And Still We Rise: Managing Depression as a Mother - Life as Mrs. Wilson

09 June, 2017

And Still We Rise: Managing Depression as a Mother

Being a mother with depression is never something someone pictures themselves becoming. Even as someone who was diagnosed with clinical depression at a fairly young age, I always imagined motherhood being the one thing that would make my depression "go away" for good.

Before having my son, I pictured days filled with learning activities, homemade baby food, and constant smiles and laughter. There are days when that is my reality, but there are also days when that seems completely unrealistic and out of reach.

There are days filled with absolute joy, and there are days filled with absolute sorrow. Motherhood in itself is a heavy calling, and depression has sometimes made me feel unqualified and inadequate beyond description. Depression as a mother isn't my favorite thing to talk about, but it is a very real aspect of my life - and many others' lives as well.

Depression as a mother means that there are days filled with unexplained tears - more from myself than my baby. Depression as a mother means reading books and playing with toys together, but sometimes feeling numb and disconnected while doing so. It also means that some days are movie days, not because it's a fun thing to do, but because it's all I can manage to do.

Depression as a mother means lots of guilt. Guilt for feeling like a bad mom, guilt for feeling like your baby would be better off without you, guilt for feeling unappreciative of the gift of motherhood, and guilt for not being capable of all you wish to be as a mom.

Depression as a mother sometimes means smiling for your baby but losing your composure the moment they look away. It is filled with moments that should make you happy - that usually do - but leave you feeling empty.

Depression as a mother comes and goes. There are days when you'll feel on top of the world and full of joy, and there are days when you start to wonder if you are even cut out to be a mother at all. There are days where you question how all of the moms around you are surviving motherhood with a smile, and moments where you question how you enjoyed motherhood even a day prior. You start to wonder where all of the joy went, and how you're going to make it through.

Depression as a mother is ugly, and it's hard, and it's real.

I'm learning to come to terms with the fact that there will be times where I won't be physically capable of being the mom I want to be, but that will never stop me from giving my child my 100% effort every second of every day.

Managing depression as a mother can be such a difficult balance. We as mothers have a divine role to nurture our children. However, to have the capacity to nurture others, we must first nurture ourselves. We have to recognize the necessity of taking care of ourselves - and recognizing that we can still be great mothers despite depression.

If there is anything that my son can learn from having a mom with depression, I hope perhaps he learns that it's okay to feel. I hope he can understand that sometimes people will be sad and not know why, and that in those instances he will know to love, and to be kind, and to hold on to one another until things feel bearable again.

I hope he can learn compassion. Compassion for those that suffer, compassion for those with differences, and compassion for each person he sees.

I hope he learns that he can still help someone without understanding their trials.

I hope he learns to be caring.

I hope he learns to show love, always.

I hope he always understands that his mama loves him fiercely, even when she struggles to love herself.

So to you moms with depression, you're not alone. I hear you, I feel you, and I'm cheering you on. You are no less of a mother because of your diagnosis. It does you no good to wish your ailments away in hopes of a better life for your child. You are enough - right where you are. There is hope, and there is healing. There are better days ahead, and plenty of joy along with it too.