Sometimes, when you've been woken up yet again by a whimper or cry, and you're suffering from sleep deprivation, as well as all the aches and pains of being a mother, you may find yourself questioning your sanity in your decision to be a stay-at-home mom. When did it spiral out of control? When did you go from a smart successful fun person, to that tired looking woman with the world's weight on her shoulders?
However, this is a scenario that is more common than you might think. You're not alone, if you find yourself oscillating between frustration and anger at having given it all up, and guilt for the very same feelings. Babies are a blessing and joy, however, they're a whole lot of work, and anybody who believes otherwise, doesn't have kids. Dealing with depression can seem like an uphill task, and there will be days when you feel like just getting out of bed is an effort.
Many of your friends or colleagues may be astonished or even disapproving of your decision to be a stay-at-home mother. You could have been on a fast track to a promotion, an excellent worker, or simply good at your job, which may cause others to question the wisdom of your choice. You may find yourself questioning everything, even second guessing yourself. Don't. Rest assured, you made the right choice.
Depression manifests itself in many ways, and you need to be able to recognize its symptoms to get better. If you've had the herculean task of raising a baby thrust on you, anybody who thinks you have it easy is kidding themselves. Deciding to give full-time attention to your baby is a difficult choice to make, and it's very normal for you to experience occasional doubts, resentment, or guilt. Did you make the right decision? Why does it have to be you, who has to stay home all day? If these are the questions that plague you, you're not a bad mother (as many of us are conditioned to think), you're just normal.
If however, you find yourself dwelling on these feelings, and find them building in intensity, leading to anger and deep seated feelings of resentment, these may be warning signs of the onset of depression. It may be a cause of concern, if you recognize yourself exhibiting the symptoms below:
- Feeling sad or unhappy most of the time
- Feeling tired all the time
- Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
- Inability to sleep, or sleeping too much
- Loss of appetite or eating too much
- Feeling of worthlessness or helplessness
- Suicidal thoughts
Coping with Depression
The first step is to acknowledge that you may have a problem, and you must take steps to counter it. If you think there's something wrong with you, it may interest you to know that the number of women, who have similar experiences of depression is quite high. However, there are certain steps you can take, to counter your feelings of worthlessness.
Take Time Out for Yourself
No matter who you are, every person needs a little alone time, when you're neither a wife, girlfriend, or a mother. Try getting up a little early, or staying up a little late, to give yourself some breathing space.
Don't Lose Your Identity
Sure, the kids come first on your priority list, but that doesn't mean that you aren't a priority. Remember the kind of person you used to be? That fun person? It's important for you to take care of yourself. Set a target to do something just for yourself every week, and if you feel like you're being selfish, don't. Feeling guilty? You have to be a healthy person to be a healthy parent, and being a depressed mother is going to end up affecting your kids. So go on, be good to yourself.
Stay in Touch, or Reach Out
Make a conscious effort to take time out for meeting your friends. If you're lucky, your friends will understand, and work their schedule to accommodate yours. At times, however, you may find that you end up feeling more stressed, envious of their single lives, and minimum responsibilities. Reach out to mothers like you, join a support group, or just invite another mom over. You'll be glad for the company, and could just make a friend for life.
Depression is more common in women, who give up their job for attending their kids, than you may think. It's a brave decision to make, to devote years to taking care of your children, but one that gives you the joy of seeing your little ones grow up in front of you, and the ability to give them time in quality and quantity. Be proud of what you do, and enjoy yourself. The wonder years will fly by, and before you know it, you'll miss this precious time.