Postpartum depression is still a taboo in black communities; black women have been the epitome of strength and backbone of our societies and it becomes hard for us to admit that we are overwhelmed. Some of us we cannot even tell our mothers because they are unaware of this monster that is lurking in the shadows, I was however lucky that my mom and little sister were able to identify it “soon enough”. With Sesotho proverbs like “Mosali o tsoara thipa ka bohaleng” it’s expected to try and encompass it in our daily life. I have seen the strongest women succumb to the monster that is post-natal depression, I have also seen some rise up and some camp there (well not because they want to). Well here is my story, I am hoping it will shed a spark of light for post- natal depression and I have seen it also break a lot of families, because it was not handled well, alot of husband’s are not aware of post natal depression and confuse it as moods or their wives letting themselves go and end up dreading going home . I opened up to a few people around me about my depression, they never took me serious , the ones that did, asked me to pray (that’s the least thing you want to hear from someone when going through depression by the way) but maybe because it was self-diagnosed it left them with a little doubt to my reality. The truth is postpartum depression is there, some women are lucky enough to be diagnosed by their Drs, some like me, are able to see through it and some brave it through but it eventually catches up with them years later. There’s a list of symptoms and signs at the end of the blog.

I honestly know what really triggered my postpartum depression; maybe a therapist would mince it down for me and identify the real issue but between the 35kg pregnancy weight gain, hormonal imbalance, my birth plan going wrong or my underlying resentment towards God for my unemployment or the fatigue of motherhood. Something amongst the above reeled me into a haze of emotional clutter I was unable to swim out of. Let us start from the beginning, Beast one day came home and proposed we start a family well honestly it took me a while to come on board, I felt our finances were not in shape to bring a baby into the equation, but him being a faith warrior he won me over, and when I finally did, I remember we held hands and prayed God to bless us with a healthy child, I wanted a boy and he wanted a girl, he already had a name for her, Khanyisile (Light), I guess he is Gods favourite because we were blessed with a beautiful, healthy girl.

The pregnancy was smooth and a healthy one, like we had asked God. It was in my pregnancy I forgot that I was unemployed for a moment hahaha, it was nice shame especially in the last trimester waking up to relaxing and daydreaming. I had time to plan for my water birth (Yes you read it well, water birth), with candles and a playlist I was ready to welcome my little girl in style…breastfeeding was part of the plan, chest to chest after the birth, the works. Until I reached 41 weeks (10 months!!, she will never hear the end of it, LOL) pregnant and my blood pressure misbehaved, next thing I know I was hospitalised and had an emergency csection.I woke up and I was drunk with the meds, I couldn’t feel my feet, couldn’t hold my baby and worse of all, I struggled to breastfeed my baby. “I failed”, I gushed to myself, “No actually God failed me AGAIN!” I didn’t hear my child’s first cry, I didn’t give birth naturally like I desperately asked him, I cannot breast feed my child either and I AM STILL UNEMPLOYED!!

I was angry at God, for a while I couldn’t pray, I mean what is the point of praying if he is not going to answer my prayers I would say to myself, for a while I avoided listening to my favourite hymns, every time I would try to have a conversation with God or pray, my voice would crack and I would start crying…with my relationship with God on the lifeline, I also I hated the way I looked (my curves were swallowed by weight gain, those are my fighters hahaha), I couldn’t recognise myself in the mirror, I mean I knew I was not going to snap back like all the petite women and celebrities on Instagram do, but heeey man I was twice my weight, my tummy would roll over ,my C-section scar was painful and still the motherhood train was not waiting for me to gather myself, diapers were waiting for me , feeding, night shifts I was a literally a zombie. Friends and family practically begged me to get a helper, I refused, well it didn’t make financial sense to sit around with a helper the whole day while I was unemployed, it made sense then but I didn’t realise I put finances over my mental health, trust me when I say I worship Helpers, domestic work isn’t a child’s play, so be a little compassionate with them, please?. I always tell my husband that I actually do not remember the first few weeks of motherhood; it’s all fog to me…like a thief in the night the dark cloud was hovering over me and I finally cracked.

I think what really helped me was that I was able to diagnose myself and my little sister and mom later identified it, I opened up to Beast and he told me he was aware and had already discussed it with my little sister. ..So Beast was there from the conception to dirty diapers and night shifts that’s why I believe it was easy for him to see something was wrong immediately, though like any black man without a clue about post-natal depression, he really tried his best to be positive and support me, cleaning the house in the morning just before going to work and making me breakfast, did a great deal.

Progressively, I regained strength to say a full prayer without shedding a tear, I would play a few of my favourite Hillsong and instead my spirit would be renewed, like a deer submerged in water quenching its deadly thirst , step by step I became empowered by my prayers, affirmations and reading the word of God. By the way with the deer metaphor, apparently when a deer goes days without water, its muscles get weak, and his feet won’t carry his body, the deer will go blind, hence when it gets into the river it will submerge itself in the water so that the water penetrates through its skin, so mind blowing neh? When I worship I soak myself in , I submerge, I don’t want mistakes hahaha, not on my watch.

The bible says a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps, honestly I made all the plans but God had a better plan for my child birth. God blessed us with a healthy baby and a smooth pregnancy like we asked him to, however God executed his birth plan, Khanyi was born 4kg (A giant like mom and Daddy hahaa) and I later realised that I have a low pain threshold I probably wouldn’t have survived natural birth, but today I do believe that all was working together for my good. I didn’t get my birth plan and I am still unemployed, I however lost 15kg of the 35kg I have gained and I am back at school but most of all I have emerged from the dark hole of post-natal depression as bold as ever.

Onetime I was telling a friend that I miss the old Tiffy, the sold out to Jesus, unstoppable, bulldozing girl, nothing would shake her faith, and she laughed and said it’s the same as asking to go back to being a child again, your relationship with Christ has matured from that of an infant to a baby learning how to run, walk , talk etc, with every milestone comes difficulties but the child always reaches their milestone none the less, but when it comes to your relationship with God for you to reach a milestone,it depends on your faith and every time you reach a milestone there’s no going back. I believe post-partum birthed in me a new milestone; it took a lot from me though to rise again, the old Tiffy would have not started this blog for sure, and this blog is a significance to me that I do not walk in fear but in the spirit of boldness.

I hope this blog spoke with someone today, a husband that lost their partner to depression and they were never aware or a new mom going through a depression and can’t figure out what is happening, my advice to you is never let your emotions get in between your faith because that’s when the devil overpowers you, it is true that a strayed sheep from a flock and its shepherd is vulnerable to being mauled by a jackal, today I never let my emotions reel me away from God. I may not have the answers today, but all this 30 years of my existence God has showed up many times and continues to do so.

I am an advocate for prayer, but post-natal depression requires one to seek medical help, so please talk to a professional about it, and most of all if your overwhelmed say so, get a helper, go back home, your mental health is very important. I didn’t seek medical help because I knew what triggered my depression, and our triggers will not be the same .Thank you for taking you time to read my blog.

Please remember to subscribe to the blog, like BoldTiffy Facebook page and Thank you for taking time to read. The next episode I will discuss the question, “Why bother get married anyway?”

Signs of Post Natal depression.

🌸Mood: anger, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or panic attack

🌸Behavioural: crying, irritability, or restlessness

🌸Whole body: fatigue or loss of appetite

🌸Weight: weight gain or weight loss

🌸Cognitive: lack of concentration or unwanted thoughts

🌸Psychological: depression or fear

Also common: insomnia or repeatedly going over thoughts

9 Responses

  1. Lovely read ngwaneso, I know my first two weeks were the hardest. No one told me it wasn’t all fun, for me the breast feeding was so sore, and trying to put all those Google reads about routine into practice were super hard.

    All I ever read or saw was how happy people would be after the birth of the children and when I didn’t feel the overwhelming joy I was very disappointed with myself.

    I can say it took me time to enjoy motherhood and had people tell me I was probably not very maternal it hurt to hear but I accepted it. Now in hindsight I am very maternal just when you are vocal about your feelings people will interpret them as they see fit.

    I know for a fact motherhood isn’t what I expected and in the long run it has strengthened my relationship with God. I often look how she interacts with me and think of how I act to God.

    1. Wow Katia, Thank you so much for opening up..you are one of the realest sisters I have, you have always kept it real with me, I appreciate it. I hope your comment will enlighten someone, there’s power in relatability.

      Motherhood is alot, there were times I didn’t feel maternal also….I blamed it on the skin to skin gesture that didn’t happen but eventually I caught on, now Khanyi and I are inseparable.

  2. I feel some parts of your story sound very similar to what I have been through. Unemployment is real but hey. I also had a thing ka Bp. I was in hospital for so long because of Bp. The pain was so much and my legs were way too heavy from being swollen. Luckily for me, ke setsoetsoe with my baby so it has mostly been smooth sailing.

    1. Hello Turkish, Thank you for your comment…First things first, Congratulations on your bundle of joy,I am also happy that all has been smooth sailing, Please ask for help when you feel overwhelmed, fatigue has a tendency of opening a gate to depression. Keep Well 🌸

  3. I don’t think I had PND, but something was terribly wrong the first week. I would get up at night and just cry in the bathroom. My breasts were super swollen with no milk coming out and the pain was unbearable. Fortunately my mum in law was around but left after a week. I was left alone with my husband and we had to learn everything by ourselves. I went home when the baby was two weeks old. My mum would take him at night and that allowed me a few hours of sleep. She also got me an auntie to help.

    1. Hey Lerato, I am glad you went home before you got fatigued and overwhelmed, fatigue is always a window that let’s in the monsters that is PND, honestly i think alot of us can agree that the first weeks of motherhood is hard and combined with fatigue its a recipe for disaster. Thank you for reading the blog and I appreciate your feedback.

  4. This is beautifully articulated, you are definitely shedding some light and I hope someone out there going through PNS is strengthened to seek help.

  5. Wooaww grl…thank u so much for sharing this with us,it was a good read.I think most women go through this without even realising that its depression.Thank God u had ur mom and sister who were there for u and a supportive Husband as well..This is called through thick and thin.

    Indeed God has his own plans about our lives…we must trust them.The most important thing,we are happy ka the healthy baby😍💕

    1. Thank you so much for reading Fifilwe and leaving your amazing feedback, I wish fathers would get educated about PND as it contributes to breaking families 🌸

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