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The Words You May Need to Hear If You're a Parent With Depression

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I’ll just come out with it.

Being a parent with depression is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.

You constantly feel like you’ve failed your child.

You constantly feel tired and can’t keep up while your little one runs around.

You constantly feel like you’ve failed.

And it hurts. And this is a whole new kind of hurt — one that eats your heart whole and spits out the chunks, just to chew them through razor sharp teeth until all that’s left is a pile of scraps. You’re struggling with depression while your child needs your endless love and patience, but you can’t give all of you. You constantly need to recharge. You need to be close to them, but you need your distance at the same time. You feel weak, like you’re less of a parent than someone else.

Looking at me, you wouldn’t know I have depression. I play with my daughter, run after her, let her chase me, and to the outside world, I’ve been told I look like an outstanding mother who adores her child. You’d be half right. I do adore my daughter. She’s my world. But I am not an outstanding mother. At home I often give her off to a family member or friend to hide in the washroom or step outside and just stare into empty space.

One woman said to me that since I recognize my weakness, since I try to push past it, it does indeed make me an outstanding mother. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.

But one thing has kept me thinking that maybe I am…

If you have a friend who was a parent with depression and they told you they felt like this— what would you tell them? They’re an amazing parent, right? Doing the best they can? So turn it against yourself… you are an amazing parent, despite your depression. You put your child before yourself in every way. You know you can’t give your best or your all at that moment. You acknowledge that. You do what you can, and even when you can’t, you try.

Repeat after me: You are an amazing parent, despite your depression.


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Thinkstock photo by hidesy

Originally published: January 16, 2017
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