In this counseling answer:
• You will need it to make the kind of change that you need in your life.
• Your husband and the rest of the family can help a bit more towards a more sustainable family system that is beneficial for all.
As-Salamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,
It is not surprising that after having a baby as well as breastfeeding, pumping breast milk and hours of feeding, being up all night, not being able to care for your needs (taking a shower, exercising, etc), not losing weight, and returning to work, you would suffer from postpartum depression.
Somehow, somewhere, some women and men, seem to have it imprinted in their brains that women can do everything without fuel (love, compassion, rest, relaxation, food, leisure, support). Your depression is a natural response to what was expected of you by you, and your husband – but it is not natural, believe me! To a boy growing up, it might seem that mother never slept and did everything for everybody 24/7, but that has never been a sustainable reality.
In the country in which you live:
Two recent studies reveal that majority of American women are finding the holy grail of happiness more elusive. Researchers were startled to find that women now report less happiness than in the early 1970’s.
- are spending less time on paid work and relaxing more
- spend less time on activities they regard as stressful or unpleasant than 10 years ago
- do little more housework
- spend the same number of hours working at a workplace as well as at home as in the past
- Working aged women spend more time on paid work, caring for adults, watching T.V. than cooking, ironing, dusting, entertaining, and reading than in the 1960’s
- Cooking and cleaning are hired out (Americans spend $26bn more on restaurants than groceries).
What helps to make you feel more helpless about it all is self-worth. You have measured yourself against something that has no value, and so you feel disempowered to change anything because you have assumed that it had value in the first place. How many times have I come across a mother raising young children in a western country, feel burdened and depressed because mothering was easier when they were back in Iran, Pakistan, India, Caribbean etc., because mothering was not a lonely task.
As much as we complain about extended families, once upon a time, we were more tolerant in general. From the mother’s point of view, when mothering is a shared responsibility amongst family and community members, the child is happier. They have more reference points, more playmates; they can always get the kind of attention that they need because they are not totally dependent on mother 24/7. From the mother’s point of view, simply, she has more time be herself, mother, wife, daughter, sibling etc.
How is the balance on your scale of self-worth now sister, because you will need it to make the kind of change that you need in your life. Al hamdu Lillah, your husband is helping a little, now he and the rest of the family can help a bit more towards a more sustainable family system that is beneficial for all! Don’t panic sister, maybe, just maybe, your husband has been valuing you less because you value yourself less. In other words, I am more than sure, that your husband will wake up a little bit once you stop treating yourself as a product with a sell by date!
May Allah help you,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.