Is it any wonder that depression and parenting go hand in hand? With the pressures inflicted upon mothers in today’s society, we feel under eternal judgement and are often struggling to juggle the many tasks that lay at our feet.
It can be tough for friends and family to understand why your depressed, you have it all right? You have beautiful and happy children, what have you got to complain about?
Depression is an illness; it causes you to behave and think in an entirely different way to how you normally would. As a depressed parent, you find yourself saying and doing things that are confusing and upsetting to your children. My kids know when I am depressed as is then I do not want to go out or do fun things with them.
Some days just getting out of bed zaps all my energy, I can not face going to the park. I become more frustrated with everyday tasks and angry at the sheer responsibility I have.
The kids seem to be more demanding at these times and depression drains me physically and emotionally, and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and crawl. The paranoia and self-loathing take over my life and negative thoughts invade my mind.
Being a parent is challenging, being a parent with a mental illness is even more difficult. When you are juggling parenting with mental illness, it can become overwhelming. Trying to meet the needs of a demanding child while ensuring your taking care of your health is difficult.
Good child therapists know that often when a child is in trouble, parents are depressed. Though the parents often feel that the child’s behavior is the source of their distress, in fact often the child is reacting to the parent’s depression. – psychcentral
Why depression and parenting go hand in hand:
Far too often we are placed under scrutiny, under the microscope from other mums, watching our every move. We are so wrapped up in how other judge us that we try to live and behave in a certain way. The pretence that everything is fine is draining. We are afraid to ask for help because we fear judgement, yet we are the ones who judge ourselves most.
Lack Of Support
I am a single mother to 6 children, and while I am very lucky to have a great support system around me, I receive help and always have someone on hand to babysit the kids, sometimes I feel lonely and afraid. The sheer responsibility I feel is overwhelming. It can at times seem all too much to cope with as a single mother.
Finances play a huge part when raising children; kids are expensive. There is no denying the fact that every mother wants the best for their child and when your finances do not stretch for that new computer game that all your child’s friends have, or you can’t have a summer holiday, you feel you’re a failure.
With bills to pay and the shoes on your child’s feet needing to be replaced, we often rob Peter to pay Paul and find ourselves in a downhill spiral.
What Mums Say About Depression And Parenting
Because we bottle everything up and try to do what’s best for our children, which unfortunately isn’t what is best for us. We carry the world on our shoulders and won’t ask for help.
The not knowing, I know my situation is different but the uncertainty of my daughters future, the flashbacks to the past. People telling me it’s going to be OK when in reality they don’t know that. Having to live daily seeing my daughter in pain and suffering. The fact my son suffers because I can’t do all the things he wants to do because of his sisters illness.
A change in hormones. A struggle in everyday life when friends are working and going out and your not. It’s scary being a mum as your expected to know everything. Having less income so you have a financial struggle. We try to carry on as normal and not ask for help because then we feel judged.
Guilt! whatever we do regarding work/stay at home, breastfeeding/formula, co-sleeping or not etc, we always get judged and always feel like whatever we do it’s not right or not good enough, both from other people and ourselves.
Men tend to have the 2 weeks paternity leave then once they go back to work a woman tends to only have communication with their children. We are usually tired from being up with night feeds and it’s pretty lonely until you’ve established a routine.
For me, it’s the fact that I have been given these 2 amazing children to protect with my life. Yet one day they are going to be without me. I’m going to spend my whole life protecting them and nurturing them for it to all be taken away one day.
Because we worry about what we are doing for our kids, we go to bed worrying, wake up worrying, all day worrying. It is a never ending battle and yet we feel NOBODY else struggles the way we do, NOBODY ever faces the battles we do, NOBODY else has the fears we do.We worry every single day and yet paint on that smile and carry on. We cry behind closed doors, pace the room in the early hours, worrying where the next bill will come from? Whats for dinner? Where will the next pair of school shoes come from and how they will be paid for? What mood will the kids come home in?Will my child be bullied today? Will my child speak to a peadophile today? Will somebody kill me and leave my child alone with no mum? Will I EVER succeed as a mother?
Because we have this misconception often brought about from things we see in the media of being the ‘perfect’ mum. We put too much pressure on ourselves to make everything perfect and if we feel it isn’t, we doubt ourselves. That coupled with our own hormones and wanting nothing but the best for our children, plus the pressures of everyday life like paying the bills, shopping etc, its a hell of a lot.
Because we have to do it all. No one says so. But who else will do what we didn’t do if we don’t do it all? And if we don’t manage it, it feels like we’re being judged even if the only one judging is ourselves. We are our harshest judges.
I don’t think all mothers are prone to depression. Many studies have found that stay-at-home mothers are prone to be more depressed, angry, and sad. That been said, motherhood as a whole is what I call “stressful pleasure “. You love being a mother because you get to care for and tend to the need of the most important little people in your life.In doing that however, we forget about ourselves, our needs, our limits, our boundaries, and how well-being. Somewhere along the line we have resolved that the only important aspect of motherhood is the child(ren). What about us? Depression is a severe mental health issue that will eventually limits our ability to take care of our children.We stress ourselves out to the stupor leading to a depressive state that only gets worse because now we are incapable of being an effective mother. This is a vicious cycle that all mom, stay-at-home or otherwise, must be mindful of. Women are the backbone of the society and we should never feel bad to take a moment for ourselves.
We don’t know its happening to us, it just feels as if your having an off day and all will be better tomorrow but that day never feels like it comes. You feel run down, tired, not interested in anything that’s going on around you, you feel like a failure.Like your always doing something wrong, you tell yourself it’s temporary but it gets worse. You don’t speak to anyone as you feel embarrassed, depression makes you feel less of a person. But you want to share how your feeling, just wanting that weight to be lifted, to feel like you can finally breathe and be yourself again.
Having majority of the work load to do as being the main care giver wether you are in a relationship or not. Cooking, cleaning, playing, getting the kids to school or appointments, the shopping, having to be referee, trying to divide time between all the kids especially if they both or all need your attention, it can be difficult and a very stressful at times.
It’s one of the loneliest and confusing jobs I’ve ever had, ironically being surrounded by little people that love me and want me 24/7. Even though I’ve loads of mummy friends, I’ve only a handful of real friends that know “Hannah” not just Jack and Emma’s mum.
Not being able to be yourself for most of the day and having to be a mum is very hard. For me anyway. I love my children don’t get me wrong, but I feel suffocated too. I struggle with the guilt of going back to work. Although my hours don’t even affect the children. It’s a fight to be the working mum, wife and housemaid and then find time for me.So many people tell me how important it is not to forget myself. I struggle every day battling my depression, but I know once I’m in bed, and my head hits the pillow, it’s so worth it.
Painting on a smile for the sanity of our relationships with others and to make sure the kids don’t click on that inside you just want to scream and shout. Trying to balance working 50 plus hours a week and still trying to be mum. Doing the school run making and sure they have everything.
I think a lot has to do with sudden isolation, going from doing what ever you wanted, with whoever you wanted, friends drift apart.