If you become a mother, that might be one of the happiest times of your life. Childbirth can take hours for some and days for others, but once it’s all over, you will hopefully have a living, breathing child you can hold in your arms. This infant will become part of your family, and they’ll represent hope for humanity’s future as well.
However, if you have a child and you’re battling depression, that can complicate things significantly. Doubtless, you want the infant to have a good life, and you’ll do all you can to provide for them. But what if your depression makes it hard enough for you to care for yourself, let alone a baby who requires near-constant attention?
In this article, we’ll talk about what it’s like for a mom to have a child when she’s grappling with depression and what she might be able to do about it.
What Depression is Like for Adults
The World Health Organization stated that nearly 300 million people can receive a depression diagnosis from a clinical standpoint. If you’re one of those individuals or know someone who is, you probably know the symptoms all too well.
People who struggle with depression frequently report being sad or listless for no immediate reason they can name. They might sleep for longer than usual, or they may have severe insomnia.
They might feel guilty, worthless, or have very little energy. They may have increased or decreased appetite. They also might think about negative subjects a lot. They may even regularly contemplate death or suicide.
In short, depression is a significant challenge for both the afflicted individual and often their families as well. A person with clinical depression might have a very tough time holding down a job. Their condition may prohibit them from cleaning their homes or taking care of the household in other ways.
What Depression is Like for Moms
As bad as all that sounds, you can imagine how much worse it is for a mother who has a young child for whom they must care. If she can hardly manage to get out of bed in the morning and pour herself a bowl of cereal, it is next to impossible for her to try and calm a crying child who won’t even sleep through the night yet.
It’s not that a mother who has a clinical depression diagnosis does not love her child or the rest of the family. It’s just that she has a chemical imbalance that prohibits her from facing motherhood with the same zeal that another person might.
Because of this, it’s always unfair to give pep talks to moms that doctors have given a depression diagnosis, as though they’re lazy or don’t understand the task that’s required of them. They comprehend it perfectly well, but they’re not able to “snap out of it,” as some uncomprehending family members might put it.
Depression isn’t something you can turn on and off, like a light switch. Since it’s a chemical issue, it’s one that chemical intervention can usually correct or at least modify.
How Can Moms with Depression Change Their Behavior?
If a woman has depression issues, she might not decide to ever seek treatment for it. That is her prerogative, though it might be challenging for her family to deal with that. Everyone must make their own decisions regarding whether they want to seek treatment though, whether that treatment is talk therapy, a pharmaceutic solution, or both.
The first thing a mother struggling with depression will probably want to do is talk to a professional therapist. She will often have the best luck if she talks to one who deals with post-partum depression and similar conditions.
Through those sessions, the mother might decide to go on medication that might improve her mood, so she can better care for her infant. When a person does not have any dependents and a doctor gives them a depression diagnosis, they have more freedom to do as they like. If a parent receives that diagnosis, and they have a child who’s depend on them, the parent must take that into account.
It Helps if You’re Coparenting
If you’re a mom and you’re facing a depression diagnosis on your own, that can be one of the toughest possible situations. You would hope that you’d at least be able to seek out some family members who can help you as you try to get to a better mental space. They might watch the child sometimes, for instance, while you go to counseling or pick up the prescription drugs you need to take.
If you’re coparenting, then the person with whom you are raising the child can be there both for you and the infant. You can explain to them what’s happening with you, and if they love you, they can support you unconditionally.
The bottom line is that depression is never easy, and it’s also nearly impossible to explain to someone what it’s like if they have not experienced it themselves. You can certainly try to put it into words, but no amount of articulation can explain how much you have to work at it to get through what most people regard as a regular day.
Moms deal with depression all the time, but clinical evidence suggests there’s more of that happening in the world right now than probably ever before. The pandemic certainly has something to do with it, as many individuals and families have had to isolate themselves for months and have not been able to see their relatives and friends.
Things are not as bad now that vaccines have arrived, but a mental health crisis continues, both involving parents and those without children. If you’re a mom and you’re struggling to care for your child in the best possible way, you should take the first step, which is contacting a mental health professional. Do it for yourself, but also your child or children.
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