Mom Depression

I have been a mother for three years, and I have been blogging about the joys and the struggles of being one. There are already so many articles about mom depression, but believe me, many (even those closest to mothers) are still unaware of the struggles that come with motherhood. Believe a mom when she says mom depression is real. Here’s what you need to know about mom depression.

Mom Depression For The Dummies

Okay, so I figure that those who are not mothers cannot relate when I say that there is such a thing as mom depression. As a Psychology major, I would make references to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5thEdition (DSM-V).

Postpartum depression is classified as Bipolar Disorder or Depression with Peripartum Onset according to DSM-V. One might think that it is just the usual “baby blues,” it is not. We will need to learn terms like ‘baby blues”, “peripartum depression,” and “postpartum depression” to be able to have an understanding of what is going on with the suffering mommas.

Mom Depression vs. Baby Blues

Having birthed a newborn baby is supposed to be one of the most exciting and joyous moments in a mother’s life.  However, along with the excitement comes unexpected moods due to changes in hormone levels brought about by the pregnancy, birthing, and sleepless nights caring for the baby.

It is expected that the new mom may feel what they call the “baby blues.”  Having the baby blues may mean the time when the new mom may cry excessively for no reason, feel lonely and sad, or in some cases, irritable and angry.  This may continue for about two weeks and is considered normal due to the significant hormonal and life changes happening to her.

Mom depression is real and is not just the usual baby blues that go off after the 2-week postpartum mark.

Mom Depression and Post-Partum Depression

If your unusual moods do not go away within two weeks post-birth, then you may be having more than just the typical “baby blues.” Mom depression may be the lay man’s term for what is commonly known as Postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is a serious illness that mothers have no control over. Just like other types of depression, postpartum depression is a debilitating mental illness that requires attention. 

Peripartum Depression Vs. Post-Partum Depression

Postpartum depression and peripartum depression share almost the same symptoms, but the latter include depression in pregnancy and after-birth depression. Mental health experts now prefer to use the term peripartum depression as it is believed that a significant percentage of all major depressive episodes identified as postpartum depression began even before childbirth.

The “postpartum” specifier, according to DSM-IV (an earlier version of the DSM), should be used when a mood episode begins in the immediate postpartum period, which is four weeks after birth.  On the other hand, the “peripartum” specifier for DSM-V is to be used when a mood episode begins either during pregnancy or within four weeks of delivery.

Mom Depression:

What to look out for

If postpartum depression goes unrecognized and untreated, it may have an immense and persistent effect on the mother, the developing child, as well as her other children if that’s the case.

We need to understand what depression looks like when we see one. Here are the symptoms to look out for according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA):
  • Feeling sluggish, fatigue
  • Feeling lonely, hopeless, helpless, or worthless.
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite
  • Inability to concentrate or focus
  • Crying for “no apparent reason”
  • Lack of interest in the baby, not feeling bonded to the baby, or feeling very anxious about the baby
  • Feelings of not being a good mother
  • Intrusive thoughts of harming the baby or oneself
  • A loss of interest in previously liked activities or pleasure in life

When to seek help

APA also suggests seeking assistance if:
  • You are experiencing several of the symptoms mentioned for over  two weeks
  • You have suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming your child
  • Your depressed feelings are becoming persistent and worse overtime
  • You are finding it difficult to carry on your daily tasks especially taking care of your baby

What to do to help someone experiencing mom depression

  • Know the signs
Once you know the symptoms, suggest to the mother to seek professional help if you recognize the signs. Treatment for depression during pregnancy and after child-birth is vital. Awareness and understanding will help mothers and their children.

  • Listen
Spend time talking and listening to the mom, who is feeling lonely. Sometimes, a tired mom only needs to know she is not alone and that someone is willing to listen to what she is going through.  Do not dismiss a mother who wants to talk it out as a way to find relief for their symptoms.

  • Offer help
Ask if there is anything you can do to help. Give her support, offer to help with household chores, or even with looking after the child while she does some things for herself.

If all else fails, encourage her to seek support from health care providers so that treatment may be given if necessary.

Why the Fuss about “Mom Depression”

These troubled mothers seem to feel that only mothers understand what they are going through, and so they fuss about it among themselves. 

I feel compelled to shed more light on this because you need to hear it. I have one too many mommy friends who are down in the dumps, feeling worthless, exhausted, thinking they are not good enough. 

Mom depression may start out from just feeling tired from all the duties the moms need to perform. Depression can actually cause moms to feel even more tired due to overthinking, sleeplessness, and even medication.

Who Is At Risk of Mom Depression

Mom depression may happen to mothers from all walks of life. This is not just about new moms but about all moms who struggle with depression. This is for the mothers who feel that they are alone in this struggle.

I am talking about my stay-at-home-momma friend who’s had a rough day with the kids, and who may be at her wit's end trying to figure out how much more she can tend to her home while feeling lonely and isolated.

I am talking about the working mom who looks so put together every time, but is feeling guilty for missing her child’s school event performance because she has a deadline to meet; feeling exhausted after a day’s work only to find out there are dishes to do and homework to be done with her kids. 

This also goes out to the work-from-home mothers. They may be enjoying their time with their kids at home, but they barely have time to sleep while working at their computers at night.

Let’s not forget those moms who may not have toddlers anymore but have older kids who may still be a handful; she is tired any be depressed too. Mom depression is not only for the new moms; it may happen at any time in a mother’s life.

This is also for all the single mothers out there who have frequently been painted as a superhero mom, but in reality, she may be judged and talked about. The mom who is messy, disorganized, and is alone in trying to make ends meet all the time. 

Lastly, this is for the moms who are parenting children with special needs- moms who need to carry on despite the exhaustion, the overwhelm, the financial strain, and even hopelessness.

A Final Word on Mom Depression

A lot of moms already suffer depression in silence because they do not want to be judged; they dismiss these feelings of worthlessness and sadness to try and carry on day after day because they have a child to look after and a family to attend to. Mothers need to be taken care of tooWe may not be able to end mom depression, but we can do something to help these moms out.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks to this.

    Now I know,

    What to do to help someone experiencing mom depression