Before I had kids, I remember seeing one of those detergent commercials. You know the ones where the well-rested Mom cuddles her smiley baby on their freshly-washed linens, while sunlight streams through the window. (No one is covered in vomit, and someone has had time to make the beds and tidy up.) I stopped and stared longingly at the screen thinking to myself, one day I’ll have a baby and my life will be just like THAT!
“Reality Check in Aisle 4 Please”
Now that I AM a Mom, I’m well aware the truth is a little less “fresh bedding and sunlight” and a little more “puke and chaos”. The truth is, for all its joys, Motherhood puts demands on us that can max us out. And at times it can be overwhelming. Hopefully we can meet it all head on, but sometimes it gets the best of us. If it’s getting YOU down it’s important that you know how to recognize the signs of normal life stress verses actual depression and anxiety, to determine if it’s time to get some help.
AfterMom.com spoke to Dr. Ariel Dalfen, Psychiatrist and Head of Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto so she could weigh in on the topic. Here’s what she had to share:
3 signs you might be suffering from depression or anxiety
- You no longer feel like your normal self. You notice a marked change in your personality, or perhaps people around you see a change.
- It has been 2 weeks. Everyone has an off day here and there, but 2 weeks of feeling down, anxious or on edge every day is a sign it could be something more serious.
- There’s been an impact on your daily life. You’re feeling so down or anxious that you can’t go to work, can’t take care of yourself or your kids, or can’t do the everyday activities that you are usually capable of. Be sure NOT to compare yourself to another mom, but to your normal, everyday self.
3 steps you can take to help yourself
- Make an appointment with your family doctor. This is a great first step. Some offer counseling themselves, or they can refer to you a reputable mental health care provider.
- Share what you are going thru with the people around you. Don’t keep these feelings bottled up and allow them to fester. And don’t expect that they will go away on their own. Talk to your partner; let the people you love know you are struggling; talk to friends. Sharing helps you feel less alone. And by sharing what you’re going through, you’ll find others who have gone thru something similar who can help with stories of their own experience and names of professionals they recommend.
- Don’t feel ashamed. It’s very common for women to find themselves struggling at different points in their lives, especially Moms who have so many demands on their time and energy. In fact, 20-25% of us suffer from some sort of depression or anxiety. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, it just means you could use a little extra help.
If you’ve been feeling down, be sure to take the time to look after yourself and get help if you need it. You’re worth it!
There IS life After Mom. What will YOURS look like?