A dreadful incident happened in Chennai, which sent chills down our spine, and gave a dreading reminder of what the silent killer – postpartum depression – can do to new moms.
Uma and Venkanna (30), relocated to Chennai from Andhra Pradesh five years ago in search of a job. Venkanna found a job at a supermarket, while Uma started working at a clothing store. A 27-years-old new mom, Uma was complaining about experiencing pain while breastfeeding since the birth of her son, 1.5 months ago. But sadly, no one in her family took her complaints seriously.
And as per The New India Express, it is alleged that Uma finally threw her infant into the Velachery lake last Saturday.
Police suspect that the Postpartum Depression (PPD) may have pushed her to throw her son into the lake.
While it is not confirmed if Uma suffered from PPD and if that played a role in her alleged crime, police officers who conducted inquiries shared:
“Recently, she had a baby and after a few days began complaining of pain while feeding the child. She even told her husband to give the baby to her mother to look after but he refused and told her to ‘adjust’. Later, the woman’s sister and mother moved to their house to talk to her about feeding the child, but failed”
“At one point, a fight blew up and the husband accused the wife of being more concerned about her health and of neglecting the child. This added to the mounting depression which probably forced the woman to kill the child”
Unfortunately, PPD is a serious condition which is unknown to many of us.
There is very little awareness about what PPD could do to a new mother. It causes new mothers to feel anger, frustration and great sadness, which they express either through an inability to care for the child or even sometimes, violence towards the child.
While PPD is mainly triggered by a hormonal imbalance in the body after childbirth, but it can also be triggered by painful or complicated pregnancies, stress, tension with the husband or in-laws, financial difficulties and other health issues.
Lack of awareness makes it difficult for women and their families to notice it.
“When a woman has her first child, there is usually family support to help look after the mother and the child, even if they experience some kind of depression. However, there is often less support during subsequent pregnancies which may cause the signs of PPD to be more pronounced”.
Further, women do not approach doctors regarding PPD. It is the family that mostly brings women for treatment, that too when they notice changes in behavior that were unacceptable, Dr. Mangala pointed out.
Given how we Indians value mother-child relationship, it becomes harder for women to express their feelings. And they choose to suffer in silence – sometimes, even trying to harm themselves.
It’s a high time that families and new mothers start focusing on their health before PPD becomes a silent killer. Depressions can be controlled if intervened at the right time without letting it dig deeper roots into mothers’ minds.