I’m a mom and I am depressed. It’s not easy but I get it done. How? I don’t know. Winging it maybe? I’ve seen it done by so many other moms, I thought it was normal to raise your kid while depressed. It’s not normal. It’s common, but it’s not normal. Doctors don’t talk about it. While you’re pregnant, they just talk to you about the physical things that can happen after pregnancy. I mean, they touch on the topic of post partum depression, but once that baby is out, after that 6 week check up, you’re not their problem anymore. That sucks. You go un-diagnosed for so long and you beat yourself up all the time because you think you’re a bad mom for hating life. You’re not. I’m not. We’re doing the best we can. It’s really hard though and we can’t really ignore that part because that only makes it worse. We can’t just hand our baby off, go heal and then come back and be a mom when we’re ready. It doesn’t work that way and even if it did, we would get depressed again about all the time we missed. I can say with full transparency that my son’s first year is a blur to me because I was so sad all the time I never allowed myself to be present in those little moments. Luckily, I had a phone and I took pics and videos so I can watch those moments, but it’s not the same. This one is for the new moms, the pregnant moms, the girls who want to be moms but are scared. Let me show you how I was able to be a wavy mom while still being the saddest human I know.
Accept it- The first and hardest part of being a mom and being depressed is accepting that you are a mom and you are depressed. I think that the stigma around mental illness and parenting is that if you have a mental illness, you can’t be a good parent. Generations before us didn’t believe in mental health, they had to get shit done and just did not have time for that. That’s why so many of us are in therapy now for childhood trauma because our parents fucked us up by not healing and just taking it out on us, but that is a blog for another time. Anyways, it’s okay to be sad, you can still be a wavy mom, you just have to accept that something is wrong. Don’t ignore it. Understand it. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. It makes you a human being. I am a mom and I am sad. You don’t have to admit it to the world, but you do have to accept it for yourself that it’s going to be a little harder for you. Accepting it also means going to therapy if you feel that you need the extra help and advice on how to do it.
Ask for Help- I know that some women don’t have the help. The father might not be present, you might live alone in a state where you don’t have any friends or family. There’s support groups, ask family to visit so that they can help, even if it’s just for a week at a time. If you do have help available, ask for it. If you don’t have to put the weight of the world on you, don’t. When you don’t have to do 100% of the work by yourself, it makes things a little easier. Ask a friend to come over so you can take a nap, ask a family member to go food shopping with you so they can entertain the baby while you shop. Make sure that you choose god parents that you trust so that they can help you. Allow yourself to let dad be a dad. Some women feel that a man’s only responsibility as a father is to provide financially and if he does that then he shouldn’t have anything else to do with the child. Very weird cultural flex but its 2022 so yeah, make dada be a dad. Ask for advice, im sure you know some moms who you’re like “wow! I want to be like her”, ask her how she does it. You don’t give birth with all the answers, you learn them as you go along.
Heal While They Grow- Have fun with your child. Having a kid is an excuse to allow yourself to be a kid too. Do fun shit and heal that inner child. Don’t be embarrassed. If there are things that you didn’t get to do as a child, do them with your child. You create memories for them but also for you. Go to a trampoline park, go get a build-a-bear for your kid and also for you. Go to the zoo, go to Disney World and buy some ears for yourself too. Alot of us feel that we won’t be the best moms because we didn’t have the best moms or we didn’t have the best childhoods. It’s not true. Create it. Recreate your childhood, be the mom to them that you wanted for you. Kids never say no to fun, they never say no to toys. Buy your kid the toy they want, and buy yourself that Barbie that you always wanted. Watch cartoon movies from your childhood. Have dance parties, it doesn’t have to be to cocomelon or blippi, kids will dance to anything. Let yourself have fun. You can be a mom and heal too, you don’t have to be fully healed to be a good mother. Kid’s love a fun mom, be that for them.
Take Time for Yourself- It’s not the same as asking for help. When I say ask for help I mean allow others to help you with the child. Taking time for yourself means spending time alone and away from your child to regroup, recharge, and come back stronger. Go to target by yourself, lay on the couch and watch youtube videos while the baby naps. Ask a close family, friend to babysit and go on a date with your partner and do something you used to love to do when you first started dating. Napping with the baby is also taking time for yourself. Don’t feel like you have to get everything done with your free time. If doing absolutely nothing makes you happy, do that at peace. Leave the baby with dad and go get your hair done, or go have some lunch by yourself or go have a drink with a friend. If your cup isn’t full, you can’t pour into anyone elses. Mommy has to be okay and that means being able to remind yourself that you’re also a person not just a robot mom. Do things you used to love to do before you became a mom. You are more than just a mom.
Monitor Your Symptoms- This one is a little more serious. Make sure that you know when you are sad, when you are depressed or when you think it may be something else. You can be a mom with depression, but sometimes, you need more than just free time and toys. If you feel that something is off, get help. You can’t be the best mom you can be with un-diagnosed mental illnesses because you’re not treating them. If you’re having intrusive thoughts, if you feel suicidal, if while you’re with your baby you feel clouded and want to harm them, ask for real help. It’s really hard to be a mom while you’re depressed. Don’t feel like a failure because you need a little extra help mentally to be able to be a good mom. So many moms have harmed their child in blind rage because their post partum depression was actually post partum psychosis. You’re not a bad mom for needing medication whether that be big pharma meds or a lil weed. You’re not a bad mom for needing to go to therapy. Sometimes the pain is bigger than just hating your new mom body or feeling unworthy. It’s okay to ask for the help IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE A BAD MOM!!!!
Being a mom is hard as fuck. Add a little bit of sadness in there and it seems almost impossible to do. You can have all the support in the world, round the clock help, millions of dollars, and you can still feel like you’re not doing enough. Having depression while also being a mom isn’t talked about enough because we’ve been taught that our child comes first and you cannot make time for your mental health. I’ve said that i’m taking a mental health day and I’ve been told that it’s an excuse to not have to be a mom for a day. I’m still a mom, but what kind of mom would I be if i let myself go to complete ruins just because I care about how other people see me. I am my child’s mother, that is the only person who’s opinion of my parenting matters. You have to do what’s best for You and what’s best for your child, nobody else. Ask for advice if you need it. Ignore the unsolicited advice that doesn’t serve you. It’s okay to have a personality outside of your child. It’s okay to do things that bring you joy that have nothing to do with being a kid. Mental health is very real and you can’t ignore it just because you have other responsibilities. The sadness won’t just go away if you avoid it long enough, it just gets worse. It creates angry parents, resentful parents, parents who end up hating their children because they ignored their own needs. It then creates adults in therapy trying to figure out why they are how they are. If you don’t heal, your child will have to.