Moms Who Cry: Why Depression is Hard for Mothers
Just barely a week back, Kate Spade – a successful fashion designer, businesswoman, founder of a renowned brand, and a mother – commited suicide. Her husband confirmed that she suffered from depression and anxiety for many years before this final act.
While reading this article loudly, one of my friends asked, “why would someone like had her who have it all want to commit suicide?” Comments in this articles asked, “why didn’t she ask for help?” While this is something I cannot answer on her behalf, I do know from first hand experience how hard it is to become a mother (successful or otherwise), suffer from depression, and ask for help.
Mothers don’t have it easy. We are homemakers, shakers and movers of our children’s lives, and so much more. And when we suffer depression, it triples the gravity of the hardships we are experiencing. Below are some reasons why it is hard for us mothers to suffer from this mind-crippling disorder:
1. WE ARE EXPECTED TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE EVERYTHING: We have a culture that celebrates mothers for being able to do-it-all, including the ability to handle life with a flair. This culture, whilst positive, makes it harder for us mothers to admit to ourselves that we are having a hard time coping, and to seek help or ask for support when we are expected to do otherwise.
2. …AND THE EXPECTATIONS ARE EVER RISING: Aside from the basic expectation of being able to do it all at home, mothers of today are also working or has a business or advocacy of some kind, and we are also expected to excel in it. If you have Instagram or Facebook, you’ll see mothers being able to travel with their children, mothers of ‘achievers’ and mothers maintaining their looks, making us depressed mothers question ourselves more on why we are unable to keep up.
3. MOTHERS CAN’T JUST BREAK DOWN WHEN DEPRESSED: When I was 16, I coped with depression by sleeping and slumping all the time. However, as a mother, I know that my children needs me so I keep on moving and working despite how I feel. I also try as much as possible to not pass on ‘the mood’ to my family. While there are imperfect days of when I cry, I try my best to not break down, not when so many little lives look up to me. I am also part of my partner’s support system, so I need to keep my strong front so that he can remain strong too.
3. MOTHERS HAVE SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR THEREFORE THEY SHOULD BE HAPPY: Once, when I told a friend that my depression may be getting worse again, I was asked, “but why? Why when you have children, a partner and a good life?”. This is one of most misunderstood things about depression, that it can be without a why, that it can just be there no matter how perfect life can get for those who have it. Depression can get so intense that it can overshadow all the beautiful reasons in your life.
The statistics on maternal depression is blurry in the Philippines. While it is reported by the National Center for Mental Health in 2015 that 1.7 per 100,000 of females suffer from depressive disorders, these are just figures of reported cases with no fine line to distinguish mothers. Every once in a while, a prominent person, like Kate Spade would commit suicide and this would raise attention on this underrated disorder for a while, only to be buried again with the deceased. With the lack of resources on depression much more on tailored resources for mothers, we have to be more conscious of those needing support but don’t know where to find it.
For moms going through these, know that depression is a trickster and it will make you believe that things will never get better. But it will. I promise you it will because it did for me. So lift your head high and hang in there momma! And if you need support or just want to vent, I created a Facebook group called ‘Moms Who Cry’, for us to help each other out. You can also send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.