Parenting with a diagnosis of depression challenges many moms and dads. If you are a parent, you likely put your child’s wellbeing and safety first in your life. At the same time, you may inadvertently sacrifice your own health as you prioritize your son or daughter. The end result: depression symptoms that hamper your ability to be the best parent you can be.
There is no need to let your depression symptoms get the best of you. If you understand depression’s impact on parenting, you can identify and treat your depression symptoms before they get out of hand, allowing you to be the great parent that you naturally are.
How Does Depression Affect Parenting?
Every parent shares a common goal: to help his or her child enjoy a happy, healthy life. To achieve this goal, you strive to go above and beyond the call of duty to take care of your child.
Accomplishing this goal may sound simple, but transforming your vision into reality is often a long and arduous process — particularly for parents dealing with depression. In certain instances, depressed parents may struggle to provide their kids with the care and support they need.
Parenting with depression may start immediately after your child is born. For example, if your newborn displays aggressive behaviors, you may blame yourself and your depression for these issues. This may lead you to doubt your ability to care for your child, increasing your depressive symptoms and making it tough for your son or daughter to thrive.
Various risk factors are associated with depression in parents. These risk factors include:
- Marital conflict
- Exposure to violence
- Mental health disorders
Additionally, research indicates a direct correlation between depression in parents and poor physical health and wellbeing in kids. Research shows young children and infants of mothers dealing with depression are more prone than others to use acute health services. Some research suggests childhood asthma and adolescent tobacco and substance use are more common in children of depressed parents, too.
Tips to Help Parents Manage Their Depression Symptoms
Parenting with depression puts you and your child in a challenging situation Fortunately, there are several things you can do to manage your depression symptoms, including:
1. Appreciate the Moment
Let’s face it — raising a child is a rewarding experience, but it is also filled with stress, worry, and anxiety. For parents, it is important to appreciate the moment and celebrate pleasant times with your child, no matter how small. Little moments like taking your baby on a stroll through the park or reading your child’s favorite book to him or her can help you celebrate the joys of parenthood. Best of all, expressing gratitude for these small things adds up quickly, and can help you keep your depression symptoms at bay.
2. Accept Your Mistakes
Every parent makes mistakes — and that is ok. But dwelling on a parenting mistake is unlikely to help, particularly if you are already struggling with depression. If you make a parenting mistake, accept it, learn from it, and move forward from it. Remember, if you love your child, you will do everything possible to support him or her. Even if you make a parenting mistake along the way, your goal remains the same — to love your child and provide him or her with the best care possible.
3. Be Flexible
You may dedicate significant time and energy to plan daily activities for you and your child. However, things can change quickly, and you need to be able to adjust accordingly. If you maintain flexibility, you can avoid feelings of disappointment and frustration when you are forced to change plans for you and your child at a moment’s notice. Plus, you can set a positive example for your child by showing him or her how to go with the flow and make the best of a challenging situation.
4. Join a Parent Support Group
As a parent, it may sometimes feel like you have to deal with depression on your own. Although you want to put up a strong front for your child, it is crucial to know that you are not the only parent dealing with depression symptoms. Parent support groups are available in cities and towns nationwide, and they encourage participants to share their parenting concerns and questions with one another. If you are dealing with depression, a parent support group can help you engage with like-minded parents who can offer tips and guidance to help you manage depression symptoms.
5. Seek Out Professional Help
If depression symptoms feel too overwhelming, consult with your doctor. This allows you to work with a medical professional to understand depression symptoms and determine the best way to treat them. You can also meet with a mental health counselor to discuss depression. In doing so, you may be better equipped than ever before to identify the root cause of depression and explore ways to alleviate depression symptoms.
What Depression Treatment Options Are Available?
Depression treatments are available to parents, yet finding the right treatment is sometimes difficult. Let’s look at four common depression treatment options for parents:
- Medication: Doctors may prescribe antidepressant medications based on your depression symptoms and medical history. Antidepressants may help you combat depression symptoms. In some instances however, antidepressants may cause nausea, vomiting, and other side effects.
- Talk Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and other talk therapy options have been shown to help parents treat depression. Talk therapy may be used in combination with antidepressants, too.
- Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS): With dTMS therapy, magnetic pulses are sent to the brain to stimulate neural activity in the underactive areas that cause depressive symptoms. This form of depression therapy is FDA-approved, noninvasive, and has been shown to significantly reduce depression symptoms at higher responses rates than medication alone.
At Achieve TMS, we provide customized dTMS therapy programs for parents. A typical dTMS therapy program consists of 20- to 30-minute treatment sessions performed five days per week over the course of six weeks. Each dTMS treatment is virtually pain-free, and parents can return to their everyday activities after a treatment session.
The Achieve TMS team is happy to work with a parent, evaluate his or her depression symptoms, and offer a personalized dTMS therapy plan. We also offer free dTMS therapy consultations to help you determine if this depression therapy option is the best choice based on your individual needs. To learn more about dTMS therapy or to schedule a complimentary treatment consultation, please call or text us today at 877-247-0101.