Timeless topic: Mothers and depression; the two become almost synonymous. There are many reasons a mother may suffer depression: isolation, lack of sleep, loss of identity, finances, weight gain, relationship problems, abuse, unemployment, the list goes on and on. According to Dr. Amrish Singal, in an article entitled Women and Depression,"Clinical depression affects your physical well-being, resulting in chronic fatigue, sleep problems, and changes in appetite." So sometimes what we feel might be causing our depression, might actually be a symptom of pre-existing clinical depression. It's paradoxical, and a seemingly no-win situation. There are so many aspects of parenting that can lead to depression in mothers, it has literally filled books. Interestingly, it is all many women have ever aspired to be: A mother.
There is magic in motherhood. Mothers have the ability to create a living being, cure bo-bos with a kiss, battle imaginary monsters, see through walls, sprout eyeballs in the back of their head...instill hope, again, the list goes on. But somehow we suffer in silence, regardless of the fact that society tells us we should be happy, enjoy the small moments, and take pride in what we do. Yes, society tells us this; but what society tells us is counter to the unconscious messages it sends. The workplace isn't, for the most part, supportive of motherhood --exceptions do apply. And how many stay-at-home moms have ever heard, "All you do is stay home"? It's a tough role to fill, with near to impossible requirements to be considered successful.
We've addressed reasons, but let us address the importance of seeking help:
- According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, "Children of mothers who suffer from depression are more likely to have higher rates of hospitalization..."
- Higher rates of abuse are reported in homes where the mother suffers depression.
- Depressed children are less likely to thrive academically, or otherwise.
- Depressed mothers are at higher risk for high-blood pressure and obesity, and all the preventable diseases that result from the two.
That said, depression does not mean you are a bad mother; it means you need help. The first step is to face your truths. The second step is to seek help resolving them.