Friday, February 15, 2013

Mother, Child and Depression

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."
These are a few words said by Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). Mom is the first word uttered by a child, the guardian angel "Mom" is the sole source of love and affection to the child, and the security and warmth of her lap remains there for a long time, even if she is not there, giving us strength and urge to live when we are need it most. The centre of his life is his mother, so, her love, care, smiles, tears, anger, frustration, depression, prayer... affect the child. A child's intellectual and social development flourishes closely around his mother, influenced by her immensely. A cheerful mother makes everything seem so perfect for him, in the same way the behaviour of a depressed mother may give an impression that he is unwanted and he is not able to make her happy. That creates confusion in a child's mind about his worthiness and he also may become depressed.

Depressed mother's depressed child and a bleak future...
Research studies show that parental depression is a major risk factor for anxiety, depression and troublesome behaviour in the children and make them violent at the same time. Children of depressed mother are more vulnerable to be victimized by depression than those of normal mothers. The children of mothers suffering from depression during postnatal period are found to be fighting with their peers more often and resulted in injuries followed by suspension from school. "Although it appears that violence is not an inevitable outcome of postnatal depression, it is one that is made more likely under conditions of continued adversity. Early and recurring exposure to maternal depression puts children at risk for the overt pathway toward serious violence" says researcher Dale F. Hay, Ph.D., of Cardiff University. The severity of mother's depression has more impact on the child than the chronicity of the mother's depression no matter what is the age of the child. The reason being, a child finds it difficult to regulate attention and emotion from a mother who is depressed. The feeling of lack of love and attention makes the child angry and inattentive, so the propensity to violence increases. The loss caused by his psychological condition is so serious that the whole future of this depressed and angry child remains at stake. A mother's depression strangulates his childhood's innocence and faith, and his whole future may be ruined afterwards.

Psychological help for both mother and child is necessary
This is a strong acknowledgement of environmental influences on the child's mental health. The depression in the mother or in the family should not creep into the child. The importance of psychological help under the given circumstances is beyond question. Both mother and child should be treated with medications of depression, like therapies and antidepressants, for obvious reasons. Children respond more quickly to environmental changes and psychological therapies. If a mother is depressed due to problems in the marital relationship, it is important for the child's normal growth that the couple considers psychological help for the same. For example if a father does not protect the child from his mother's assaulting and do not cover up for the attentions he needs from his mother, the child may turn to a timid and panicky person who would be frightened by darkness, a close door, nightmares and a list of similar aspects. The connotation more simplified is, the depressed mother needs to treat herself for the sake of the child. Taking antidepressants, something like Xanax, during the postnatal months prove to be helpful in cognitive and temperament development of the child. At the later stage, if the depression continues with the mother, psychological therapies from a psychiatrist becomes very important for the normal mental health of the child.

My Mom is the best!
If you ask a child who is the best, he would answer instantly with a big confident smile, "My Mom is the best!" A simple memory of the mother brings smile to his face. A mother's depression may take away that precious smile forever. Let every mother save that smile, and save the future of the child.

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