India, 1st April 2023: Pregnancy and giving birth are life-changing experiences. As a society, we have romanticized them and in doing so, lessened their gravity.
coto, a global social community and a #WomenForWomen platform, recently conducted a webinar on postpartum depression to bring to the fore the pressure women undergo post- pregnancy. With an ensemble panel of experts, the discussion put the spotlight on the emotional and mental state of our super moms after giving birth. One of the highlights of the session was when Ila Arun, who is known for her mesmerizing voice, spoke about her play ‘Baby’s Blues’. Directed by Ila herself, it takes us on both realistic and surrealistic portrayals of postpartum depression.
While postpartum depression is rarely talked about, it affects approximately 1 in 9 women after pregnancy. During the session on the coto platform, Ila Arun and popular actors Shweta Kawatra, Shilpa Mehta, and Anjula Bedi raised some crucial questions about postpartum depression and offered their personal experiences to help manage the condition with grace.
During the webinar, Shweta Kawatra talked about her own struggle with postpartum depression and how she overcame it. Ila Arun’s daughter, Ishitta Arun, who runs a community on coto called ‘Why So Serious?’ emphasized how the right direction and support from our family always helps. The session brought light to the fact that 22% women in India suffer from postpartum depression whereas 60% of working women are more susceptible to going through the same.
Sharing her thoughts on postpartum depression Ila Arun said, “As dark as our play is, there is a human angle and humor too in Baby Blues. This play is an eye-opener for everyone. The topic is of utter importance that we are talking about the same on this forum today. I like what coto stands for and how it has provided a platform for women to talk about anything freely be it their achievements, shortcomings, wishes, etc. There used to be a saying ‘Women are women’s worst enemies.’ This saying is taking a backseat in today’s time.”
She further added, “It is not just the wife who goes through the depression, it is the husband also who goes through the changes with her.”
Shweta Kawatra said, “When I saw Baby’s Blues, I was able to see myself from the outside. All the emotions of confusion, suffocation, that the main character and her husband in the play go through are relatable. The play showcases a New York based nuclear family. We are also a nuclear family. It’s very difficult to find help and trust someone. I wanted to kill myself. I felt stripped off who I was. I had been a working woman all my life and now I could not see hope. At the same time, I wanted to take care of my baby. It took me at least one year to realize that I could be suffering from postpartum depression. There was never any talk about that topic in my time.” Here is the glimpse of what she shared link.
Shilpa Mehta said, “Even though I am unmarried, I relate to, and understand postpartum depression, just like a woman, who even though doesn’t have her own child, but understands motherhood when she adopts a baby. Postpartum depression is such a deep thing that happens to everyone. For some women, it’s very heightened and for others, it’s very normal and natural because families are there for your support. In the western world, it becomes a little difficult since the concept of nuclear families is more prevalent.” Here is the glimpse of what she shared link
Ishitta Arun said, “When you become a mother, there are different degrees of suffering. There are various degrees and kinds of classifications within depression and postpartum depression. I never got diagnosed, but clinically I had all the symptoms of postpartum depression. I am a Buddhist practitioner, and I didn’t have time for therapy. I had the tools at my beck and call that I could access. Which was a very strong life philosophy that steered me in the right direction. Every mom has a journey and it’s difficult to articulate what is transpiring in one’s mind.” Here is the glimpse of what she shared link
Anjula Bedi said, “I felt the same things as were shown in the play. You feel like you are tied down. In my time, nobody knew about it. One of the things about postpartum is you are handed something without knowing anything about it. Every woman goes through this change of life which is mental as well as hormonal.”
Actor Mia Maelzer who is also a part of the play Baby Blues said, “I have grown as a woman through this play. I am more of a friend to my mother today than I was before the play. It has also helped me understand myself and my own anxiety when I played a mother on screen. Motherhood is very important.”