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
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.”
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