Wednesday, 26 October 2011

How Do You Stop Your Depression Effecting Your Child?

One of the things that worried me in my pregnancy was how my depression would affect my child when it was born. Would I have post natal depression? Would that stop me bonding with my child? I was quite fortunate that I didn’t have PND but I have had bouts of depression since she has been born.

I have days when I don’t want to leave my bed let alone the house and so far that really hasn’t affected BG too much. We tend to have a duvet day and I make sure we have fun and she doesn’t get bored or feel neglected. Even on my lowest day I manage to hide it from her or at least I did until this afternoon.

Today started at really well, we went to play group, did some shopping, back some cakes and then BG did some painting and that’s where it went downhill. BG doesn’t often do painting at home we have a very small space and there isn’t really anywhere for her to do it without getting it everywhere. BG can’t just use a paintbrush she has to get her hands in and make the biggest mess ever.

She kept asking to do some painting so I gave in and got them out for her, asking her not to do hand painting and just to use the brushes. Of course she ignored my and within 30 seconds she was elbow deep in paint. I turned around to get BG another piece of paper when she walked to the coffee table to get a wipe for her hands, she leant on the sofa with her hands and left two paint handprints on the sofa, this is when I burst in to tears.

I just sat on the sofa sobbing staring at these two greeny brown handprints. I reached for the wipes to start cleaning the mess when BG who was still covered in paint started crying. So there I am trying to comfort BG without getting paint anywhere else while still wiping the handprints off.

Depression sucks big time!

We finally got cleaned up and the handprints are gone and we sat and had a big cuddle until we both calmed down.

As she gets older it’s getting harder to hide the crazy. I don’t want BG to be the girl with the strange mum that doesn’t leave the house and cries all the time. How do I stop this affecting her?

I can’t make it just go away; there isn’t a ‘cure’ for it. She’s too young to understand what’s going on, she just thinks she’s made mummy sad and that in its self makes me sad.

I don’t know what to do. 

Image: Master isolated images /


  1. No idea. Wish I knew! Except for be honest and open and talk about it. We used the black dog books and my kids seemed to get it a little by 'personifying' the depression, and by talking about it as an illness that needs to be managed.

    And then I just worked on learning ways to manage it - I read books by Tolle and did meditation (which I don't do any more) and I found that, for me, writing was the answer - proper creative writing. Creativity is so important.

    And learn not to beat yourself up - she'll be learning good things as well as bad, but I think the real damage comes from things that are hidden from children, and when parents don't give them lots of demonstrative love.


  2. Oh love, if it's any consolation I'd have cried too (after shouting a lot). BG is at an age where she won't remember a great deal. She'll be at nursery soon too, then school, so you'll have a bit of time to yourself to do all those things that are supposed to help depression, like exercise or relaxing in the bath. You can always ring me too xxx

  3. Oh I feel for you!I would definitely have cried although I probably wouldn't have been brave enough to let the painting happen in the first place.This is the first time I have visited your blog ( came via BritMums )and I am assuming you have been to see your doctor about your depression? For goodness sake, don't struggle alone.I went through PND and the most difficult thing I ever did was go and get help, but it was the best and bravest thing I did too. I just had a melt down in the surgery. But I got there in the end. Thinking of you. Don't worry about BG. She will always love you because you are her mummy.I have written to my boys in a journal which I will give to them one day, in the hope they can see that I always loved them even when I was in that dark place. xx

  4. Sending big hugs honey.
    It worries me too. I feel like I'm walking a tightrope sometimes. I have days when I think I'm 'over' PND, and others when the crazy takes over.
    I think all you can offer BG is your love and honesty. It won't be frightening if you tell her 'Mummy's feeling down and needs cuddles today'.
    I found a psycho-therapy group really helpful. Are you getting enough support?
    Plenty of children grow up with parents who have an illness/disability. It's a fact of life. Don't beat yourself up about it.
    As long as you're not standing at the school gates in your underwear, I'm sure she won't be embarrassed by you!
    And hopefully as she gets older the PND will lessen.
    D x

  5. As she gets older, be honest with her. I think it is only scary for a child if they don't understand what is going on. They start to think they must be to blame for mummy's sadness, so talk to her about it in a language she will understand and it will make it all a lot easier for her. She appreciate your openness too. Hugs xx

  6. Bless you hun, I have days like that and how I am feeling at the mo I would have cried too. It's the pits when instead of seeing a solution you just see the tears. You're not alone at all and it sounds like you are doing well, but like others have said, if you talk about it with her she will understand better and then it will be normal in the sense that she can understand that sometimes mummy is sad but that doesn't mean you are sad with her and you stioll love her! xx

  7. I think you handled things amazingly well by the sound of it. If it had been me I would have screamed and shouted and then cried, felt guilty, cried more and left the handprints there. You can only ever do your best which you obviously are, and sometimes remembering how well you ARE doing goes a long, long way. Be gentle with yourself and keep doing what you're doing x