Before the hummingbird, I could disappear into my head and throw all the pity parties I wanted. After the hummingbird, I have to try and keep it together.
It can be really hard to do. There have been a few times when she’s asked me why I’m so sad. Then she’ll do something to get me to smile and ask me if I’m still sad. I tell her no and thank her for making me feel better but the truth is I’ll feel even worse that she noticed.
But like I’ve said before, just because you become a parent doesn’t mean that your life outside of your kids just shuts off.
In some ways I think it may be a good thing to have the hummingbird see that I’m not always smiley and happy. That it’s okay to show all kind of emotions.
I have so much guilt though.
I know that when I go through my phases of depression, I’m not as present with my daughter as I should be and that makes me feel like the worst mother ever.
Add in the Postpartum PTSD I’ve been trying to come to grips with since my daughter was born and I feel like I’ve missed out on some really great times with the hummingbird because I was lost in my own thoughts and trying to battle feeling so fucking depressed.
Then I started thinking about what I would tell someone going through the same thing which made me see things a little differently. Although sometimes it can be hard to practice what you preach, it made me see that I was being way too hard on myself, which is what I do best.
These are the things I would tell another parent dealing depression…
1. Stop beating yourself up.
2. You’re not a terrible parent.
3. You need to do what you have to do to deal with depression in your own way and you’re not horrible if you have to take time for just yourself to try to heal.
4. If your depressed, it’s okay for your child to see that you may be feeling down. If needed, try to explain it to them in the simplest terms that they can understand.
If I’m having a particular rough day with depression and anxiety, I’ll let my 4 year-old know that mommy is feeling sad but it has nothing to do with her. Or I’ll tell her I’m not feeling good but mommy will be okay.
5. Do not under any circumstances feel like you’re failing your children when going through a depressive episode.
6. Sure, you have kids but you need to take care of YOU. A happy parent equals a happy child.
They will be learning more and more about the real world as they get older and having them see you depressed will be the least of your worries because holy shit, the world can be such a fucked up place. Oy!
Now, I just need to start taking my own advice.
If you have depression, do you have any advice on how you’ve dealt with depression and your children?