If I had received a pound for every mother that asked the question “Will they take my kids away because I have depression”? I would be a very rich lady.
While some may believe the question to be far fetched ,it is one I completely understand, I too have questioned this.
The reason so many mothers are afraid to speak out and seek help when they are suffering from depression, is for fear that family, friends and the health professionals would become concerned over the welfare of the depressed mothers children.
How Can A Depressed Mother Care For her Children?
Depression is a mental illness and although it is treatable, if left without the correct intervention from medical professions it can and it does affect the children of the depressed mother.
A depressed mother will have mixed emotions and feelings towards their children, in the same day she may experience warmth and closeness to her child, yet resent and feel withdrawn only hours later. This is confusing for the child.
An attachment issue can become an obstacle, I know this all too well. A baby forms an attachment, a close bond with its main carer, usually its mother. When a mother can meet the babies needs in a consistent and warming way, this is known as a secure attachment. I struggled too form an attachment with one of my own daughters, due to not receiving treatment for postnatal depression. This still affects us many years later. Depression can damage your relationship with your child.
I could not be consistent in warmth because I felt so low. I felt at times I wished I had never had this baby, blamed her even for why I was feeling this way. I loved my baby with all my heart, yet the postnatal depression caused feelings of anger and resentment. I still live with the guilt of having these feelings.
“Mum, do you not love me” Are never easy words to hear from your child.
Depression leaves a mother feeling guilty. She feels lost, alone and frightened. Depression kills and mothers needs to speak out.
Having depression does not make you a bad mum. I have Bipolar and I have disclosed some rather “strange” behaviours and never once has any medical professional ever questioned my capabilities as a mother.
“Am I safe to be around my children?” I have asked. To be told each time of course I am. I am not a danger to anyone, but myself.
If you broke your arm would you be afraid to go and seek medical help, from fear of them taking your child away from you? Then why be afraid that because your head has broken they would automatically think you can not cope?
You love your child, you care for their basic needs despite having depression, no matter how hard it is to get out of bed each morning, or face the world we do it for the sake our children. It is them that keeps us fighting.
Please do not suffer in silence, you are a loving mother who sadly has fallen victim to this nasty illness. There are treatments available, they do work. You do not have take pills if you do not wish, there are talking therapies, which in some situations can work just as good as antidepressants.
The important thing to remember is that getting help is proving what a responsible parent you are. You are showing that you accept you are feeling strained and want support. By speaking to a health professional, you are putting your child first.
You do not have to feel this way, you and your child deserve better, so please speak out.
If you would like further details to specialist resources that can help you please contact me. There is always a professional ready to offer you support. Pick up that phone and make an appointment with your GP. They will not think you are a bad mother and unless you are putting your child at risk from neglect or abuse, then no, they will not take your child away from you.
Have You Suffered From Depression? Were You Afraid To Speak Out?