Postpartum Depression: Break the Silence

Author: Purna K.V., Blogger

(Original Post appeared here: http://koumudi.blogspot.co.za/2013/10/post-partum-depression-yes-i-faced-it.htm)

Post-Partum Depression. Yes , I faced it and No , there is nothing wrong in talking about it.

Those of you who see my pictures on facebook and think that mine was a happy pregnancy and a perfect delivery and everything was a perfect little dream-come-true…… are wrong. It was actually far from it. I had suffered from a severe prenatal depression in my last trimester and an equally severe postpartum depression after delivery.

It took me a long long time to come back to normal and start living life normally. It took me a long long time to actually come to a conclusion that I should write about it. Yes, there is no need to be ashamed of it. It can happen to any other woman on this planet and it comes without a due notice and we are far from being prepared to face it. Knowledge is wealth and I thought I should provide awareness about PPD ( Post Partum Depression ).

All was well until the starting on my last trimester ( 7th month ). I was working as well in Johannesburg , South Africa, and didn’t have any problems. I moved back to India during the same time to rest at home and deliver in Hyderabad. Ravi came just to drop me back home , had a brief holiday and went back to wind up things at Joburg.I thought this phase would be the most relaxing time of all and was really excited with it. But the travel from Johannesburg to Hyderabad left me with swollen feet and a tiredness which didn’t go away for as long as a month after that. Even my swollen feet took a lot of time to get back to normal. And it is when I was staying at my home in Hyderabad , that depression set in. It started with lack of sleep and a frustrated mind as to why I am not able to sleep. I was bored at home and didn’t have anything to do. I couldn’t travel outside , because I didn’t know driving and the weather change between Joburg and Hyd traffic left me nauseatic. It was better to sit at home rather than travel outside with all the pollution and traffic. And above all , you know what elders say , you are pregnant so don’t do anything without out help. My stamina kept decreasing and so did my appetite. But I thought it was all normal and definitely hormonal. Yes , it was hormonal , but it was not normal and I realised this only in my 8th month. It was the first case of PPD in my family and nobody knew about it.I started imagining all kinds of things and was not happy about it. I always felt that , whatever came into my mind didn’t at all leave me and it only started creating deep impacts and craters in my mind. The ability to control my thoughts was absolutely gone. I felt that my mind was not in my control anymore. I felt that I was some other person and this person is nowhere near to what I am. I felt that something was happening to me and I am not able to stop it. Lack of sleep , lack of appetite , restlessness , no peace of mind and always sad about something which I was not able to apprehend properly. I also had insecure feelings about staying away from my husband and when it was un-bearable , I contacted Dr Vijaya and told her briefly about my situation. It was not only psychological and emotional , it was physical too. I had nervous weakness in my hands and legs , and I was not able to stand and do things properly sometimes. I never felt like waking up from the bed and do something to kill the boredom.

In our society , giving birth to a child and all the pregnancy and delivery phases of life are supposed to be “happy” things. And if it is anything different from it , nobody would want to talk about it. It is all hushed up and the fear of the society seeing you as a “bechara” makes us hide things. But I did no such thing and walked straight into Dr Vijaya’s office and spoke to her. My scared mother accompanied me. I am thankful she did.

May be Dr Vijaya knew already and was suspecting the worst. But she was kind to me and comforted me with her words. She appreciated my outward thinking and the boldness I had to come and talk to her. Because , she said , most women wouldn’t do it. She told me that PPD is a spectrum kind of a thing and almost 80% of pregnant women experience it but at different levels. Some are tolerable and some are not. But mostly , women don’t express it to the gyneac or the midwife. So most of the society doesnt know what’s happening on the inside.

My mother was totally unprepared to face all this. And she never felt or knew that all this was due to hormonal changes or due to changes in pregnancy. She thought I was saying and thinking about issues wantedly .She was scared with the way I was thinking and manifesting things in my mind and her being scared , made me even more timid and frustrated as to why I was like that. After going to Dr Vijaya , we concluded that it might be the mood swings and depression kinds and was normal and a part of pregnancy sometimes. This comforted my parents and husband… but not me. Because it did nothing to my mind so that the pain and everything could go away. I wanted to be happy and welcome my little child. And the fact that some other things were taking precedence over it made me guilty and that guilt started killing me from inside. I couldn’t ignore it and as it was physical too , I was even more scared as to how I would be able to take care of my baby if I was not even able to walk properly and do things normally.It was pure hell. Ravi pre-poned his trip and returned early. But no matter who was beside me and what they had to say to me , the suffering didn’t go away. I had erratic fears over silly things coming into my mind and it scared the hell out of me.I had frequent fear and panic attacks. My brain would be blank and cold for a few minutes.  I knew that my family was putting a brave face outside but were equally concerned and scared from the inside.

Finally , when I delivered , I wasn’t scared of anything in my life , except the “thing” that I was going through. I gave birth normally  and very boldly. Because I wasn’t scared anymore. I had something else to be worried about. Physically , mine was the perfect delivery that anyone would want. Not a single medicine given to my body and not a single prick from the midwives. But psychologically , I was somewhere else. Nothing gave me happiness , expect for pure and intense sense of care towards my child. I took care of her to the core. May be the guilt that built up inside was coming out in this way. My physical  and psychological symptoms remained , even after delivery and then Dr Vijaya suggested me to a clinical psychologist. She spoke to another lady who gave birth in the same center and also a psychologist. Unfortunately , she was out of town , so she referred me to another elderly man in Sweekar-Upkaar , Jublee Bus Stand , Hyd.

I was breast feeding and my body was in the process of healing. But I had to go to consult him. He listened to me and referred me to take some tests. Not lab tests. Some written tests ( I thought they were like some tests to determine my concentration and mind body co-ordination ) which took a lot of time. I had to leave my baby in the car and go to take the tests , occasionally coming back to feed her. There is a phrase in telugu……….. “ Idemi kharmamooo” anipinchindi. I don’t know about the cure , but the visit to the doc itself can make you feel so low and less of confidence , as to something is seriously wrong with you and you need somebody’s help to fix it. It makes ourselves feel like yuk.  Finally , he told me that , I didn’t have any previous mental disorders and this was something that had popped up only in and around pregnancy and hence will be termed as “Post Partum Depression”. He gave me 2 sessions of relaxing my muscles as I was constantly complaining about the nervous weakness in my hands and legs. I almost begged him to give me a medicine to calm me down and make me peaceful. But he denied it as I was breast feeding. He said , treat it as a punishment from God and bear it for 6 months. My duty as a mother was more important than what I was going through and he asked me to come back after 6 months , if I felt it didn’t go away.

He told us a lot of things. He said that , in pregnancy , a woman’s body undergoes a lot of changes.Some are physical and some are psychological. Some are good and some are bad. Now , we the people , miss the bad part. We always think that having a baby only brings joy to us. Ofcourse it is a happy thing………. But it doesn’t always bring joy to us. It also makes us nervous and all the emotions around taking up that responsibility and doing our part correctly. So , “pregnancy and delivery is a happy thing” is highly overrated. It can be the opposite also and there is nothing wrong with it. Sometimes , the wiring in the brain changes permanently because of pregnancy , he said. And I am unfortunate that I have had the bad effects of pregnancy. Having a baby is a very big change in life and different people react in different ways to it, consciously sometimes and sub-consciously sometimes. Nothing is wrong or right in it. And if the pressure on the brain becomes un-bearable , then it translates into physical symptoms like the ones I had. In the spectrum of PPD , may be I fell into a “more and intense” scale. It happens to everybody and not everybody are vocal enough to go to a doc and express that something is wrong. Because we are bound by families and society. And this insecurity and the “unhappy” part are buried under the name of society and the family’s name in the society.

It took me an year and half after delivery to completely come back to normal. And I didn’t take any medicines. It was long , hard and a challenging journey and at the end of it , I guess I have turned out to be a lot more tougher than before. I was sceptical about writing this post from a long time. But finally could muster the courage to put it in words and provide awareness to others. PPD in a severe way happens only to a very very few people. But we must be prepared to face it J.

Six years. 

Sharing this post from the child loss support group, In our hearts forever.

***
How far have I come? Sharing some lessons learnt.

Did I expect this six years ago? 6th July it had rained for the first time. Tejaswee had declared she loved the Delhi monsoons. A month later I was willing the universe to conspire to save her life.

Six years later now, in many ways, I live a ‘normal’ life, at least outwardly. When one has been where I have been, every achievement is a milestone; and things like laughter and joy are achievements beyond all expectations.

Three things that keep me going:

1. In our hearts forever : The Support Group for mothers coping with child loss.

The current mental peace and stability would not have been possible without the support from the moms in this group. We know what we are for each other. Nobody and nothing else can do what this group can, and does – for those who need such support.

2. Brat Three – Brat Three is twelve, and my height now; and regularly raids my wardrobe. 🙂 Her confidence and happiness are our pride, hope, and delight; and she knows it: This sentence in her school notebook had me tearing up: “I am the apple of my parents’ eyes.”

Introducing a new family member.

And I am still marveling at this love, and at the joy and the healing that this love has brought into our lives.

I am grateful. Grateful that all four of us wanted the same thing (this adoption).

Immensely grateful that we listened to the voice inside us.

The Voice

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

 

3. The Saturday hiking group I joined two years ago:

Every Saturday I wake up at 3 30 am to reach the starting point for the hike on the outskirts of the city; because the hike must end before the day gets too hot, we must start before sunrise.

What drags some of us out of our beds at such hours, while the rest of the world sleeps?

For me, the group was at first just a safe space for getting out of the house and experiencing nature. I would have been content to just walk in the wilderness; that was an achievement in itself; but the walks surprised me with unexpected bonuses: Laughter and Joy. (Also, new friends; and improved health).

This was like rediscovering oneself. It’s a passion I did not even know existed within me. The walks changed almost everything else.

Passions tend to engulf us (along with our pain) and I allowed myself to be totally taken over by the experience: I have run through the wild grass into the sunrise, climbed trees with ants crawling on them, splashed in pools, and felt the rain on my face.

Why have these walks been so life altering, …so healing? I guess what’s healing is the letting go, and the following of one’s spirit.

As we trekked each weekend braving the thorny branches of vilayati keekar, I learnt that there are many kinds of griefs, each very painful to the person experiencing it.

Over a period of time, I met other survivors.

Some of them casually mention the challenges they are coping with and in the beginning, I compared their pain to mine, but now I see that their pain is the worst they have known.

I have found empathy in unexpected places. I have learnt that I connect with, amongst other survivors: single mothers. Divorce is said to be comparable to death and is a traumatic experience, including blatant judgment from random people. The trauma remains unacknowledged: and then there is judgment instead of support. Having experienced it occasionally, and having been outraged by it, I can relate to this.

One walker I met (age, personal life no idea, no need to know) wanted to ‘experience life’ because he has been through hell and survived. And what has he survived? Believe it or not: Alcoholism. His struggle against something he doesn’t have control over, I would probably not have understood in my earlier life.

With this group, I feel I have come a long, long way. Shared passions build strong bonds. And yet. One casual question or remark can still become a trigger for me.

Recently the group celebrated their sixth anniversary. I had attended the celebration last year, so I knew that I would be able to attend this year too. And all was fine and fun until I heard the DJ ask – “Hey people the next one for the person you love the most!” No idea what the context was. Maybe he was just talking too much. Maybe I was overwhelmed anyway, just waiting for a trigger. But suddenly I became an outsider. Wished there was one person I could have looked at and seen them understand.
(This morning I am wondering if I was really the only one. How do I know nobody else struggled in their own way like I did? )

But here’s the thing. I could, with some effort, put the thought away and continue to act like I was not screaming inside; like I was not dying to join the one person who meant everything to me. And after some pretense, it became a fact. I started enjoying again. I could feel Tejaswee with me – with all her protective love, warmth, and positivity. And I was wearing a neckpiece that was hers. (Like some other moms in In Our Hearts Forever, I too always have something of hers with me).

I couldn’t have imagined this six years ago, or even two years ago. This mind-control is what coping with grief is all about, I feel. It’s an unimaginably painful journey, but know that there is hope – it does get better. You emerge so much stronger that you look at your own self in awe. I accept this with gratitude – maybe no power could prevent this pain – but if one is given so much pain then one should also be given the strength to deal with that pain. I am grateful to have reached this point.

Sharing this here to record my journey and to give those newer in this journey an idea of what they might expect in the coming years.

Some more thoughts from someone who has walked through grief and come out stronger –

1. Value your health. Everything else becomes tougher to cope with if health is also an issue.

2. If something gives you a moment of peace – don’t care what anybody says; listen to this guiding voice inside. Moments of joy lead to healing. Grab every bit of healing.

3. Avoid people or situations that trigger pain. Again, listen to this guiding voice inside. You won’t walk into a fire, think before you walk into pain.

4. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, be guided by yourself. I have been advised social work and shopping as alternatives to hiking – both are fine, but are not for me. There is no way I would have benefitted from these, the way I have from hiking, Brat Three, the Support Group, and this blog.

Note: Please email me if you know of someone who might want to join ‘In Our Hearts Forever’.

Related Posts:

In our hearts forever.

She will live forever in our hearts.

On 19th Jan 2014.

When we surprise ourselves.

Do dreams have meanings?

Do you believe that each day promises a fresh beginning?

2011… and an unbelievable dream.

“The pain will never go, but you will smile again.”

“The pain will never go, but you will smile again.”

Neerja.

How can watching something painful actually help someone in pain?

I had no idea what to expect from Neerja – but it turned out to be a cathartic experience. I identified with the mother and wanted to cry – aloud, even before anything began. The way Shabana Azmi wakes the daughter up, hating to wake her when she seemed to so need that sleep; then gladly letting her sleep just a little longer, snuggling up beside her, watching her asleep, her head on the pillow. I wanted the moments to last forever.

Shabana Azmi seemed to have experienced the scene, or the love – or else she is just a fantastic actor. Reminded me of another similar scene in Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd. where she has lost her family in an accident and here too she was equally relatable.

Even the mundane – the daughter teasing the mother for the way she dances, the clowning and the camaraderie. The everyday life I was so complacently content with and expected to last a lifetime. I cried at the unfairness of it all, but along with sadness and exhaustion I also felt a lightness.

I could hear other viewers crying too. What were their thoughts? How would I have found this movie if it was not seeing myself on the screen?

The family learns about the hijack and while they wait for information, It was us outside the ICU again, reassuring ourselves, insistently, that all would be well. The desperate hope that buying a yellow outfit could influence what they would soon learn… I wanted to reach out and hold their hands – tell them I understood.

The way the mother looks afterwards. Stunned. Dishevelled. The little girls walking to school. A photo album on her lap. It was like meeting a mother in our Child Loss support group. I wish. .. really wish I could meet this mother. 

I shared all of this on our group – In Our Hearts Forever and realised not everybody felt the same way. My husband too refused to watch this movie. Affirms what I have said earlier – the only person who can decide what works for them is the person experiencing the loss. 

The Voice.
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you – just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

Related Posts:

Talaash: Lakh duniya kahe

In our hearts forever.

Why I liked ‘Rabbit Hole’.

“Grieving parents behave in a different manner. ”

The right way to grieve.

When we surprise ourselves.

 

“I realise that I do not actually want to have kids of my own. I just don’t feel the need to have children of my own.

Sharing an email.
Subject: Childless or childfree?
Hello IHM,
For many years, I have been a keen follower of your posts and the comments which follow. Many of the women who  write to you and the followers of your blog probably look for many things – validation, affirmation, consolation, strength, support or just maybe different opinions on the topic being discussed. And I too come to the IHM family looking for perspectives on a question that has started troubling me these days.
At the very beginning, I must say, I come from a privileged background. Liberal parents, a very good higher education, married the man of my choice (albeit with a bit of struggle convincing his parents!) and turns out he is a feminist, my in laws are fairly conservative but we live abroad so haven’t had any issues yet, I work full time doing the thing I love most, have ample financial independence too. My husband and I treat each other as the equals that we are and he is every bit the person I had always wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Having said that, now that it has been two years since we were married and are now both 30, we are dreading the inevitable turn the conversation takes at this stage in every Indian couple’s lives – “when will you share the good news?”
I want to clear something first – I absolutely love and adore children. Now that I am in a position where we have to decide if this is what we want to go ahead with, I realise that I do not actually want to have kids of my own. My husband, as of now, feels the same way. But he is still vacillating between “not now” or “not ever”. Our reasons are different, I just don’t feel the need to have children of my own. My husband, on the other hand, feels we are not financially ready since we are both still paying off education loans.
The issue is, I do not know how to broach this topic with either set of parents. My dad, no matter how liberal in other things, believes there is a circle of life and everything happens one after another, education -> marriage -> children. My mother, quietly, has told me it is our choice. I’m not really sure if she is ok with it or not but for the moment, she seems to be on my side. My in laws, I haven’t spoken to yet, will probably be apoplectic when they hear that I do not want children. I will keep that aside for now.
With this, I hope I have explained my background well. I love kids, have not been abused as a child (no trust issues, etc), am financially quite stable (not that we cannot afford to have children). I just do not feel the inherent need that some women do to have a child of my own. I have a couple of questions:
1. Have any of your readers experienced the same feelings as mine? How did they handle it personally? I know now that I do not want to have kids but at the same time, I am full of doubts and questions – what if I regret this decision when I am no longer able to have children naturally (I can always adopt of course), will I be missing out on something wonderful in life? Will this affect my relationship with my husband? What if we split up?
2. How did they deal with pressure, questions and rumours from family and friends? (For example – Maybe they are infertile, how selfish of them not to have children, maybe he/she is having an affair or is gay or is unable to “do it”, how are you going to live in your old age? what if one of you dies?  you will be bored of each other within a few years, what is the use of earning so much, this is what happens when you give your kids too much freedom)
3. How is having or not having children selfish? If you have children because you want them, is that not selfish since you are doing it for your own happiness? Are we being “selfish” and depriving our parents of grandchildren (a couple of friends actually told me this)? How is this relevant, especially since we are going to be primary caregivers for the children and not the grandparents who will barely see the kids once in a while.
4. Why should we consider children as a security deposit to be encashed later in life? My husband and I should be managing our finances properly and planning for our old age, irrespective of having children or not. We should be keeping ourselves busy with friends and hobbies, not having children to keep yourself occupied!
5. Are couple who are childfree (implying choice) or childless (could not have children for various reasons) any less men or women or not contributing to society solely because they do not have children? How much do couples actually think before they embark upon being parents? Most couples I know went ahead because it had been X years since they got married and it was the right thing to do next.
We have not yet made the final decision since my husband is still thinking of it but it would be good to know what other people think. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Regards,
CF
Related Post:
 More related posts:

Every Hindu woman must produce at least 4 kids: Sakshi Maharaj

Every Hindu woman must produce at least 4 kids: Sakshi Maharaj

Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj has once again stirred a hornet’s nest by saying all Hindu women must produce at least four children.

In Meerut on Tuesday to address a gathering on the occasion of Sant Samaagam Mahotsava, he said, “The concept of four wives and 40 children will not work in India and the time has come when a Hindu woman must produce at least four children in order to protect Hindu religion.”

Link: Every Hindu woman must produce at least 4 kids: Sakshi Maharaj

Related Posts:

How do women benefit from religion?

Some doors are different… they are closed for fifty percent of the population.

Religion makes us kind and good.

“A Hindu woman derives immense pleasure in sacrifice for her husband. The white man will never ever understand this.”

What makes someone find the concept of ghunghat appreciable?

Sindoor, Tali and Mangalsutra.

‘Mother india.. Flawless women… My grand salute to this mother..’

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

Mommy Guilt: A Western Influence.

Why are mothers ignored, asks SC

While we claim to ‘worship’ mothers ( well, atleast the mothers of male children) do we really respect mothers or motherhood? 

How does the society ensure that motherhood does not come in the way of self reliance and basic human rights for women? (Do we give this a thought?)

Instead, it seems, many of us expect some parents (only women) to look upon parenting as a sacrifice, social obligation and duty.

Rights? Few.

Responsibilities? 

But here is a small ray of hope. 

Why are mothers ignored, asks SC

Link shared by K

Mothers hardly match the authority a father commands in official documents necessary to prove a person’s identity. While the father’s name prominently figures in government documents, the mother is usually given the go-by.

 

The Supreme Court is all set to change that.

….

The petition, filed by journalist Madhav Kant Mishra from Allahabad, says ignoring the parenthood of the mother in government documents is in gross violation of the Fundamental Right to Equality under Article 14 of the Constitution. It sought an ordinance making the mother’s name compulsory in documents.

Do we really respect mothers? 

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

Mommy Guilt: A Western Influence.

An email: “I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.”

How can the society ensure that marriage (and homemaking and motherhood) does not result in women becoming financially dependent on their husbands?

Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid.

‘How I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical and moral support from my in laws?’

Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous.

An email: “She is considering having an abortion without telling her husband about it.”

“…and every month if my periods get delayed I am given a weird look and it clearly shows that she is afraid i might get pregnant again.”

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

Would Indra Nooyi like to be the kind of mother to her daughters that her mother has been to her?

An update: “My friend is having the baby because her mother absolutely refused to support her decision to abort.”

Sometimes also used to control women’s freedom and choices:

New scare for urban women: Menopause in 20s

“I waited for maternal love to overcome me – it didn’t… After my baby was born, I didn’t feel anything…”

Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.

An email: Is it selfish to not want to be parents yet?

Woman you are not doing anybody a favour…

An email: “I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.”

Some other points that SC has raised in the past:

Daughter-in-law should not be treated as domestic help, says Supreme Court

Marry Or Live With Anyone Of Your Choice.

Plain-clothed police officers, warning signboards, cancellation of permits, helplines: SC directs States to take serious steps to curb Street Sexual Harassment.

Don’t let off rapists on flimsy grounds, SC tells courts.

Why does Gender Sensitivity in Legal Language matter.

‘This issue might sound very trivial, any stranger talking to him for few minutes will undoubtedly think that his wife is very lucky.’

Sharing an email.

What makes these issues appear trivial? Why is it that many of us don’t seem to see that each of these ‘trivial issues’ contributes towards male child preference?

Dear IHM,

I would like to share my friend’s problem here. She lives in a foreign
country with her husband, two kids and works full time. She and her
husband have their own differences about values of life. He is
materialistic, expecting from the girl’s family, expects the wife to
give her salary to him on first of every month, share all her online
credentials. Long story short – a typical yesteryear Indian male
husband. On the other hand, he doesn’t spend much, teetotaler, takes
good care of the kids in her absence, cooks occasionally, saves for
the future, plans vacations and any stranger talking to him for few
minutes will undoubtedly think that his wife is very lucky.

My friend doesn’t share her credentials instead spends for monthly
expenses and then gives him the remaining savings as a bulk transfer
when needed for common investments and manages his tactics as and when they surface. They have been married for almost ten years now.

This issue I am going to share might sound very trivial but it bothers
my friend’s daily life very much and would really appreciate your
readers suggestions.

Their second child is less than one year old and the husband is not
helping to put the baby back to sleep at midnight wake ups. He just
continues “pretend” to sleep and my friend has to wakeup at least two
times between 11pm-5am every single night to pat the baby back to
sleep. Sometimes the baby sleeps with a feed, sometimes she has to
walk around for a while which is challenging for her considering her
back pain and inability to carry weights for long time and sometimes
nothing works. The baby bawls and my friend struggles. As this
situation repeats, she gets more irritated with her husband resulting
in shouting at him, showing faces and going on a no talking strike for
few days. He also doesn’t change diapers, doesn’t bath or feed the
baby. All she is asking him to do is to carry the baby for few minutes
and walk around when the baby cries at night or take turns in handing
the baby at night. He simply says he is not comfortable with doing
them when she tried to have a conversion with him. But, the same man
carries the baby during daytime and plays with the baby. He definitely
loves his children and wishes the best for them. There is no doubt
about it.

How can my friend handle this situation? She can’t continue to wake up
many times every night as she starts to work early in the morning and
also have to take care of her elder one, pack dabbas and other sundry
works of the home. She can’t take a break from work as she feels that
the little bit self respect and personal space will be totally at a
toss. She has been working since the day she married him and even have
heard her husband’s relative referring her as a “golden goose” to him.

Thank you IHM and your readers.

Warm Regards

Related Posts:

I Want To Be A Dad. – Radhika Vaz

Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid.

A good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.

An email: “I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.”

Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous.

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

First name, Unwanted. Second name, Dad’s or Husband’s name.

‘How I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical and moral support from my in laws?’

How can the society ensure that marriage (and homemaking) does not result in women becoming financially dependent on their husbands?

And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male…

“My problem is my wife doesn’t like me hanging out with friends.”

Sharing a comment from A Reader. What do you think?

I have been married to my wife for a year and a half, and we have an infant child. I work while my wife stays home. My problem is she doesn’t like me hanging out with friends.

When I get home she gives me the silent treatment. I barely see my friends anymore — and when I do, they come here. If they stay any longer than 30 minutes, it causes a problem and my wife again won’t talk to me for the rest of the night.

I have tried to compromise, but she feels as though any time I spend away from her and the baby is a no-no. Am I wrong?

What do you think of this mother, and this family?

What do you think of this mother? How do you think would the ‘social order’ be impacted with this kind of parenting? Have you ever met mothers or parents or families like this?

Link shared by Gk from tears&dreams, with the message: “Felt like sharing the article with you. Its funny and sweet and talks about family in a way that would be hard to imagine for most Indians. I can’t think of anyone else who’d understand why I loved it.”

Can you think of two people who would love this story?

MODERN LOVE

The Messy-Kitchen, Parking-Spot War

The day my daughter arrived home from her first year in college, her boyfriend moved in. They didn’t consult me.

One day I was happily living alone in my two-bedroom Seattle apartment, and the next I had two teenage roommates, one of whom I hardly knew. The boyfriend, who was still a high school senior, had been my daughter’s summer fling before she left for college last September.

With my last child gone, I thought I’d be terribly sad and lonely. And I was — for about 10 minutes. After I had spent a brief stint lying on her bed mourning her childhood, I did what my own mother had done: I gathered the stuff she had left behind and moved it to the basement storage unit.

Then I took over the office nook she had claimed (but hardly ever used) and made it my own.

I installed shelves and filled them with my reference books. I stocked the refrigerator and cupboards with gluten-free, low-fat food. I bought soap in scents that pleased me and shampoo that suited my hair type. I rearranged the furniture and cleaned the house from top to bottom.

With each pass of the vacuum, I found myself becoming cheerier. My husband had moved to our farm on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington with our two dogs to pursue his dream of being a homesteader, changing our marriage into a long-distance arrangement with occasional weekend visits. I found myself, for the first time in 35 years, living alone in a perfectly tidy apartment. I loved it.

….

When I asked if the boyfriend might help out a little by doing dishes or taking out the compost, my daughter said, “He’s phobic about getting his hands dirty.”

“I’m sure that works well for him,” I replied.

Weeks passed as the lovebirds languished in my apartment. I’d leave for work at 10:30 a.m. and return at 7 p.m. to find them exactly where I had left them: sprawled on the couch watching reruns of “Monk.” The only way I could tell they had even moved was that the food I had bought for dinner was gone and the kitchen was a mess.

The boyfriend’s mother, upset that her 18-year-old son hardly came home anymore…

Please do read the entire story at – 

The Messy-Kitchen, Parking-Spot War

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Introducing a new family member.

An eight year old, spirited, determined, smart and sensitive little girl joined our family on 21st July 2012. On this blog I am going to call her Brat Three. [Blogged about Brat One and Brat Two, herehere , hereherehere ….]

We had not planned to adopt an eight year old, all along we were sure a new born or at the most a three or four, or even a five year old would be easier for us to raise. One of the reasons I want to blog about raising Brat Three is to share the surprises that older child adoption brought for us.

The challenges too, but we seem to hear about the challenges all the time. I also feel some of these challenges apply to all parent-child relationships.

We had expected to work at helping an eight year old adjust to a new environment, school, family, food and life, while teaching her new languages. The first surprises were her determination to work at all of the above, and our own lack of unrealistic (or any) expectations. We were just happy to have her as our daughter.

And the first challenge was reassuring her that she didn’t really have to try so hard, that most of it would happen over time and that we were a family, no matter how long she took.

Although all our doubts about adopting an older child vanished once we met Brat 3, I still wanted to be sure we were not romanticising adoption. We wanted to have realistic expectations. So, what could go wrong with something that felt so right to us? We asked friends and family what to expect and what to be prepared for. 

Were we ready, after all these years, to once again deal with home work, tiffin boxes, PTMs and waking up early or missing the school bus? We actually looked forward to most of these.

Were we ready to replace the freedom of watching news hour debates night after night with reading bed time stories?  We quite looked forward to that too.

At first I had planned to home-school her for one year, to bring her to the level of other children her age, but was glad to find the two schools I approached (via friends) willing to work with her, at her pace.

2012-09-04 19.20.19 - Me Mamma, Brat Three, Older Child Adoption, Eight year old

Since our expectations were almost nil, it was difficult to understand, even for me, why it was something we so eagerly looked forward to. Why did we think taking on  the responsibility of raising an eight year old child was going to make us happy? One of my biggest concerns was, being able to raise a happy child, when we knew even our happiest moments were never going to be free from pain. But then, along with happiness, the way we see disappointments has changed too. 

I am grateful to whoever shared this link sometime after August 2010 –  Pain of loss eases with adoption. Reading how Tamara Thomas felt about her loss was like reading my own thoughts; but when I first read this post, I wasn’t sure about adopting a nine year old. There were no doubts about wanting to adopt, only we had a smaller child in mind. After Brat 3 joined us, I spent hours on the internet trying to find Tamara Thomas’ blog, I had forgotten her name, all I remembered was ‘adoption after death of daughter’. When I finally found it, it felt like she was talking about my relationship with Brat three, this strong willed little girl who changed our lives, made us busier, changed our focus, made us happier than we ever hoped to feel.

My mother, who had been unwilling to say anything earlier, pointed out, “Your voice has changed again, it had changed when…  (She never says Tejaswee died, and I still have to keep saying it to believe it.) …but now you sound almost like your old self.”  

So did we adopt because we expected this little girl to make us feel better? All we knew was that we were very sure that we wanted to adopt a child. Once she came home, it felt like she had always been here. I keep marvelling at the wonder of adoption, how it connects total strangers to make happy families.

Brat Three, Older Child Adoption, Eight year old

Also, I do believe that anything one does, one does (and must do) because one expects to feel better. If we didn’t expect to feel good about it why would we have adopted? And yet, I have no idea why it helped so much, it has helped more than I would have ever dared to hope. And it helped each one of us.

It helped Brat Three too. Once when a friend in the orphanage handed her a fallen eye lash to make a wish, she said she had wished for her adoptive family to come soon. Now that that wish has been granted she says, she is waiting to find another fallen eye lash so that she can make a wish to meet Santa. 🙂 (She does suspect it wasn’t Santa but dad who got her a gift hamper on Christmas eve, but wants to keep an open mind 😉 )

Brat 3 and Santa, Brat Three, Older Child Adoption, Eight year old

 Sneaked in some pictures of Brat Three in these posts:

Some action shots direct from a recent battle field!!

Guess which one of these Rangoli Portraits is me?

This afternoon.

[Read about Brat One and Two, herehere , herehere, and here]

Links: Older Child Adoption

Pain of loss eases with adoption – Tamara Thomas

Adopting an older child: Is fear holding you back?

Take a Chance on Me

Some adoption parenting resources