Parenting with Depression

You hear a lot about PPD: post­partum depression. But you don’t hear much about parenting with a pre­existing case of depression, or a case of depression that might have occurred around the time your child was born but is not categorized as PPD.

Parenting with depression can feel like a losing battle. You might feel like every one of your child’s meltdowns is an indicator that you’re letting them down. I can’t even make a baby happy, you might think. You might be facing other stressors that are bringing you down­­work problems, marriage issues, or just a general feeling of dissatisfaction and now you’re in charge of another person’s life and you wonder, how can I do this when I can’t even figure out my own life?

Some important things to remember:

Try not to take it personally. Your child probably isn’t specifically acting out against you, especially if they’re very little and haven’t figured out how to be manipulative. As they get older they may be trying to play their cards right, but that’s another topic!

You need to take time for you. It’s hard not to feel guilty about taking time for yourself­­it seems like guilt comes with the parenting job. But you will be a better parent if you take care of yourself. Anything from taking time to do something you enjoy, to pulling aside a good friend or a therapist to vent to once in a while can really help.

This too shall pass. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. Soon, whatever issue is coming up in your child’s life, whether it’s sleep issues, eating issues, discipline problems, etc., will probably iron itself out. It will always be replaced with something else for you to deal with, but it’s important to remind yourself what really matters and not stress yourself out about something that will someday seem like a small thing.

With a little perspective and a lot of patience, you can make this work.

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