“Having kids—the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings—is the biggest job anyone can embark on.” —Maria Shriver
The above quote completely supports the fact that parenting can be a tough task! You must have heard about the postpartum disorders. Postpartum disorders are one of the most common disorders related to mental health. But, have you imagined mothering with a mother being a patient of mental illness? Having a baby is considered one of the biggest happiness for women. However, this happiness comes with a huge responsibility for raising children.
Motherhood can be really challenging for mothers. And no doubt motherhood equally affects mental health as it does physical health. Being a mother is a life-changing event in the life of parents, especially a woman. Women not only undergo psychological changes but also physical changes. Motherhood is a tough task in normal cases and mothers with mental illness make it much worse.
“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”—Sophia Loren, we can not agree more with the above quote. Motherhood can be really tiring for women especially mentally. If this the case for normal mothers, what about those women who are already suffering from some kind of mental illness.
This article will brief you about the journey of motherhood of those women who has some mental illness.
Stigmatization related to Mother with Mental Illness
There are a lot of stigmas attached to women being a mother if she is suffering from some mental illness. People usually think that she won’t be able to conceive properly or she won’t be able to take care of her pregnancy or she is an unfit mother for a child. Basically, people usually presume that women suffering from mental illness will not be able to take care of the baby and should not be allowed to conceive.
There are already a lot of preconceived notions about mental health in India. Anyone going to a therapist or a psychiatrist is considered as “mental” and unfit for society. People do not have mental awareness due to which they consider issues like anxiety, depression the same as some extremely serious mental health conditions.
One cannot imagine what stigmas people attach with mothers with some mental health condition no matter what really is the disease. There is no doubt about the fact that if someone is suffering from a serious mental health condition, shouldn’t plan a baby as parenthood comes with a huge responsibility. And one cannot just put the life and future of a baby at stake.
However, one should not judge a woman having a mental condition trying to have a baby after she has got a green signal from the doctor. One can conceive and become a parent even after some mental illness. We as a society have no right to judge someone. On the contrary, we should help and be more sympathetic to such women. One cannot take away the right from a woman of being a mother if it is medically approved and safe for the baby.
The struggles of a mother with mental illness
Researches have shown that a mother with some mental health condition seems as normal as a usual mother. Mothers always try that their mental health condition does not affect her baby. She tries to raise her child just like other parents and does her best to give them a normal environment. Usually, a mother with mental illness takes heavy drugs to avoid any kind of trouble for their child. Parenting with mental health problems of such women depends upon the type of disease they have. However, such mothers face a hard time raising their child as they are highly misjudged by society.
Due to the fear of losing the child, mothers with mental illness try their best to raise their children perfectly and hide their illness. They usually remain low in energy as they take heavy medicines and antidepressants. They spend most of the time with their kids in bed.
Some may also appoint a nanny for their children. However, one cannot claim that children of such women must have childhood issues, no this is not the case always. Just keep in mind, all these factors depend upon the disease the mother has.
Mothers suffering from anxiety and depression can control themselves if given proper medication and guidance. If you want to know more about postpartum depression and parenting with depression.
In some cases, it is seen that there has been an improvement in the mental health condition of women after having a child. Thus, parenting can have positive effects on some women. However, some women can feel more depressed while mentoring their children as they always assume that their illness is an obstacle for healthy nurturing for their children. In such a case, one should always seek immediate medical help.
What we can do to help mothers with mental illness? First and foremost we definitely have to increase awareness about mental health and educate ourselves about it. One should stop stigmatizing such women. We should support them and understand them as our actions can completely ruin their lives. According to studies, most women lose custody of their children if they are suffering from some mental condition.
Thus we should help such women who are trying to be mothers. We should also be sympathetic towards their children and treat them equally as normal children. There is a definite need to create a safe space for such women where they can fearlessly express themselves. We should encourage them and help them to fight their battles
Mothers also take strict care of themselves and visit their therapists regularly and follow their guidance religiously. They should always stay connected to their children and talk to their children about their illness. This will only help them to raise their child better. Mothers should not shy from taking help from outside. Families of such mothers should be extra careful and protective. They should act as constant help throughout their journey of motherhood.
Last but not least they should never lose hope in coping with their struggle with motherhood and illness. If they will try they will always be able to strike a balance!