No, you did not read that wrong.
Both man and woman think, or rather believe, that when their child will be born, parenting will come naturally to them. The woman will suddenly take to a mother’s instinct, the man a perfect father figure. Although that is true for majority, a minority of around 15% (around the globe) faces an entirely different situation and the nation knows nothing about it.
You might have heard about a few strange incidents here and there. A mother refusing to be near her child, or not wanting to perform her daily functions – drink, eat, or sleep – or a few rare cases involving suicide. But obviously, our society labels it with a simple “She wasn’t/isn’t meant to be a mother.”
Postpartum Depression (PPD)
No, that’s not it, it’s a whole disorder called Postpartum Depression (PPD). And before we go into this, keep in mind, across the earth, fathers suffer from the very same thing, but never have we heard of such a case being recorded in Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistani women suffer the disorder quietly with a rate of 28 to 63 percent. Many have no knowledge of it. One factor is lack of education.
However, the other, influencing, aspect is you, the society, and your charlatan laws. You want the woman to be a good mother, yet you continuously discourage her attempts with words like nakhreli and pagal. You want the mother to be perfectly healthy for the baby, yet you are the one who becomes an
obstacle in her path to seek medical help.
On any other matter, it may make a woman stronger, a man proud of his wife, to have successfully followed the society’s laws. Except when a woman has just been given the best gift in life, and needs all the help she can get on her journey to motherhood, the negative societal attitude sets the already festering PPD into a stage of further distress and agony. The result? Either self-harm or harming of the baby. Instead of bringing bliss and cheer in her life, you ruin all that is good in her life.
Like a few of us at Cubby, some woman may not like to talk about personal health matters with others. At this point, it is important to note that there is a culture-barrier when it comes to one’s wellbeing that prevents one from talking about one’s health outside of family, especially mental health. But when a woman does, she is only insulted and ridiculed by her own family, so she would rather suffer in silence, drowning in her miseries, until it is too late.
And of course, fathers are not exempted from this suffering either. With a broken heart, we must say, mothers suffering from PPD have it difficult, but fathers have it worse. While mothers still have the support of their own mothers, sister(s) and girlfriend(s), fathers have no one to even talk to. Our society
forbids a man to participate in anything that “lessens” his masculinity. God forbid, a father may speak out his worries about his wife or his inability to bond with his new child!
So our message from Cubby, to everyone is simple. Parenthood is for everyone. Do not label one another. And if you, your wife or husband, or someone you know, shows signs of PPD, speak out (for them). Seek medical advice and have your condition treated before time. And yes, it is a condition, a
severe condition, and no harm in calling it a condition. It is imperative that we, as a society, grasp the inevitable consequences of not only just this disorder but every mental illness there is.
Denying a mother and father their rightful guidance, is the greatest sin of our society. We want a glowing parenthood for all, and standing against these unjust norms of our society is all we can do. Remember, it all starts with an individual.
Author: Faria Tasleem