Postpartum Challenges and how to Heal Mind,Heart and Soul
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu
I really pray you are all doing well in life spiritually, mentally and physically by the Mercy of Allah.
Post birth is an extremely burdensome and demanding period for most women and often this topic is brushed under the carpet instead of being treated. I understand some women feel embarrassed or reluctant to admit they are suffering from PPD (Postpartum Depression) on whatever level. It is also looked down upon in some cultures hence leaving the new mother with feelings of extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying episodes, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
All a new mother wants is to get her sanity back without the interference of any external factors to her already mentally challenged self and physically weak body. Therefore, next time please be considerate of the feelings of a new mother. Try and be emphatically mindful of what you utter as her mental state is weak after birth, resulting in difficulty to be optimistic. Even worse yet every minute remark could intensify the situation.
Depression doesn’t always mean you need to run to the doctors for anti depressants, it can be treated at home and most people with depression improve with good care, which may include changes made to ones life, talk therapy and medication. Talking to that one person whom you’ve always trusted could lift your mind’s burden immensely.
The reason I am writing this long winded artticle is to raise awareness among our women and men folk, young and the old.Sometimes this mood disorder can affect both the mother and father. The fact of the mater is that some of us women do not like to admit we are going through some form of depression. We are also unaware how easily it could be treated.
We have got to make some changes within ourselves which will result in positive changes in our wider communities. Let us stop suffering in silence. Feeling embarrassed to address this issue is not going to help yourself or others. Stop pretending everything is rosy and cry behind closed doors. Be a little open, sometimes the world and people you are surrounded by could be a beautiful place for you to start again inshaAllah. Being open and asking for help doesn’t make you a weak person nor does it make you a weak mother. We still have goodness in this world, you will find a shoulder to lean on, someone to give an ear, a kind, courteous, caring, good and empathetic soul. Talk to someone you trust and get help. Just remember the whole world is not working against you nor is it crumbling down because of your problems. You will get through this phase, what you need before seeking medical help is a very strong connection with Allah coupled with optimistic people, after this by all means go ahead and seek medical treatment.
Another important point I’d like to address at this mark is that nowadays we have countless number of contacts on our phones and social media but we have no real connection or communication with them. They are merely numbers, addresses or photos at our possession. We are all too busy with ‘me, myself and I’. Let us maintain our contacts by connecting with them, caring and spending quality time with them.
Here is a link to a test to assess whether you could be suffering from depression. Depression Self-Asessment Answer the questions based on how you’ve been feeling during the last two weeks.
The more symptoms someone has, the more likely they are to be depressed.
Now let us take a ride through my experience and how I overcame and picked myself up postpartum inshaAllah.
My second pregnancy was better in many ways compared to my first pregnancy subhanAllah. With that said I had more challenges during the second: I was living 2hrs away from my mum who was my rock during my first pregnancy and the rest of the family too, I was officially the ‘Lady of the House’ as my siblings and I like to call it 🙂 . I had to cook, clean and deal with a 3 year old and not forgetting my husband who was patient with me, particularly with my cooking. MashaAllah TabarakAllah 😂as I was an amateur cook, never have I ever cooked a full meal prior to living alone. And there I was in my new house, new city, new people thankfully I had some relatives living in this new alien place 😅. Alhamdulillah ala kulli haal. My relatives and neighbour cooked for me somedays which I am ever so thankful for. Somedays I would be feeling so low and in pain all I said was ‘Ya Allah I haven’t cooked anything for my family’ and my Rabb knew exactly what I meant subhanAllah, later on my neighbour would knock on my door with food and I would be lost for words to comprehend the mercy of my Rabb and how quickly my duas were answered subhanAllah. Somedays I couldn’t eat any food and I would just eat a child’s portion of rice and curry and make dua to Allah to put barakah in it and suffice my hunger and subhanAllah those duas were answered too. Somedays we had takeaway which I hated, maybe my pregnancy taste buds were on some next level. My humble husband also tried cooking and lets just say he could do with some cookery classes, he tried to cook at the speed of a Ferrari wizzing by, you know ‘a bit of this, a bit of that, a dash of this and bam! Food is ready ya’ll’ lol 😂. Lets keep learning the art of cooking. It takes a lot of time and patience to put a delicious looking meal on the table that you actually would want to eat. Trust me I am still learning Alhamdulillah.
Now I hear your minds asking this question: “How did you cope with the first two to three months postpartum?”. Well my answer would be after my first child my connection with my Lord was very poor. I was moody and angry at every little thing. I had no reason to be because I was getting all the help I needed as I was living with my mum and siblings. Still my mind wasn’t content due to lack of patience and comprehending or accepting the Qadar of Allah. I strongly feel for this particular reason I was suffering for almost over a year. This was also a main reason I resigned from my job just 3 months post maternity leave. Stopped all my Islamic classes. I felt overwhelmed, things were crumbling inside of me. I had to wake up early even if I hadn’t slept properly the night before. To pray fajr was a burden as I felt my child is preventing me, how unwise and naive I was. It all felt a bit too much subhanAllah. I kept all this burried inside of me, thinking it will pass in a few weeks but weeks turned into months. However, after about a year I started recovering Alhamdulillah. I felt that there is more to life than just sleep (more like no sleep with a child), eat, drink, feeling stressed at every little thing, utilising time in the most unproductive way possible. At this point I said to myself if I intend to give my child the proper Tarbiya(nurturing) then I’ve got to get back to my productive self and be motivated inshaAllah. I set some goals for myself. Trust me when you put in the effort to change Allah will guide you through. If you keep thinking now ” I have a child that’s it everything else in my life has to be on pause because I have no time” this is not true, trust me it took me over a year to realise this subhanAllah.
Now let us compare my second pregnancy. Alhamdulillah after 3 years I had grown so much mentally because I gave myself the chance to change, to fix things and make things better instead of living in the past or feeling sorry for myself😅. I worked on and still working on building a strong connection with the Qur’an Alhamdulillah it has uplifted my heart, put peace and ease in my mind and soul during the pregnancy and after, needless to say that I still do get those days where I do not get to pick up the actual Mus-haf and recite but I try my best to keep up and be consistent,motivated and dedicated.
So my answer to what helped me through my healing process which resulted in a different and better inner self and better mental wellbeing during and after the pregnancy was non other than AL QUR’AN and it’s author ALLAH azza wajal. Truly amazing Alhamdulillah.
Now I know why I felt the way I did during the first pregnancy:
Allah (swt) says: “ Deluded away from the Qur’an is he who is deluded” (al-thariyat, 51 verse 9)
Meaning that one’s sins will stand between them and the Qur’an; as a block which will result in their distance from the Qur’an…
I would highly encourage everyone to connect with Allah, and what better way is there to connect with Him than through His words/book Al Qur’an.
Start small, purify your intention and make Dua to Allah to aid you. If days pass by without the utterance of the words of Allah from a Mus-haf then try and recite from an electronic device, from memory, just recite any surah you know at anytime iA you will feel tranquillity descend upon your heart, mind and soul. You will feel a sweetness that will make you forget the bitterness and tiredness of Dunya
If you don’t know Tajweed try and attend a class, if you haven’tstarted memorising then start without delay. Or if you’ve neglected its revision then get back on it. My dear friends run away from the hustle and bustle of life and set aside few minutes from your time and indulge in this blessing and recite and prostrate to Allah and become near to Him.
Imam Ibrahim al Maqdisi advises his student Abbas saying; “increase in your recitation of the Qur’an and never leave it; because your ease in life and seeking of what you desire is directly related to how much you recite”
Have patience and persevere
Ibn Taymiyah said:
“I’ve never come across anything that feeds the mind and soul, protects the physical body and provides happiness as much as the lengthened looking in the book of Allah (meaning committed reciting)”
Finally, I ask Allah to grant us all ease in our affairs, may Allah be pleased with all the mothers and all women folk. May we all meet in Jannah with our families. Ya Allah grant us all a noble ending. Aameen Ya Rabbal Aalameen.