Parenting with depression can feel isolating. It can also add pressure to put on a façade – no one wants to be seen as a “bad” parent, says Bryce Evans.
Becoming a parent changes your life forever. In an instant you’re entrusted with the responsibilities of your new child’s life.
One topic that rarely gets discussed in the highly analyzed world of parenting is how depression or postpartum depression compounds the everyday stresses of parenting.
Parenting with depression can feel isolating. Maybe you feel even more pressure to put on a facade to evade being judged or seen as a bad parent.
The bar can feel high. In reality, the process is messy for everyone.
We asked The One Project community to share their experiences managing depression while raising newborns, young kids, and teens.
Our members talked about how depression affects parenting, how they broke the cycle of stigma and silence in their families, and how they’re setting an example by asking for help.
I’m grateful for Carmen, Aaron, and Leandra sharing their experiences so openly! Hopefully their stories will help spark a conversation.
My postpartum depression (PPD) journey began quite in contrast to the well-held ideas of being unable to bond with my baby. PPD took hold with almost primitive levels of protective surges that were passed off casually as a bonding process going “quite well.”
I realized that things were going awry when I had trouble even letting my partner hold our baby. I became agoraphobic. I refused to leave the house in case I lost the baby. I didn’t want him to fall ill if we went outside. I recognized that I might have an issue far outweighing my ability to understand or cope.
Yet I remained stoically firm. Rooted in my fear.
I battled a blossoming frond of despair. I shunned support. Nobody knew my secret. So it remained.
This is the first time I've actually verbalized my illness. It remains hard to discuss even 11 years later.
The collage I made to accompany this extract is how my head felt at the time. A blue flower grows from the cracks that I believed were opening in my well-being.
I'd love to write a book one day about this. If only I had the confidence.
Thanks for reading. ❤️
— Carmen Scott
As a parent these days, it’s impossible to be present for everything our children do. Then you throw in the unexpected wild card: depression.
You pretend that you can be there. Inside you couldn’t be further away.
How do you explain depression to a child when you can barely explain it to yourself? I have no formal education on depression besides my own experience and research.
My partner and I decided to give our kids controlled exposure to depression. I try to express all feelings, both good and bad.
When I’m down, I’m honest with my kids. I tell them and always make a point to let them know that I love them no matter what.
When I lose my cool, I always apologize and try to calmly explain why it happened and how it’s not their fault. Let me say it again. IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT.
I never want my kids to feel like they did something to cause my depression at any point. This is a personal fight inside of me. I want them to know that they are the best medicine for my depression.
Children are aware of things. Much more so than we give them credit for.
It can be tempting to let your kids come up with their own understanding of depression. I think it’s better to be open, honest, and unashamed of your feelings. Do your best to explain why you’re feeling this way.
This method has brought me closer to my family than ever before. It has led to countless hugs at the perfect moment from tiny humans with the biggest hearts.
— Aaron Rouselle
Let’s take that step together.
The information presented is solely for educational purposes, not as specific advice for the evaluation, management, or treatment of any condition.
The individual(s) who have written and created the content in and whose images appear in this article have been paid by Teva Pharmaceuticals for their contributions. This content represents the opinions of the contributor and does not necessarily reflect those of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Similarly, Teva Pharmaceuticals does not review, control, influence or endorse any content related to the contributor's websites or social media networks. This content is intended for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered medical advice or recommendations. Consult a qualified medical professional for diagnosis and before beginning or changing any treatment regimen.
NPS-ALL-NP-00823 FEBRUARY 2023