Every child deserves to be in the warmth of a mother who smiles and every mom deserves to be happy around her child and family. Sadly, this is not the case that’s happening in some of our homes and women have a one in five chance of experiencing depression at some point in their life. Such high risks are due to the mother’s daily routine that might include experiencing stress cropping up from family issues, being isolated from friends due to overpowering family commitments, taking care of a child or an elderly with chronic health condition or being in an abusive relationship. Women are the fulcrum of a family and she takes 100% responsibility for the well-being of family members sacrificing her own happiness and health. But this does not go well with her in the long term and she becomes a victim to depression at some point in life. Depression after childbirth is commonly witnessed as the new mom is engaged most of the time with the baby unable to spend time for herself. This manifests in various forms creating a negative impact on her social and cognitive development and also hinders her ability to connect with her baby. Beyond that too, depression that prolongs in a woman’s life not only affects her but also hampers the well-being of the child greatly and most parents don’t realize this!
Mother’s Depression Affects the Child’s Overall Development
A child is at his/her best behavior in front of strangers and worst behavior to his/her mom as the kid feels most secure in the presence of his/her mother. Moms have the greatest impact on children and determine the way in which these kids grow. To ensure the healthy growth of a child the mother should be healthy and in the right frame of mind to take good care of her kids. While the family circumstance and the surrounding do have a long-lasting impact on the child’s thinking and growth the mom’s upbringing has the potential to destruct them all. But when mothers are depressed themselves it drastically affects the way in which she takes care of her kids and also impacts the child’s performance at school, causes increased hospital visits, poorer interaction with peers and also might lead to adolescent depression. Mothers with depression are inclined more towards negative parenting criticizing the child often which in turn leads to social withdrawal from the child’s side. The sad thing here is that most parental depressions go unnoticed without medical attention.
A recent study shows that even mild long-term depressive symptoms in mothers are connected with emotional problems in kids such as hyperactivity, aggressiveness and anxiety. This study looked into depressive symptoms present in both moms and dads and its presence affect kids by the age of 2 and 5. Antenatal and postnatal depression affects both the well-being of the mother and her newborn child. Read more on postnatal depression and its effects by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. While a father’s depression affects the child’s emotions only when the mother is depressed as well, a mother’s depression as a standalone is good enough to affect the child’s well-being. Though mild, long-term depression is an indication that depression could have been experienced sometime even before pregnancy and when this turns out to be positive it becomes a serious risk factor for severe depression in the long run. When either parent suffers from depression then the other parent must also be examined for the same. Symptoms of depression include prolonged sadness, low energy levels, instant crying, feeling inadequate and hopeless, sleeplessness and change in appetite.
Mothers should start paying attention to their own problems failing which they are at the highest risk of succumbing to depression. Bad family environment, stress, pregnancy, anxiety and sleep deprivation are risk factors that can push a person into depression. This in turn affects the child’s quality of life. In short, keep moms healthy, peaceful and happy as they are filled with the potential to keep their children happy and well.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.