Saturday, July 20, 2024

How To Be A Good Mom When Depressed

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Everyone Is Not Judging You

15 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Depressed as a Parent with The Parenting Junkie

When youre feeling down its easy to imagine others are judging you for your failures. The fact is, they are not . When we feel insecure we believe others see our every flaw.

They do not.

Half the time people dont know your faults until you spill them out because you assume its already obvious.

So what if youre an angry mom sometimes with weird triggers? So what if you arent as calm as youd like to be and you cant get a grip on your emotions all the time? You arent the only one whose emotionally exhausted, and besides like I said there is hope for you.

Check Your Standards: Are They Unrealistic

The world convinces us great moms have it together all the time and that kids never misbehave. Houses are always clean and kids eat all their vegetables at a loving, calm family dinner. The truth is, none of that is realistic. This can be a great place to check in with others such as other moms, older parents, and your partner about your standards and realize what really matters. It is okay if your baseboards have dust on them or your child refuses to eat green vegetables, that is a part of life. Once you check in with these people, you may be able to give yourself more grace and love in the journey of being a good mom while you are depressed. You may realize places youve held yourself to a strict standard or strategies to decrease some of your burdens. Or you may get a laugh and realize–other moms struggle too and thats okay.

Our Guilt Is Off The Charts

I feel guilty for everything I’ve ever done, for the things I’m doing now, and things I’ll do in the future. I feel guilty for not being the best mom or, honestly, the best anything. In talking with someone, I might pass it off as less than it is, but rest assured, a high-functioning depressant is consumed by guilt, regardless of whether or not it’s within our control.

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We Turn Down Invitations

I’m good with running necessary errands, working, and doing things required of me. Once I receive an outside invitation, though, like for a birthday or event, my depression volunteers my decision to stay home. I put all my energy into being a functioning part of society through every day that, if I have to be completely honestly, anything more requires more than I can give.

What Is The Therapy For Child Depression

How To Be A Good Mom When Depressed

The therapy for child depression is cognitive behavioral therapy . Therapists help kids feel welcome and supported. They have kids talk about what they think and feel. They may use stories, play, lessons, or workbooks. These tools can help children feel at ease and get the most from CBT. When possible, a child’s therapy includes their parent.

If a child has gone through a loss, trauma, or other difficult events, the therapy will include things that help a child heal from that, too. And if a parent is dealing with their own loss or depression, the child’s therapist can help them get the care and support they need.

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Section 4 Of : Keeping On Top Of Mom Duties

  • 1Create a list of mom-stuff so you dont lose track. Often, depression can make us unable to meet our commitments. For example, children with depressed parents are often late for or miss school. Having a weekly list made in advance will help keep you on task.XResearch source
  • When making your list, start by writing down any regular responsibilities you have, like doing laundry and making dinner. Then, add any special commitments you have, like going to your childs sports event. As you finish each task, cross it off, and enjoy your feeling of well-earned accomplishment.
  • Dont be afraid to delegate tasks if you dont feel up to doing them. Reaching out to a partner, family member, friend, or even acquaintance, can help you manage your responsibilities when they come up.
  • 2Join a moms group or reach out to nearby family and friends. It takes a village, especially when youre depressed. The goal here is to find people who you and your children trust, so that you can share some of the load when it comes to raising your kids.XResearch source
  • Loved ones who live far away can also be an important part of your support system. Keep in touch with friends and family, especially ones who are parents themselves, and can relate to your struggles.
  • Be sure that you balance their caring responsibilities with free time, and schedule time each week where your children can do nothing. This will keep them from feeling resentful over having too many grown-up responsibilities.
  • You Might Feel Like A Depressed Mom If You Always Feel Overwhelmed By Life

    One of the quickest ways to get down in the doldrums is to be stressed and overwhelmed.

    We all get that way at times.

    The key is to realize when it has gone from being a Season Of Overwhelm to being a Life Of Overwhelm with no end to the stress in sight.

    Not only will this result in your body chemistry being off and your Fight Or Flight being on, it can eventually turn into something chronic.

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    It Doesnt Have To Be This Way Forever

    There is hope. Being depressed doesnt have to last forever, and there can be good periods in depression. You can be a good mom while you are depressed and you can teach your child how to have a healthy, happy life. If you also have anxiety and are wondering if you can pass it on to your kids,

    Imagine six months from now when you have more energy, both you and your child know coping skills to help in hard moments, and the hard days dont feel as hard. In therapy we can guide you toward your goals of being a good mom while you are depressed and work through that depression.

    If you are struggling from depression and finding it hard to parent in the way you want to, Mary Willoughby Romm is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia who provides online therapy for Willow Tree Healing Center. She enjoys transforming the lives of women, college students, kids, tweens/teens, and families through providing communication strategies, coping skills that work, allowing a safe space to be heard, and actively working towards helping you with your challenges. She is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, counsels substance abuse in teens and adults, and practices Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy.

    Please sendan email to to explore working together.

    How Can I Tell If My Child Is Depressed

    Depression & Self Care As A Mom

    If a child is depressed, parents may notice some of these signs:

    • Sad or bad mood. A child may seem sad, lonely, unhappy, or grouchy. It can last weeks or months. A child may cry more easily. They may have more tantrums than before.
    • Being self-critical. Kids going through depression may complain a lot. They may say self-critical things like, “I can’t do anything right.” “I don’t have any friends.” “I can’t do this.” “It’s too hard for me.”
    • Lack of energy and effort. Depression can drain a child’s energy. They might put less effort into school than before. Even doing little tasks can feel like too much effort. Kids may seem tired, give up easily, or not try.
    • Not enjoying things. Kids don’t have as much fun with friends or enjoy playing like before. They may not feel like doing things they used to enjoy.
    • Sleep and eating changes. Kids may not sleep well or seem tired even if they get enough sleep. Some may not feel like eating. Others may overeat.
    • Aches and pains. Some children may have stomach aches or other pains. Some miss school days because of not feeling well, even though they aren’t sick.

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    What Are The Signs Of Depression

    Depression can come on slowly. The symptoms are different for everyone. They can be mild, moderate or severe. Some of the more common signs are:

    • changes in appetite, like eating too much or having little interest in food,
    • changes in sleep, such as trouble sleeping or sleeping too much,
    • lack of energy,
    • feeling sad, hopeless or worthless,
    • crying for no reason, and
    • loss of interest or pleasure in activities you normally enjoy.

    New moms with depression may have trouble caring for their baby. They might not want to spend time with their baby, which can lead to a baby who cries a lot.

    The Best And Worst Parts Of Being A Mom With A Mental Illness

    Even the bad days are ones that we can learn from.

    National Institute of Mental Health , 1 in 5 adults has a mental health condition. That makes me 1 of over 46 million.

    I have anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder and have for many years. And while the former makes me nervous and fearful when I am anxious, my heart pounds, my legs shake, and my mind and thoughts begin to race the latter makes me full of confidence and energy or void of feeling. Bipolar II is characterized by hypomanic highs and crippling lows, and this affects my parenting.

    Some days I am present and fun. I dance in the kitchen with my daughter and sing in the bathroom while bathing my son. But other days the exhaustion is so great I cannot move. I struggle to get out of bed. I am also very irritable. I snap without cause or reason, and this makes me inconsistent at best.

    I have held my children and hurt them. Ive fulfilled their dreams and caused them to be disappointed.

    But its not all bad. In some ways, I am thankful for my mental illness because bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder has made me a better wife, friend, and mom.

    Heres how my mental illness has affected me and my children.

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    The Effects Of Parental Depression On Children

    In my own practice as a therapist who works with children and families, I find when parents struggle with depression, parenting gets harder for them. Studies agree. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded, Parental depression is among the most consistent and well-replicated risk factors for childhood anxiety and disruptive behavior disorders and for major depressive disorder.

    Not only do children with depressed parents likely have an increased genetic risk for mental illness themselves, but the parents depressive symptoms create additional environmental stress for the child.

    For example, if you struggle with depression, you know how hard it can be to maintain your performance at work, your duties at home, and your relationships with friends and family. If depression causes additional stressors such as marital problems or job loss, children also suffer.

    When children grow up in stressful or uncertain environments, they can develop their own behavioral or emotional problems. Defiance, anxiety, or depression are common outcomes. In fact, the majority of children I see in my practice experience family stressors. We must first address issues with their parents before we can expect the childs behavior to improve.

    Depression Looks Different In Women Than It Does In Men

    How To Be A Good Mom When Depressed

    The symptoms of depression are fairly well known. For example, those with depression typically experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, or apathy.

    Loss of interest in normal activities is also common, as are agitation and sleep disturbances. Those with depression typically sleep too much or not at all.

    However, some symptoms of depression affect women more than men.

    Women and men feel depression differently, Dr. Richelle Whittaker an educational psychologist specializing in maternal mental health tells Healthline.

    Women generally experience a lack of motivation, a decreased interest in preferred activities, a change in sleeping or eating patterns, and/or feel an overall sense of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness. Difficulty concentrating is also common and thoughts of suicide may occur.

    Whittaker continues, Men, however, are more likely to display symptoms of anger or aggression. They also tend to engage in high risk behaviors, such as drinking and driving or increase in alcohol intake.

    If you are experiencing depression, know this: You are not bad. You are not crazy, and you are not alone. There is hope depression can be treated.

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    I Didnt Think It Could Be Ppd Because I Didnt Have It With My First Two Kids

    About two days after the birth of my third son, I knew something was wrong. It felt like a heavy weighted blanket. I was crying all the time. I would watch my baby sleep, and I was so overwhelmed with love for him but felt so sad. Sad for all of the pain he would endure throughout his life, sad because I couldnt protect him, sad because I felt crazy and that he had a crazy mom. I was worried that he wouldnt like me.

    At first, I didnt think it could be PPD, because I didnt have it with my first two kids 12 and eight years prior. I hid it from my partner well, being home alone all day. But he began growing concerned when I would have a panic attack whenever he touched me. I couldnt even sleep in the same bed with him. About two days later within a week of giving birth I asked him to call my midwife because I wouldnt be able to talk on the phone without crying. She put me on an antidepressant, which helped within days. I continued taking the medication for several years.

    I want other moms to know that PPD is real, and you are not crazy. Just because someone doesnt understand what youre going through doesnt mean that it doesnt hurt. Communicate with your health care provider sooner than later there is hope.

    Jennifer Snyder, professional organizer, Waco, TX

    Section 3 Of : How Parental Depression Affects Kids

  • 1Be aware of some of the risks that come from having a depressed parent. Parental depression shapes a childs experience of the world. Studies have shown that depressed mothers tend to be less emotionally responsive to their children, which can change how children act with others. Depression can also cause parents to isolate their families, and limit their childs interactions with the world.XResearch source
  • Dont let this information discourage you. Suffering from depression doesnt make you a bad mother. But being aware of some of the issues that can come up while parenting with depression can help you take steps to counterbalance them.
  • 2Be transparent about what you’re going through if your child is older. You dont have to appear invincible to be a good mom. Depending on the age and maturity of your child, it may be time to talk to them about what youre going through. If your child is older, they may already be familiar with what depression is, and can be another source of support for you.XResearch source
  • Children are perceptive: they can tell when something is emotionally off-balance. By addressing your depression head-on with your child, you can teach them to trust their instincts, and help them make sense of something they probably already know.XResearch source
  • Providing opportunities for self-reliance: let your child deal with conflicts at school or in other parts of their lives without your assistance. Step in only when there is a danger to their safety.
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    Its Ok That You Feel This Way There Is Hope

    There is often a sense of shame or embarrassment on the part of the depressed person. Many people with depression sometimes feel that there is something wrong with them, or that they have no real reason to feel depressed. On the other hand, there are those who may feel there are good reasons to be depressed.

    Let Mom or Dad know that its OK for them to feel the way that theyre feeling, and that its not their fault. Depression is a legitimate health condition that affects millions of people, and countless individuals have learned to manage mental illness with the help of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes your mom or dad can, too. Make sure that they know help is available and its nothing to be ashamed about.

    Disrupted Attachment And Bonding

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    When parents struggle with the low energy, lack of joy, and the social withdrawal depression causes, they cant engage fully with their children. They may even have trouble mustering energy to take care of a childs basic needs, so children learn to rely on themselves when parents are too hard to reach.

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    Have Honest And Open Dialogue

    Addressing whats happening head-on with children may ease some of the guilt that seems to go hand-in-hand with parenting with depressionsometimes because you may not feel adequate, sometimes because its obvious your child is trying to take on the role of caretaker.

    Even at a young age, children often attempt to make things better for a parent whos hurting. Anne of Toronto sees that with her preschooler.

    Theres for sure a little bit of guilt that comes with him wanting to make me feel good, she admits. His response is to want to think up ways to help me feel better, which is really sweet. I tell him, You shouldnt be parenting me.

    I dont want him to feel like he has to take care of me, or that my emotions come first. But he does seem to have a keenly developed sense of empathy, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Were in an age where were trying to teach kids, especially little boys, that its okay to be upset sometimes and work through your emotions, hopefully in a positive way. Its not the end of the world for kids to see their parents feeling sad and crying.

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