Mental health and motherhood are most often thought of in conjunction to newborn babies. At this stage there is risk of PPD. There are sleepless nights and endless sessions of guessing how to figure out and calm your baby's cries. However, the demands of motherhood mutates as a child grows. This can cause anxieties, depression and exhaustion to exist even as the child gets into their school-age years. Postpartum Depression can last long after giving birth, and new depression can form in mothers who did not experience PPD.
According to the Scientific American Journal, maternal depression can increase as a child gets older. This likely stems from increasing anxieties about child development. Additionally, school age children have more demands that must be met by the mother. Homework and extracurricular activities mount as the child ages further into their school years. Both of which add extra pressure to mothers already struggling with depression and anxieties about their child's development.
There are also major social pressures which come with being a mom such as the expectation for school involvement and volunteering for sports games, school events and all things which concern her child outside of the home. The child doesn't just play soccer, so does the mom in a sense.
The Scientific American Journal also found that disadvantaged mothers with depression are often underserved. This is largely due to limited resources. Women who are not treated properly will struggle with their depression alone. This raises the chances of negative cognitive, behavioral and emotional impact on children, according to Harvard University.
The National Institute of Mental Health states that depression is most likely to begin somewhere between the teen years and a person's early thirties. Many women have their first child during this time. While depressive symptoms may not begin in the mother right after a child is born, mothers can definitely begin having symptoms as the child grows. Any highly stressful situation can trigger the onset of depression, and being a mother is a highly stressful job.
Depression can and should be treated. Sometimes it can be treated with counseling; sometimes a patient benefits more from medications designed to alleviate depressive symptoms. Given the detriments depression can have on a mother and her children, symptoms should not be ignored.
For more information on this and related topics, visit the Mental Health section of our blog.
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