Motherhood with Depression: Coping strategies for mental health

. November 30, 2019.

Nobody said motherhood would be easy. But, little did I know how hard it would actually be. I imagine there are some mothers who find getting up at 5am, making fabulously healthy 3-course meals, and juggling successful careers with a thriving family life to be a breeze. For me, the idea of achieving those things seems impossible. I suffer from depression, which sometimes makes even the simplest of things seem impossible.

A lifelong battle

I have struggled with depression all my life. At 19, I started taking antidepressants and sought therapy, all with varying degrees of success. I was at a low point in my life when I met my husband. A whirlwind romance led to marriage within a month and pregnancy almost immediately, which I thought would be the answer to all my problems.

At the urging of my husband, I went off my medication during pregnancy. While happy hormones buoyed me through the 9 months of pregnancy, the postpartum tune was a different story. I was overcome with anxiety every time my baby cried, and the simple tasks like giving him a bath or cutting his nails filled me with trepidation. Fast forward to my second pregnancy, during which I stayed on my meds and things were radically different. I actually enjoyed being a mother without being paralyzed by fear at every turn.

Everyday struggles

While I adore my children, depression prevents me from always enjoying them. I frequently find myself getting impatient with them for taking too long to get dressed or to put on their shoes. On a daily basis, I get annoyed by their inability to pick up their toys or when they leave their clothes scattered all over the floor. I fly off the handle and yell at them for menial things, only to feel guilt-ridden afterwards.

How I cope beyond medication

Besides taking antidepressants daily, I recently found a therapist at Toledo Counseling and Mental Health who understands me and makes me feel heard. I make it a point to go as often as possible to yoga for an hour of uninterrupted “me” time for body and mind.

The person who helped me the most when I moved to Toledo 4 years ago is energy healer Tobie Saad. As an Advanced Crystalline Consciousness Technique (TM) Practitioner, she helped me overcome repetitive patterns and emotional wounds, allowing me to experience calm with a change in perspective.

Better days

Parenting is not easy for anyone, and those with mental health issues have added hurdles. While there are days that I find it hard to cope, and not even the laughter of my children can penetrate the darkness around me, more often I have moments when I feel joy in the simple things. I keep reminding myself that, as important as it is to acknowledge my illness, it is more important to keep pushing forward to ensure a happier life for my family.

*Editor’s Note: Interested in yoga but not sure where to start? Check out our sister publication, Toledo City Paper, for a round-up of yoga studios in the 419: