Swati Jagdish is a lactation educator, counsellor and the founder of “Bond and Beyond“. She has carved out an inimitable online presence with content that is really varied in topic matter and form. Swati felt compelled to do something significant and unorthodox for the welfare of humanity in 2014 after giving birth to Maya, her daughter. Her videos and postings cover a wide range of themes, including parenting, sex education, psychology and counselling sessions.
Swati Jagadish, also known as ‘Maya’s Amma,’ is a psychology graduate who enjoys talking and sharing her experiences. She has a YouTube channel and an Instagram profile with a whopping 375k followers, both of which are committed to addressing vital topics. She is the Managing Trustee of the Coimbatore Parenting Network as well.
She started a company of her own because it provides pre-and post-natal professional support to new mothers. Her personal experiences have led her to believe that sexuality education is essential for addressing a variety of social concerns, including criminality. She has been working as a trained sex educator for the past couple of years. Nonetheless, it remains a taboo subject that schools and parents are hesitant to broach. Swati took a bold step to change that.
Why do women go through Postpartum Depression?
It is very surprising to know that in this century too, many households are not aware of postpartum depression and the necessary needs a new mother actually wants.
“Women are considered as baby-making machines. They are supposed to tolerate pain and continue living life,” Swati Jagdish says.
Within two weeks of giving birth, every new mother suffers from postpartum melancholy, a reduction in hormone levels. Mood swings, anxiety, weeping outbursts, and insomnia cause changes in the brain and behaviour. Mothers go through a lot of physical, emotional and social changes throughout pregnancy and the weeks following delivery. As a result, certain women may be at risk for mental health concerns such as despair and anxiety.
Swati says, “Firstly in our country, people glorify motherhood and talk about it as the only aim of a woman. The hormones are all over the place and many changes happen to the mother’s body. So, she is already feeling insecure about herself. To give birth to a child and to get to the new normal is a very hard process. Hence, at the time, the mother needs emotional and physical support from her partner and family. If proper care is not given, she can end up in a severe case like postpartum psychosis.”
But what happens in our household?
Once the mother gives birth, all the love, care and attention shifts to the newborn. The only time the mother is given importance is when it’s time to breastfeed. A new mom is very sensitive and emotional. Small actions or words from other people can hurt her. For nine months she was given all the attention and one fine day, it all shifted to the child. The woman is in a vulnerable stage after birth and if she is not taken care of properly, it can increase her anxiety and lead to depression.
Like adolescents, a woman becoming a mother is another stage called Matrescence. It is a transition period. This phase of her life should be dealt with very carefully. A new mother should be kept happy and mentally sound, then only, can it reflect on the upbringing of the baby.
“There are several hormone changes happening within a woman. The mothers don’t talk about it fearing that they might be seen as a bad mother. Thus, when a mother is tired of looking after the baby, she does not have the space to tell it to anyone close to her because of the fear of being thought of as an unfit mother,” Swati Jagdish says.
Families still follow the age-old tradition of taking the new mother and the child to the maternal house. This is a very wrong concept that people follow. Some mothers would want to be with their partner and to look after the child together with him. But what we see is the child is taken away from the father at a very early stage. Because of this, there will hardly be any bonding between the child and the father. This results in the mother taking full responsibility for looking after the baby. Therefore, what people should understand is that postpartum should be crossed together as partners and not alone by the new mother.
Another issue that mothers face is various breastfeeding concerns. When the child is not drinking milk properly, or if the mother is not producing enough milk, or if the mother’s breast hurts, different people come up with different conclusions. This, in turn, can scare the mother and break down her confidence in being a fit mother. It will successively make her anxious. This is a huge aspect of postpartum depression.
Swati Jagdish commented, “A very huge issue in postpartum depression is that people are not aware of and don’t talk about the Birth impact on postpartum depression. Was the woman’s voice respected? Was she given a choice to have an empowered birth? These are a few aspects that are not spoken about in our society. I have heard many mothers tell me stories of how traumatizing their birth was. I recall an instance where a mother had to go through a vaginal examination by 15-20 doctors, which included medical students. They put their fingers inside the mother. All these are very mortifying to them and can have future impacts too.”
She further adds, “A mother who expects a normal delivery of the child, when she has to undergo a C-section birth, it can contribute to issues in postpartum. This can make the mother think that her body is an utter failure since she couldn’t perform natural birth. Therefore, all these aspects are contributing factors to Postpartum depression.”
Most people are aware that sadness and anxiety can strike women during pregnancy. But during the early stages of parenthood, males get equally vulnerable too. Up to one out of every ten new fathers experience depression during or after the delivery of their child. Men’s depression isn’t always the result of their partner experiencing comparable emotions. Although postnatal depression in mothers may imply that the father is suffering from it as well, it is not always the case. Depression in new fathers can start during pregnancy and worsen after the child is born.