar­ti­cle pos­si­ble on moth­er­hood, she was sure that she would have it all un­der con­trol, for the most part at least. It was a won­der­ful feel­ing be­ing home with her baby, sur­round by the un­con­di­tional love and sup­port of her hus­band, par­ents and in-laws. She was pam­pered and she was thor­oughly en­joy­ing ev­ery minute of it. And then one morn­ing, a week af­ter giv­ing birth, Rashmi sud­denly be­gan to feel very sad. “Ev­ery­thing was go­ing per­fectly, yet I could barely con­trol the tears. I felt mis­er­ably lonely and not even the sleep­ing peace­ful face of my child could cheer me up,” she re­calls.

Rashmi con­sid­ers her­self a ra­tio­nal hu­man be­ing, and true to form, she

tried to rea­son things and find an an­swer to the prob­lem. But this was one that she just could not fathom. “All day long I held my feel­ings in. I would go into the bath­room and sob when I felt I couldn’t han­dle it. My hus­band and mother took lit­tle time to catch on that some­thing was not right, and then I just sat there in the liv­ing room, bawl­ing my heart out, and for the life of me, I couldn’t fig­ure out why!” she ad­mits.

That’s when Rashmi’s care­taker, an el­derly wo­man turned around and said, “I told you so”. Ap­par­ently, she had spo­ken to Rashmi’s mother, and warned her not to leave Rashmi alone with her baby, just a week into the de­liv­ery. The ‘big de­pres­sion’ is what she had called it and said that this flow of neg­a­tive emo­tions hap­pened to most new moth­ers. While some pass through it with just tears, for oth­ers, it can be rather nasty, even lead­ing to them harm their chil­dren. In the med­i­cal world, it is known as ‘Baby Blues’.

“Anx­i­ety, baby blues and post­par­tum de­pres­sion are very real is­sues,” says Dr Shaila S. Shenoy, MD, ob­stet­rics and gy­nae­col­ogy, Kadri Hills, Man­ga­lore. “For­tu­nately though, they are rare,” she adds. “One has to look out for signs and avail of ap­pro­pri­ate coun­selling ser­vices. Some­times the stress of giv­ing birth and then look­ing af­ter a new born can trig­ger a prob­lem. Care has to be taken to see that the new mother doesn’t harm the child.”

EMO­TIONAL ROLLER­COASTER

If you want to blame it on some­thing, hor­mones can be at the top of your list. Th­ese hor­mones are what ul­ti­mately de­ter you from hav­ing that fairy­tale preg­nancy and sub­se­quent de­liv­ery. Post-par­tum de­pres­sion is a very real con­cern and the symp­toms have to be caught early on, if you want to en­sure the safety and well-be­ing of a new mother and her child.

Other fac­tors such as small, yet older chil­dren can add to the chaos of be­ing a new mother. Not only do you have to deal with a new­born, you also have to cater to the de­mands of an older one

who is now shar­ing your at­ten­tion with a baby. This can be a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion and can trig­ger neg­a­tive emo­tions.

An­other prob­lem plagu­ing new moth­ers is the in­abil­ity to pro­duce ad­e­quate breast­milk. This is at­trib­uted to a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. Moth­ers who are un­able to lac­tate be­gin to feel mis­er­able about their in­abil­ity, and if left unchecked, this can spi­ral into some­thing much worse.

NOT ALL SUGAR AND SPICE

Of course, preg­nancy is a won­der­ful thing and for most moth­ers, the pe­riod of preg­nancy and the whirl­wind of emo­tions soon af­ter be­com­ing a mother, is won­der­ful. But for many new moth­ers, the pe­riod of their preg­nancy and soon af­ter, are mem­o­ries they would best leave far be­hind!

While hor­mones can play ut­ter havoc with a new mother’s emo­tions, there is a lot it can do to her ap­pear­ance as well. And not all of it is that won­der­ful glow that you keep hear­ing about. Su­mitra Ba­tra had some parts of her face prone to acne, es­pe­cially around her men­strual cy­cle. When she got preg­nant the out­break was in­tense and left her with quite a few marks on her face. “This hap­pened at the be­gin­ning of my first trimester. Look­ing at my face, I won­dered why I wasn’t like other preg­nant mums, with glow­ing skin and rosy cheeks,” she re­calls. Her doc­tor in­formed her that the change in hor­mones in the body re­sults in an ac­cel­er­a­tion of oil pro­duc­tion in the skin. This makes those prone to acne suf­fer from heavy bouts of it dur­ing preg­nancy.

For some other women, preg­nancy can af­fect their hair, caus­ing it to fall in clumps or be com­pletely life­less. Again, it’s the hor­mones to blame, though a few sim­ple tricks such as blow dry­ing your hair from in­side out and the use of vol­ume-build­ing sham­poos can make a world of dif­fer­ence.

Preg­nancy and moth­ers are won­der­ful things, but some­times, not all things go as planned. “Some of the com­mon draw­backs or symp­toms of preg­nancy can be feel­ing sick or nau­seous, par­tic­u­lar dishes putting you off, back­ache and cramps,” ex­plains Dr Shaila. “The ur­gency to pass urine all the time, the anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and ir­ri­tabil­ity can get to even the most re­silient of moth­ers. Al­most all th­ese symp­toms are be­cause of the hor­monal changes in preg­nancy. A good bal­anced diet can help. Green leafy veg­eta­bles, high-fi­bre foods, pro­teins and plenty of wa­ter are ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial. Iron and cal­cium sup­ple­ments must be a part of your diet in­take. Reg­u­lar an­te­na­tal checks do a lot in re­duc­ing stress and anx­i­ety. Mild to mod­er­ate ex­er­cise is a must,” she ad­vises.

ALLS WELL THAT ENDS WELL

Re­mem­ber, preg­nancy and moth­er­hood is a state that must be en­tered in af­ter fully un­der­stand­ing your fam­ily dy­nam­ics. Some­times, the at­mos­phere at home can af­fect your other­wise-won­der­ful preg­nancy. But above all, be­ing able to talk to and con­fide in some­one—be it your mother, spouse or doc­tor—can go a long way in help­ing re­duce the stress of be­com­ing a par­ent. Know­ing that you have some­one on your team, can some­times be all you re­ally need.

Post-par­tum de­pres­sion is a very real con­cern and the symp­toms have to be caught early on, if you want to en­sure the safety and well-be­ing of a new mother and her child

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