He could make that comment. Fatherhood had not made him fatter or deprived him of a social life.
Did I need professional help, I wondered. I Googled “signs of post-natal depression”, but I did not fit the bill.
Although that was mildly comforting, I knew I had to find my way out of the fog.
My perspectives had to change. If I wanted to be a happy mother, I had to help myself.
Whenever a defeatist thought reared its ugly head, I prayed for cheer and positivity and re-focused my mind on counting my blessings.
I stopped trying to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothing. I bought myself new clothes and delighted in the purchases.
I stopped trying to be vulnerable around fellow mothers who were keen only to show how self-possessed they were and how well they had mastered motherhood. Confiding my struggles in “super mummies” had served only to decrease my self-worth.
I stopped trying to share my burdens with friends who were non-mothers because they could not truly empathise.
Most importantly, I stopped trying to wish my old life back and started to celebrate the life of my fast-developing baby.
She gazes in wonderment at everything and wakes up eager to begin the day, for the world is new and exciting to her.
Surely I, too, must embrace the new normal of my life with that same kind of attitude.
My journey into motherhood has only begun and there will be many more new experiences and challenges to come.
In September, my heart swelled with pride as I celebrated my daughter’s first birthday.
We’ve come so far, I told my husband the day she graduated from babyhood to toddlerhood.
He knows all too well what a roller-coaster ride the past year has been.
In just 12 months, I have had my self-image and self-identity severely tested, before self-recovery and renewal took place.
As I look back, I am quietly proud to see that from my old life has arisen a stronger, more resilient me.
Happy birthday, my new life.
A version of this story first appeared in The Straits Times.