Edwin Hubbell Chapin was right when he said that “no language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and splendor of a mother’s love.” But what if depression affects the bond between mother and child? So what can be done to help?
Only a mother and her child know the bond that unites them. It is a strong bond, unbreakable when both are determined and the love is genuine. However, there are many external and internal factors that can affect this powerful bond.
There is no doubt about it, depression is one of the most terrifying illnesses of our time. This condition is characterized by the feeling that no one understands us and we are completely alone. And for a mother, this problem extends to her entire environment, especially her children, who experience it even more intensely than if they had to deal with it themselves.
The influence that parents have on their children determines their development. The mother’s mood has a powerful effect that will be extremely important in the first few days of the child’s life.
It is normal for mothers to experience anxiety after giving birth. But this can easily turn into psychological regression, which directly affects the baby. When this happens, it is important that the mother pull herself together and rise above the situation, but not everyone can do this.
If the depression lasts for a long time, the environment will affect the mother-child bond and the child’s development. The child will suffer and try to meet the demands of the parent before expressing its own needs.
Investigating the effect of depression on the mother-child bond
Donald Winnicott, a celebrated psychoanalyst, was one of the most important figures in the treatment of postpartum depression and its impact on children. In fact, his interest in the subject doubled when a woman visited him concerned about her child’s weight loss.
Winnicott saw that the mother was depressed. He also noted that it was almost a relief for the mother to be able to worry about her little one, as she didn’t have to think about the things she used to worry about for a while.
Through contact with the child, Winnicottt learned that the woman was being abused by her husband, who boosted his own self-confidence and happiness at the cost of his wife’s pain and suffering. Only when the child became aware of this situation did he start eating again.
Despite the improvement in the child’s situation, Winnicott insisted that the mother undergo psychological treatment, as this would have positive consequences for both her and her son.
What is it like to be a depressed mother?
Depressed mothers disconnect from the impulses in their lives and deprive their children of the affection they need, to the point that it can affect the child’s behavior. In this article, we told you the story of a child who stopped eating, but the effects can vary from child to child.
If children do not receive security and affection from their caregivers, they will develop a false self-image. This false self-image is a way of behaving and experiencing self that will cause them to adapt only to the wishes and expectations of others rather than to those of their true selves.
This whole process can leave them unable to interact normally with their peers and their environment. There are even known cases where babies stopped laughing. The gesture was simply no longer made to please others.
How can the bond between mother and child be improved?
Depression is a complicated disease that is difficult to overcome. Mothers who suffer from it need a lot of willpower and encouragement to overcome it. Showing affection for the child is helpful in any case.
It is also important to remember that we are just human beings. Just because you’re a mother now doesn’t mean you know everything. And even if all of the child’s physical needs are met, it is still not immune to contradiction. We must face our own problems and help our children to do the same.
It’s important to take depression seriously. To dismiss it as unimportant or to try to act like nothing is wrong is a mistake and will only make the situation worse. It is important to trust, listen, and understand.
And of course psychotherapeutic help is undeniably important. A good professional can help resolve the situation, prevent the depression from becoming resistant to treatment, and alleviate the suffering of both the patient and their loved ones, especially their children.
Depression can be a determining factor when it comes to the mother-child bond, and it can seriously affect the child’s development. It is necessary to treat it in the best possible way so that the children can experience all the happiness they deserve.