I want to talk today about moms and melancholy or depression.
I don’t hear much spoken about this subject.
I mean, everyone hears about post-postpartum depression but not much is said about regular moms of young children having depression.
On some days, I get melancholic. It’s hard to put my finger on the cause. Usually it is a combination of fatigue, lack of private time for myself, financial challenges, the feeling of always being in “giving” mode.
On these depression mornings, I feel like a child who stands in front of his day-care and doesn’t want to go in and start his day. He hesitates, maybe sheds a tear. That’s me.
In the first few years of being a mom, I felt guilty about this melancholy that comes and goes. I mean, I have everything to be thankful for, right? Four wonderful, healthy children, an amazingly supportive and loving husband, my health, our educational journey with the kids. My life.
It’s been 7 years since had my first child and today I have reached a conclusion: depression of moms is a completely normal phenomenon. COMPLETELY. Note to self: Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist but I do have experience with depression and it’s not a pretty sight. On depression days, I feel a lack of energy, my brain is not “sharp”, I don’t feel like spending time with the kids or with anyone for that matter, I don’t want to cook, clean, drive, hear music. Nothing. I want to be left alone. This, of course, is impossible.
I have reasons to be sad every once in a while. I get sad for the loss of any free time to think quietly. I get sad because I am oh so tired that it hurts. I get sad because my ears hurt from all the noise of having four kids at home all day. I get sad because I am always giving and sometimes – just sometimes – I want to be a little girl again and for someone else to take over running this business called a family. I get sad because I have to drive 4 kids around from one activity to the next, whereas I wish we lived in some sort of community or tribe where they can run freely with other kids and I can settle back and relax. I get sad because my husband has to work seven days a week so that we can be financially independent. I get sad because I am expected to run this operation called home, discipline, education, menu-planning etc. – which I know almost nothing about and have to start from scratch learning everything.
In the overall context, I am *very* content with how my life has turned out and the journey that our family is on. I feel that a person is the master of his destiny and I am indeed the master of my destiny. But, despite this outlook, I do have my depression days.
When I look at other moms around me, I think that they have depression days too. It’s just something you see in their eyes. But no one talks about it with me. I almost never hear moms speak openly about the pains of being a mom. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who has these days.
Since I am a solution-oriented person, my brain is always trying to create solutions for problems. So here goes:
The problem: What to do on depression days when I am alone with all kids and its 6AM and everyone is up and there are 15 more hours ahead of us to spend together?
1. Go outside. Outside is easier. My mood always improves outdoors. Buy everyone an ice cream and head to the nearest playground and meditate while the kids play.
2. Become an opportunist. Be aware of the few “in-between” minutes between activities when the kids are busy and you can meditate (or vegetate).
3. Lay low. Do low-energy activities like filling up the bathtub and letting the kids play while I read a book. Free unstructured playtime is always good on these days. Glide through the day while conserving energy.
4. Go visit the library. It always takes away my depression. The minute I enter the library I become a happy human being and remember how much I love learning and how much I love life. If it were up to me, I would go to the library several times a day. Its like medication for the soul.
So, Moms and Dads, am I the only one who has depression days? I know this is a controversial topic and would love to read your thoughts about it. Write us in the comments box or on our Facebook page.
Happy parenting (even on melancholic days),