Studies show depressed moms affect their child’s development
Did you experience postpartum depression (PPD)? Women generally experience postpartum depression after giving birth but this depression gradually subsides and is cured completely. But in some cases, women tend to continue experiencing spells of depression for long periods of time and some stay depressed for years.
Studies show depressed moms affect their child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Millions of children get caught in this vicious web and are not even aware of how it has impacted them. Depressed moms not only impact their kids as babies, this stays with the child well into adulthood and there are chances that the child could experience spells of depression too. Read about how depressed moms influence their children at each milestone of their life.
Depressed moms feel very unhappy and don’t feel any kind of enthusiasm, but they are often afraid to talk about it to anyone, including their partners. They find it difficult to bond with their babies, which makes babies anxious and fearful. These infants tend to be whiny and restless, and may continue to stay anxious for the rest of their lives.
Toddlers or preschool kids are at a very tender and impressionable age; their brains absorb behavioural patterns of adults around them. Depressed moms are tired, frustrated and irritable; this confuses the kids and they become unable to moderate their moods or cooperate with requests. These kids also retract from socializing or are anxious to form new bonds.
3 School going children
At this age, children are knee deep into school and are developing their personalities. The situation of having a depressed mother doesn’t help much. They are forced to act as mini adults by caring for their younger siblings or doing small chores. Overtly they may seem well mannered and mature but they tend to be full of self doubt and are craving for care. Depressed mothers can be extremely critical, which leads the child into forming negative image of self.
Adolescents who have or had depressed moms as kids are usually full of insecurities; they could also have trust issues. Along with anxiety issues, they tend to be reserved and avoid social situations of any cost.
Adolescents and early adults are still forming complete personality; having a depressed mom takes a toll on positive image building. They could even start to blame themselves for their mother’s condition or they could develop passive aggressive behaviour and could completely resent their mothers too.
1 in 4 women who have had depressed mothers tend to experience depression at least once in their life time. Adults who have lived with depressed moms or parents for a longer period of time continue to carry on the insecurities they dealt with as adolescents and as children. These adults lack self confidence and are also incapable of finding and maintaining secure long term relations. However, some adults do cope with it and eventually get out of their mother’s depressive shadow.
6 Help depressed moms cope with depression
It is very important to notice the symptoms in mothers so that they are treated at the earliest. Some mothers need antidepressants, some may be able to control it themselves through practising mindfulness, having regular exercise and may need stronger medical attention. New mothers are unwilling to admit what they are going through in the fear of their children being taken away. Almost one-third of new mothers suffer in silence.
The partners are already overwhelmed with the situation and fail to pick up these signals. What mothers need to understand is that depression can be cured with proper psychological or psychiatric attention. But no issue can be solved without having talked about it. Partners and family members need to be educated on postpartum depression. Also, if the moms tend to be depressed, the family should not blame them as uncaring mothers as this will push the depressed moms over the verge.
The stigma attached to mental health and depression makes people become reserved about their problems. We must understand that like physical ailment, mental ailment needs attention, care and time to heal. If people start to understand the nuances of depression, it becomes easier to win the battle with depression.