Parenting in the modern world is a complex process. As a parent, you expect certain behaviors from your children and challenges from raising a child. You expect the sleepless nights when you bring a baby home and the constant questions that come from young children exploring the world. You may not expect parenthood and depression may go hand in hand for a portion or even the entirety of your child’s upbringing. Since the definition of successful parenting is constantly changing, you may experience parental burnout symptoms when trying to keep up with the standards others try to place on you as a parent. Recognizing parental burnout symptoms can help you manage the depression that comes with parenthood.
Parenthood And Depression | The Hidden Link
Depression From Parenthood Is Normal
Parenthood and depression often relate to each other due to the added stress in your life. Although it is given that some women may experience post-partum depression after giving birth, it is also possible for mothers and fathers to experience depression as their child grows and develops.
Most parents will experience some parental burnout symptoms before a child is five years old. In some situations, the feelings of fatigue can contribute to the feeling that you are not successful as a parent. Over time, you may feel sad and depressed. As a parent, you want to set a good example for your child. A part of that example is recognizing that a little fatigue and depression is actually normal when your child is young. By keeping the idea that depression is not unusual, you can avoid the feelings of guilt that may otherwise plague your mind.
You Should Recognize the Signs of a Burnout
Parental burnout symptoms develop slowly and over a period of time. When you recognize the early signs of the problem, you are able to limit the risk of depression and address the symptoms before it affects your life negatively.
The signs of a burnout start with exhaustion and a gradual disconnection from your child or children. If you notice that you are becoming a bit detached, then you may want to consider your level of fatigue. You may also notice a gradual feeling of resentment toward a child or your spouse. Constant frustration may also suggest that you are reaching a high state of fatigue. The final sign to consider is a feeling of ineffectiveness. If you feel that you are not a good parent, then you want to evaluate your mindset and the contributing factors to your feelings.
Since the fatigue combines with the insecurities common to parents, you may gradually become detached and unemotional. Over time, that leads to a feeling of sadness and depression. By seeking help before you reach a state of depression, you take measures to regain your mental and emotional footing.
Coping With Parental Burnout Symptoms Starts Early in a Child’s Life
Parental burnout symptoms or the relationship between parenthood and depression starts early in your child’s life. It begins when you are fatigued from lack of sleep. The lack of sleep leads to a feeling of frustration or inadequacy.
By taking steps early, you will limit the risk of depression or even help yourself out of a depressed state of mind. The first step is working on building a team around your family. Ask friends and loved ones to get involved in your child’s life. For example, have your parents babysit your toddler to give you a break. By building a strong team around your family, you will have more social connections and you are able to hit the refresh button.
You also want to focus on optimistic thinking patterns. Look at the positives in your situation rather than the negatives. For example, focus on the fact that your child is laughing, rather than the giant mess on your kitchen floor. Laugh with your child and focus on experiencing the world from your child’s perspective. By taking an optimistic approach, and with a little sense of humor, you help stave off feelings of depression.
Focus on the things that are going right rather than the mistakes. The definition of successful parenting is not perfection. It is doing the best that you can with the tools available to you as a parent.
Parenthood and depression are linked in adults. The fatigue and sleepless nights combine with your own insecurities to raise concerns about your ability to raise a child. By recognizing that it is normal for mothers and fathers, you will be able to seek help for this depression at an early stage.
Do you agree that parenthood and depression go hand in hand? Let us know in the comments section below.