Working Moms More Likely to be Depressed

Filed under: Medical Conditions

A friend texted me the other day: "I spend my days taking care of everyone and everything," she said. "But who takes care of me?"

It's a modern mom's lament. And it's more serious than a pity-party. Consider these statistics from Working Mother:

  • 91% of working women surveyed said they had signs of depression.
  • One in five working women will experience depression in their lifetime.
  • Women are at twice the risk of developing depression as men.
  • More than a third of women of childbearing age exhibit symptoms.
  • But, only 40% of women with depression seek help.
New moms are bombarded with information about postpartum depression, but what many women don't realize is that depression can strike anytime. One mom, who started experiencing symptoms when her son turned two, said, "It was as if the minute I let my guard down, boom, I was hit. This darkness was just waiting in the wings."

What I've discovered about myself as a parent is that I'm more likely now than in my pre-kid days to compartmentalize feelings. If I don't have time for negative feelings, I put them away for a later date, but sometimes, they never get dealt with. And that can add up.

Part of the problem, says Working Mother, is that depression still carries a stigma. Women feel like there's something wrong with them if they can't manage their life, especially if that life is full of everything they ever wanted. But depression is a disease just like asthma or diabetes. Untreated depression can cause worsening emotional and physical symptoms. A doctor friend of mine says that she and her partners see 3-4 cases of depression and/or anxiety a day ... each. "It's very common," she says, "But it can be treated."

If you're not sure if you're just stressed out or depressed, take this quiz and read over the Defining Depression fact sheet. Then take your answers to your doctor to find out if counseling or medication could help you.

Have you been affected by depression since becoming a parent? And if so, what do you think contributes most to your symptoms?

How do you handle symptoms of depression?
I go to counseling.6 (8.3%)
I use or have used medication.15 (20.8%)
I try to make lifestyle changes, such as delegating responsibility and exercising.14 (19.4%)
I just try to ride out the symptoms.37 (51.4%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.