I am a working mom, but I had a true taste of stay-at-home mom (SAHM) depression after having Saul (now 4 months old). Just three weeks after having him, I remember sitting on the couch, 45 minutes into pumping breast milk (and still on the first breast) and thinking, “I have made a mistake. I cannot do this again. What about me, my career, my life?” As quickly as these feelings entered my thoughts, guilt washed over me like thick black oil. My first couple of months of having my baby was a cocktail of guilt and dread. I felt so lonely, ashamed, and mostly “lost”.
Stay-at-home mom depression is real
The reality is that stay-at-home mom depression is something that most moms go through after having a baby. Some moms who stay at home and take care of their kids go through this indefinitely.
Somehow, talking about the issue is frowned upon. Contrary to popular belief, looking after a newborn baby can be incredibly stressful. No matter how much you looked forward to your baby, those long, sleepless nights can take their toll on you. If you don’t keep a close eye on what is going on, and how’re you’re feeling, you might find the situation can escalate relatively quickly. Feelings of isolation, loss of purpose or identity, and lack of social interaction can all play a role in the development of postnatal depression.
You can overcome it
If you find that you are going through the same thing I did, it does not mean this has to be your life or your destiny. During this time, I made a conscious decision to start working again, even though it was from home. I started taking on clients and small part-time projects and even brought out a baby and mommy clothing range, which tied into my life and lifestyle.
This might not be for everyone, but finding a purpose other than looking after your children and house is incredibly rewarding and it creates a powerful mind shift. Talking about these issues with a professional should not be underestimated, as is communicating with your partner and family as it helps them understand the space you’re in.
Most importantly, SAHM depression is nothing to be ashamed of. Talking about it will give you the confidence you need to take the necessary steps to start the journey to feeling your old self again. Self-care is just as important. I almost want to say that it’s important to start there first. Expensive spa or beauty treatments are not the only way you can take time out to pamper yourself though – sometimes just an hour to relax in a hot bath or doing something you love can help enormously.
Stay-at-home mom (SAHM) depression
I really related to the following Facebook post by Mompreneurx3:
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Brigitte is a working mom based in Cape Town. Apart from being a working mom of two young boys, (7 and 4 months old) Brigitte also writes a Mom Blog called Fit Working Mom. The blog covers her journey through the challenges of being a working mom and also shares ideas, tips and “how to” video’s and articles on everything from fitness and weight loss, to helpful baby/mom-hacks and lifestyle topics. For Brigitte, the aim of the blog is to help and inspire other moms and to create a community of women who help and share ideas. You can also learn more about Brigitte here.