Moms and dads, your depression can significantly and severely affect your children’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being that is evidenced by their health, behavior, and relationship with people and with life.
Postpartum Depression Facts
When talking about postpartum depression (PPD), usually the first thing that comes to mind is that only women go through the condition. Well, you thought wrong; because even dads can have postpartum depression.
Many parents feel isolated or cut off from others. One 2015 study showed that 24% of parents feel lonely, with the statistics getting worse with the greater number of children one has. — Erin Leyba LCSW, Ph.D.
Depression, in general, affects a lot of people, some are just living in denial thinking that what they’re feeling is a phase that one can quickly overcome. Postpartum depression, on the other hand, affects one in nine women while paternal postnatal depression affects one in four men.
Albeit women have a higher risk to develop postpartum depression due to hormonal changes or pre-existing mental illness, men who were already experiencing depression can relatively succumb to depression months after the baby was born.
Effects Of Depression On Parenting
If one or both parents have untreated depression, it could pose a threat to their children’s overall welfare primarily because the signs and symptoms of depression would hinder proper childcare. How does depression affect appropriate parenting?
- Parents become aloof or withdrawn from their babies; therefore affection is also withheld.
- Parents act negatively when their baby cries and would hesitate to respond to needs.
- Attachment, one of the vital aspects of childcare, is significantly
When a mother puts her needs to connect with her baby above the baby’s need to become their own person, an insecure attachment can form. — Amy Quinn, MA, MS, LMFT
Consequences of PPD
Postpartum depression is a menace that deprives children of love and affection. If the affected parent refuses to acknowledge the presence of the condition, it may affect their children by exhibiting the following behaviors from babies until teens:
- Babies may have difficulties interacting with their parents to the point that they wouldn’t want to be with them. Babies would also have sleeping problems, delayed development in certain aspects of their personalities, and would show immature skills.
- With preschoolers or toddlers, postpartum depression affects them by being less independent and sociable. They are less likely to accept discipline and would be destructive and aggressive if they were forced to do so. Their behavior can severely affect their performance at school.
- School-age kids will also have behavioral issues, difficulty in acquiring new skills, may have reduced relationships, and will not do well in their subjects. Furthermore, they are at risk for developing depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses.
- Finally, teenagers who have depressed parents are prone to poor habits and bad company. They would also manifest major depressive symptoms and anxiety disorder. During this time, teens are also vulnerable to being engaged with substance and alcohol abuse. Some even develop ADHD and have learning impairments.
Living a full and meaningful life requires vulnerability. — LESLIE BECKER-PHELPS, PHD
Countering Postpartum Depression
Is there hope? Yes, definitely. There is always hope for those who are seeking one. Though depression cannot be cured completely, it can be managed. Parents must be first brave enough to acknowledge that they are indeed experiencing depression; after which, they can also choose from several treatments, namely:
- Support groups
The moment parents feel or think that they have depression, immediate consultation is advised. Being a parent is tricky; however being a parent and an individual with a mental condition is chaotic and unsafe not only for the mom or dad but most importantly, for the baby.