What Single Moms Should Know About Depression
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What single moms should know about depression is that 10 to 20 percent of moms will experience postpartum depression which can interfere with daily life. Due to the lack financial help, proper social and emotional connections, depression can worsen for single mothers pretty quickly. While it is possible for both single moms and dads to succumb to depression, it tends to be a lot worse for mothers.
Mostly due to preexisting depression symptoms. Thus, affecting your overall quality of life from the way you take on work, to managing your home and taking care of your kids. We know that being a single mom, requires a enormous amount of pressure which is why you should learn how to manage motherhood and depression.
Did you know that single moms are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety? Being a single mom is overwhelming and depleting. Some mothers like myself are fortunate enough to have family who shares the burden, but some are not as lucky. As single moms we have a tendency to downplay how overwhelmed we really are, and turn away support when it's offered.
If you are feeling lonely and isolated it's important to reach out to your family for emotional support. Trust me when I say it takes a village to raise a child. There is no gold metal for going at it alone. It does not make you any less of a mother and there is no glory in it. It's best to get a handle on this now, then to let if fester before it starts affecting your children.
Your depression can affect your children
Single mothers with depression may struggle with things like: sleep problems, concentration problems, moodiness, fatigue, or irritability which can make it very difficult for her to parent affectively. Single moms who struggle with the challenges of depression find it difficult, and next to impossible find the energy to take their children to the park, reading books or even talking. Depression can have a profound impact your child's development.
In fact, research has shown that mothers with depression are less likely to interact with their children in active ways, which can impact their relationship with their child, and the child’s emotional, cognitive and language development (Tartakovsky, 2011). A depressed mom with a toddler will not be in the right frame of mind to devote the kind of attention the child needs. By your child living with a depressed single mother may cause increased levels of anxiety and withdrawn emotions that endure over time.
how to cope with depression
I suffered a mild case of the baby blues with my first born in 2011. It wasn't until my third pregnancy in 2014, after suffering in silence, I was then diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. I was then advised to take antidepressants.
My medications seemed to work for me, but if I forgot to take it for a few days, the result was terrible. I remember being in my car on the way to work sobbing out of nowhere. I couldn't explain it. If you are going to opt for taking antidepressants, please remember that they are not a cure for your depression. You still must make some very crucial life changes for you to start feeling any "relief". There are other things you can do as well to cope with depression. Check out the list below for a few tips on what you can do.
what can i do to help my depression:
Join a single mother support group
Try relaxation techniques, meditation, and breathing exercises (I opted for Yoga)
Talk with family members or friends, they can be helpful depending on your situation.
Try talk therapy. Your therapist may recommend self-help materials.
Regular exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Regular self-care may seem next to impossible for single moms, but let be assure you that it's not. A little self-care a day can help tremendously. Start by scheduling at least one self-care task a day and work up to five. Something as simple as meditating for 10 minutes or taking a nap, or even reading 20 pages out of a book you've meaning to read. Taking time for yourself is not selfish, nor does it make you a bad mother. You are human, and it's very important to remember that. You can't run on fumes, and soon your children may suffer too. Take action now!
A while back I posted a question in a Facebook group for single moms. I asked what do single moms wish they knew about depression. One of the mothers who responded to my post and brought up a good point. She replied, "I wish I knew more of the signs and that it wasn't always suicide and not wanting your baby. I feel like they should hold classes. So, expecting mothers can help themselves see the signs".
Part of the reason for the lack of treatment is the fact that many obstetricians are not screening for it. Having given birth a few times myself, I can confirm the authenticity of this statement. On the other hand, this is probably because of hormonal changes during pregnancy. I've also found that only 15% of women with postpartum depression ever receive professional treatment.
A pregnant woman may not realize that she is suffering from depression. At first, the many other symptoms that are typical of pregnancy may not seem different from depression.
Common symptoms of depression include:
Lack of energy
Disrupted sleep patterns
Difficulty concentrating, a feeling of emptiness
A loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
Feelings of guilt or shame
Loss of appetite or a tendency to overeat
Remember these symptoms can arise at any point in a mother’s life, and it is crucial not to ignore the symptoms for both the sake of the mother and her child. Please talk to your doctor about any and all symptoms and feeling you are experiencing.
The challenges of being a single mom will continue to push you everyday and it's up to you to watch the signs and face your depression head on. I know from experience it's not that easy, but use your love for your children as motivation. Mental health takes daily work and the more you ignore you emotional and physical need to recharge, the stress will continue to pile on and detonate when you least expect it to.
A few minutes of self-care a day, keeps your depression at bay. You will not see change overnight, progress takes time. And you need time to heal. Stop carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Even single moms need help. Just remember to apply a few of those how-to tips each day and seek support when you absolutely need it most.
I'm Daisha Renee; single mama, foodie, and lover of yoga. Here on the blog, I love providing powerful solutions for overwhelmed single moms who struggle with balancing all the components of single motherhood. Come hang out with me in my Facebook Group. I can not wait to meet you!