Note from Editor: It is common to hear about mental health issues such as post-natal depression and post-traumatic depression. Here, one of our new writers, Husna, presents a case for post-marital depression. She expresses her view that marriage leads to a drastic change in a woman’s life, which can negatively affect her physical and mental health, confidence, self-esteem and ability to raise her family in a healthy manner. This article highlights that the stressors for married women-loss of identity and independence, abuse by in-laws, pressure to fetch a ‘dowry’ and pressure to take up paid employment- are all against the rights of women in Islam and the religion’s God-given equity for both sexes. These problems are reflective of cultural practices which have become absorbed into many Muslim communities and need to change urgently.
Many women these days are suffering in silence because of emotional stress after getting married. The reasons for women’s suffering include: total change of lifestyle, different cultures, the behavior of the in-laws (like taunting, sarcasm, ridicule), being forced to work and earn for the in- laws. Besides this, women are mentally and physically tortured for bringing in less dowry. Another significant area of concern for women after marriage is an identity crisis. Many women who have been independent financially lose their identities and this is the most challenging of all. The stress all these things cause are extremely exhausting for women. If we want our children to grow up well, emotionally and physically, it is very important that the woman of the household gives her complete undivided attention to the family – her husband and her children (who, in Islam, are her main responsibility).
For this, we have to ensure that we give the women of the house a proper platform to nurture kids and help them develop in different aspects of life. As the saying goes, give a woman anything and she will multiply it; give her a home and she will make it heaven. So, it is very important to give a woman peace of mind, right from the time of marriage. It is a very big transition- leaving her family behind and changing her life completely.
Some women struggle to overcome depression while some spend their entire life in depression and low self- esteem. Very few of them try to seek help from anyone, because of the pressure from family and society. This is an alarming issue which is on the rise and needs to be dealt with at a societal level so that we can help our future generations to be brought up in a stress-free environment.
If a woman is depressed, it affects the entire family. If depression and stress are literally killing a woman, it gets very difficult for her to manage the home and familial responsibilities. If we want our children to blossom like flowers, we should cultivate a beautiful garden for them to grow in.
To avoid such issues to some extent, as parents we must ensure we select a suitable family for our daughters, where they do not have to face a drastic change in their life after marriage. They should be able to find themselves comfortable with their cultures and traditions. We should educate them about their rights and responsibilities according to Islam so they do not sacrifice their self esteem and respect. If they have problems, they should be openly able to seek counseling from a trusted family member or professionally.
Indeed Allah knows best and may He guide us all on the straight path and make us realize how important the well being of a woman is, for the entire family.