When I realized that I was pregnant with my first daughter, it was the best feeling I ever had. I started imagining how her face would be like and the characters she would resemble. In fact, I even started drawing her face in my diary book because of excitement. Unfortunately, all that changed after the first trimester and heaven broke loose. I started hating myself, had depression, got overwhelmed by fear and felt ashamed of talking about my baby. I would go into hiding and start crying; I was ugly and unlovable. Arguing with my husband over petty things became part of our life because I started suspecting he was unfaithful. At some point, I even regretted conceiving my daughter. When I gave birth to my daughter, I immediately realized that something was not right. She was very adorable but although I wanted to hold her tight, I could not. I realized that the hatred that I had for the six months during pregnancy did not go away because I had no emotional attachment towards her. At first, I thought the nurses had exchanged my baby with someone else’s, but my husband assured me that he was there all through and she was our baby. We were discharged and went home hoping that the feeling would go away soon enough. At home, I realized that my daughter would not sleep for long hours. She spent most of the time crying because she had no one to embrace her. I was deprived my sleep because I spent most of the time breastfeeding and attending to her. I felt like they tortured me because I used to sleep more than ten hours before I gave birth. I became more sunken, withdrawn and tired fearing for my death and that of my girl. My days were shuttered and full of disappointments. There were days when I had hallucinations that I had killed my child using a knife and my husband would bring her to me to prove that I had not harmed her. Moreover, I had suicidal thoughts, and this made my husband quit his job to take care of me. I consider that period to be the worst period of my life because I could have lost my loved ones.
After one year, my husband and I realized there were no improvements and it affected my child because she started realizing that I was not paying attention to her. To save our child from depression and impaired cognitive development, my husband and family members came together and decided that I should see a psychiatrist. After doing some tests, I realized that I had postpartum depression. Afterward, I was put under medication and psychotherapy which helped in speeding up my recovery. Antidepressant medicines did not pose a risk to my daughter because they did not produce toxicity during breastfeeding. A friendly mental health professional gave me emotional support, helped me understand my personal goals and how to achieve them. A problem shared is half solved. I also joined a group of women who had suffered from depression, and we shared our feelings and comforted each other. Exercises lifted my spirit about parenting. It was a way of relieving my fears by facing rather than avoiding them which made me feel great. The hallucinations started fading, and I started loving my baby girl. Initially, the symptoms would show up before my menstrual period because of hormonal change, but this did not last for long.
I recovered fully when someone opened my eyes. I met a woman at the hospital during one of my visits. Fortunately, my doctor also attended to her, and we became friends. After sharing my story, I realized she became emotional about it. Little did I know that she had been trying to get children for the last ten years. I broke her heart for neglecting my child when she had been praying day and night to have one. She opened my eyes to so many people who are facing more problems in life than mine but still push through. God communicated to me through her. I started reflecting on the experiences of people with disabilities, children who are left orphan at a tender age and have no one to take care of them, and women trying to conceive in vain. It hit me so hard that I even cried for being ungrateful to God for blessing me when others had no such wishes. I am forever grateful to that woman because she became a game changer of my life.