‘Postnatal depression took its toll, but I didn’t want moms like me to go unheard’

Born and raised in Delhi, it was a huge transition for me to move to Vadodara all my life after marriage. I moved to the new city with my husband in 2007 and I didn’t know many people in the city then. So it was the repeated cycle until five years, after which we were blessed with a daughter. I gave birth to my daughter, but wasn’t ready for what came next.

Postpartum depression, a form of depression many parents experience after having a baby, hit her hard. It is a problem that is quite common among parents, but not much talked about. With households keeping depression as a topic within the four walls, many parents tend to deal with it for months and years instead of seeking medical help. When Priyanka stepped into the shoes of a new mother, she too was left in the dark when postpartum depression hit her.

Depression and parenting

Shortly after my daughter was born, I took maternity leave and took on the responsibility of taking care of her. However, after a while I left my job and my whole schedule was messed up. Because I didn’t know many people around Vadodara and the language was a barrier, I interacted with people very occasionally. I got caught up in my duties as a mother, and as much as it was a precious moment, I occasionally felt a pang of sadness. Until then, I had no idea what I was feeling was called “postpartum depression,” and I let it pass.

Gradually, I started gaining weight, socializing less, and sleeping less, which started to affect my physical health. Then I started reading and understanding about postpartum depression. Then I decided to do something about the phase I was going through. Since depression is a subject that is hushed up in many households, and I didn’t know any mothers in the Vadodara area to talk to about it, I’ve been dealing with it largely on my own. All along I knew the journey would have been easier if there was a fellow mom I could talk to about it.

When my daughter started preschool, I went out and did short runs. I also started talking to more people, and within about a year I saw myself changing for the better. I was able to overcome depression and I wanted to make sure many more moms like me could do the same.

Mothers under the same roof

No one understands depression better than the person going through it. So when I decided to make a change, I created a community for the moms out there. The intent was clear and simple: a safe space for women to talk openly and discuss the issues they face. In 2018 I started a Facebook group called “Moms Of Vadodara” with about 10 to 15 friends as members. Gradually, the pace started to pick up and soon grew into a family of 5,000 active members.

We talked, found solutions and, most importantly, lifted each other up under the roof of Moms Of Vadodara. People tend to focus on regular health checkups and physical health, but forget to consider their mental health. They tend to put it aside as an essential part of being in the business world or taking care of the family. This is not entirely true, and I passed this message on to them through Moms of Vadodara. Over time, we’ve helped moms prioritize their mental health, grow their small-scale businesses, and discover the idea of ​​”Me Time.”

Today I am a successful entrepreneur who urges people to take their fitness goals seriously through adventurous activities and a parenting mother. My daughter is now eleven years old and accompanies me to most of the events we hold under Moms Of Vadodara. She is an exact copy of me and I am proud that I was able to set a good example for her.

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‘Postnatal depression took its toll, but I didn’t want moms like me to go unheard’

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