5 Frustrating Ways Depression Affects Me as a Mother
Every morning, my daughter wakes me up by playfully giggling and softly babbling in her crib. Usually, I wake up smiling, excited to walk into her room for a morning snuggle. Sometimes, I cringe at the thought of waking up and starting the day. I ignore her for a few moments because I have to mentally prepare myself to get out of bed.
My depression would keep me in bed all day if I didn’t have a daughter to take care of. Yet, I get out of bed because I do, even though it’s a struggle. Along with trying to keep me stuck in bed, my depression affects me as a mother in five other ways.
1. It depletes my energy.
It doesn’t matter if I had 12 hours of sleep the night before, I still wake up exhausted and too tired to play with my daughter. My limbs are heavy and so are my eyes. I count down the minutes until nap time so I can climb into bed. My depression keeps me on the couch, watching my daughter play as I wish I had the energy to get down on the floor and play with her.
2. It steals my joy.
Having a toddler is awesome. She does so many goofy things and laughs constantly, and usually I can laugh with her. Sometimes, my depression steals my ability to find joy in the silly things my daughter does. Instead of watching her be silly, I sit in a daze, as if I don’t see her at all.
3. It makes me irritable.
My daughter is too little to get into much trouble, but she does misbehave. She climbs on things, pulls the cat’s tail and touches things she’s not supposed to. Most days I tell her no, redirect her and move on. On the days I’m depressed, I am easily annoyed when she misbehaves, and I am easily irritated with her. My depression takes away my ability to shake things off. So I end up snapping at my daughter to cut it out. She doesn’t understand and that’s not fair.
4. It makes me unmotivated.
As a stay at home mom, my job is to take care of my daughter and take care of our home. This includes taking care of all my daughter’s needs, feeding, bathing, playing, napping and completing daily household tasks. My depression puts up a wall between me and getting things done. So I do the bare minimum and only have the energy to take care of my daughter’s most basic needs.
5. It ruins special moments.
Something special happens between my daughter and I every day. Whether it’s a sweet snuggle in the rocking chair, her playing with my hair or my daughter letting me rub her back as she falls asleep, something special always happens. My depression hides these moments from me, and instead shows me everything that’s bothering me about the day. I lose focus. My depression takes my attention away from my daughter, and I miss out on a lot of special moments. I spend the day in complete negativity instead.
Depression doesn’t only affect me as a mother, it affects my daughter and her happiness. She is little, and all she wants is for me to be loving, nurturing and playful. When I can’t be those things for her, she is disappointed, and my heart breaks a little.
My depression has no business being in my daughter’s life, but it is because depression is a part of me. Not every day is a struggle, but even one day of depression taking over is too much. I’m tired. I’m irritable. I’m unmotivated.
I am a mother who loves her daughter, but who is also affected by depression, which affects my daughter. One day when she can understand, I’ll apologize for my depressed days. I’ll do all I can to make up for the lost time and the special moments.