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Learning How to Parent with Depression

TMS Columbia Experts Offer Advice on Coping with Depression While Trying to Raise Children

Raising a family can be a wonderful, life-changing experience for many people. But parenting is a difficult job. People who are coping with a mental illness while also attempting to raise their children often face a myriad of obstacles and difficulties. Sometimes, their depression impedes or compromises their ability to function normally. But living with a mental illness while raising a family isn’t impossible. TMS Columbia experts Psych Associates of Maryland offers tips on parenting while struggling with depression in our latest article. 

Common Challenges Parents with Mental Illness Face

Remember That You Are Not Alone When it Comes to Facing These Challenges

mother with two young children

Along with the typical challenges that parenthood brings, parents with depression are faced with a variety of struggles when raising their children. Common symptoms of depression such as fatigue, irregular sleep schedule, irritability, and moodiness can cause someone to become removed from their children. For instance, one study found that mothers with depression were less likely to actively interact with their children. 

Dealing with the stigma of having a mental illness is also a common struggle among parents with depression. While our society has advanced in terms of its collective attitude toward mental health, there are still many people who hold negative beliefs about those with mental illness. Parents with depression may feel a heavier burden on their shoulders to become the perfect caregivers. They might feel like others are watching and judging them. 

Insurance coverage can also be tricky for parents with depression. For example, mothers who begin breastfeeding might want to switch anti-depressants. But if their insurance company doesn’t cover the new medication, the mother might have to consider whether or not they will stop breastfeeding. 

TMS Columbus: Expert Tips for Parenting with Depression

What Parents Struggling with Depression Can Do

mother and father teaching daughter to ride bike

Having depression doesn’t mean that you are destined to be a bad or inept parent. You can manage your mental health while also raising your children in a healthy environment. The TMS Columbus experts at Psych Associates of Maryland recommend these tips below:

  • Ask for professional help with parenting — Unfortunately, no one hands new parents an official guide on parenting when they start their family. But that doesn’t mean help isn’t available. Consider looking into obtaining professional help and guidance on raising your children and developing a parenting style that suits you.
  • Look into therapy for your child — As a child, it can sometimes be distressing to grow up in a household where one or both parents struggle with depression. A trained therapist can teach your child about depression, as well as effective strategies for managing their emotions.  
  • Seek treatment for your depression — If your depression has grown worse or your current management techniques are proving ineffective, you should seek professional help immediately. 
  • Don’t beat yourself up — Parenting is an overwhelming occupation. But there are little joys that often come with it. Pay attention to these moments with your children and the happiness that they bring you. 
  • Enroll your kids in after-school activities — After-school activities and programs are perfect places for kids to connect with their fellow peers while you recharge. 

Risk Factors for Developing Depression

Some Parents Are at a Higher Risk Than Others for Developing Depression

adult hand holding young child's hand

While parenting brings many joys to a person’s life, it can also take its toll on their mental health. A study conducted by Florida Statue University professor Robin Simon and Vanderbilt University’s Ranae Evenson found that certain types of parents had a higher risk of developing depression than others, such as parents of adult children, whether or not they lived at home, and parents who did not have custody of their children. Both men and women were found to have been equally affected by depression. This contradicts historical assumptions that females were more affected by the stresses of parenthood than men. Nonetheless, depression can still affect anyone regardless of gender or their unique family situation. 

Treatment Options for Parents with Depression

TMS Columbus Experts Examines Your Options

therapist comforts young woman

If you are looking for treatment for your depression, you have a variety of options, including:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
  • Support groups
  • Brain stimulations such as ECT or TMS

Seeking treatment is imperative for both your mental health and your child’s development. Parents with untreated depression are more likely to engage in negative parenting behaviors such as hostility or neglect. As a result, their children are more likely to develop behavior problems and issues with forming healthy relationships. 


Are you a parent who is struggling with depression? Contact TMS Columbia experts Psych Associates of Maryland to schedule an appointment today. Remember, having depression is nothing to be ashamed of, nor does it make you any less capable of following healthy parenting practices for your children.


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