Experience shared by: Rehab Loay
During my first birth, I experienced many precious details that were left unrecorded as I gave my full attention to my little boy. Because all the care, attention, and help were just for him, I was an easy prey to postpartum depression.
Feeling worthless, I quickly returned to work just three months after my child’s birth. During my second pregnancy, I didn’t want to relive this experience and decided to use my low-resolution camera combined with my determination to overcome it and win the battle against postpartum depression.
The first step
At El Gabry hospital, I met my baby for the first time. While I was happy, I began to feel anxious and worry about my work as well as my children.
Finding out the baby’s gender
Three months later, I found out I was having a beautiful baby girl. I was excited and felt so positive that I decided to begin learning English as a second language. I took the placement test and started at level four. I started studying in parallel to my work without thinking about what would happen after I gave birth.
Last day at work
Deciding to quit work is never easy; I knew this day would come. I found myself taking a selfie as I stood there on my last day of work fearing the unknown future.
Preparing for my daughter’s delivery
A few days before giving birth, I was so anxious that I decided to relieve the stress by arranging my little girl’s items. While it took me hours to get it done and ended up with swollen feet and pain, I decided to reward myself by recording the achievement regardless of the low resolution and the poor lighting.
Packing my hospital bag
Next, it was time to choose specific items and carefully place them in my hospital bag as I prepared for delivery. This helped me pick up my emotions at the same time.
Having a C-section for the second time
I had a C-section for the second time and was conscious during the delivery of my baby girl. While the doctors and nurses were working on my body, I couldn’t feel anything except fear, weakness, and anxiety. The moment I laid eyes on her, I realized that this little human was someone weaker than myself, crying and trembling with fear.
As soon as I touched her, she instantly calmed down. This made all the fear go away as I felt so powerful and special, just like I could do magical things with a simple touch.
The first time I walked post-delivery
As the anesthesia started to wear off, the pain of the wound was unbearable. However, I still had to stand up and take a walk. To distract myself, I used my mobile camera to document the cannula that matched my outfit. This cheered me up.
After a long night, my husband fell asleep, my closest friend went back home, and I was left alone with my little girl, having to breastfeed her, calm her down, and carry her. It was a special moment of power, accomplishment, and bonding.
The first smile
Finally, we went home, I was happy to record my little girl’s first smile during the first 24 hours of her life. While everyone slept, I was wide awake lost in my thoughts. I found myself kissing her, touching her soft skin. This helped breathe life into me again.
My daughter gave me hope
During the surgery, I lost a lot of blood and was left quite pale. However, seeing my hand next to my daughter’s was a reminder that everything will be ok.
Doing the baby’s laundry
Doing the laundry, cooking, and caring for my baby was a routine I fell into, but that didn’t stop me from recording the first time her clothes were touched by the sunlight.
My baby’s first outing
Two weeks later, I insisted that it was time to leave the house and started visiting family members. While it was difficult since I didn’t have a car, I still managed to get it done.
Making Eid cookies
It was almost Eid, so I decided to bake kahk with my son. Baking gave me such an empowering feeling and made me feel like I CAN do anything.
My baby’s first Eid
On the first day of Eid, I woke up before everyone and decided to have a special moment with my little girl. I had my breakfast while thinking about our next steps.
Taking my baby to class
I took the initiative and decided not to let my baby stop me from achieving my goals. Taking my baby with me, I went to English Capsules and asked them if I could attend classes with my baby. To my surprise and enthusiasm, they said YES!
Studying with my baby
Instead of using the hot weather as an excuse to prevent me from going to class, I was determined to focus on achieving my goals and being productive. I knew that giving in would mean that postpartum depression would catch up with me.
Fighting postpartum depression with education
Sitting in class as I carried my baby, I realized that learning was the best way to get over postpartum depression. It not only made me feel better, but it made me feel that life had good things in store for me, even if I did have to change a few diapers.
On our way to my final exam
After studying really hard, I took a selfie with my baby girl as we headed to the final test.
Finally, I made it! This day was the first day of my salvation.
It’s time to celebrate!
I decided to celebrate and so, I put some makeup on and took my kids to an amusement park all by myself.
Selfie at the amusement park
As my boy enjoyed his day and played around us, I noticed how much my baby looks like me and felt that I wasn’t alone anymore. It was like holding a friend in my arms.
Back to studying
I went back to studying, but this time I attended a one-month workshop on social data management and visualization.
Winning a contest with my baby
After I gave birth, I stumbled across an essay contest on the play titled “No Exit” by the French philosopher and novelist Jean-Paul Sartre, held by Bibliotheca Alexandrina. I participated by submitting an essay and completely forgot about it until I received a call in September telling me that I had won third prize! I couldn’t believe it! I was so happy and excited that I traveled to Alexandria alone with my baby.
The security at the library gate told me I was allowed entry with my baby, but I insisted that she accompanies me as she was the reason for my success.
Realizing my baby was my motivation
I went back to Cairo feeling victorious and resumed my workshop. In this photo, I realized that my girl is a motive, not an obstacle, and something to be grateful for.
I did it!
I graduated from the workshop where I learned new skills in data collection, coding, as well as using MS office, building metadata, descriptive, statistic and simple graphs.