How To Manage Motherhood With Anxiety & Depression

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I was first diagnosed after I had my second child.  Postpartum depression. I was miserable and it was starting to affect my family life.  My doctor prescribed an antidepressant and it helped for a while.

Then I started feeling worse while taking it.  I was gaining weight and felt emotionless, like a robot.  So I took myself off of it and seemed fine.

Trying to get pregnant with my fourth child was wearing on me.  It was taking what seemed like forever. Then suddenly I lost someone very dear to me.  I started having nightmares and feeling very anxious about things that never bothered me before.  About a month later, I found out I was pregnant. This took my mind off of everything for a while.

After my daughter was born, I felt down, but just blamed this on lack of sleep and the craziness of having a new baby.  Then I saw myself becoming angry about little things.

I never wanted to get out of bed or go anywhere.  I worried about stuff I never had an issue with before.  I wasn’t sleeping and I felt horrible. I went to the doctor and cried.  I spilled my guts to her and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Medication again.

This time the meds really seemed to help.  We made sure to pick something that wouldn’t have the side effects I experienced before.  I was feeling better and better every day. When I started to feel like the medication wasn’t as effective, I took my doctors advice and began exercising.  This was a game changer. It really balanced me out.

Coping with parenting along with anxiety and depression is a real struggle.  You need to take care of yourself, and you also have your children dependent on you for care.  Sometimes you feel like the world is on your shoulders and you can’t bear the weight.

Mothers tend to put themselves on the back burner and ignore their own feelings.  The following is a few ways I found that helped me to manage motherhood with anxiety and depression.

1. Recognition

Recognizing and admitting that something is going on is the first step.  If you aren’t willing to come to terms with it and admit that you need some help, there is nothing that anyone will be able to do to help you.  

I realized that my symptoms were beginning to affect the kind of mother I was and I didn’t like it.  I finally went to my doctor and asked for help and that was the first step in the process.

2. Medication

I understand that some people are against medications and prefer all natural methods.  I tend to be the same way. I don’t like to take medicine if I don’t have to. But at the point I was at in my life, I was willing to try anything.  

When it comes to antidepressants, there are so many that work in very different ways.  And then there are side effects to consider. I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me the first time.  

But sometimes its trial and error for some people.  You have to keep changing meds if they aren’t working, and I get that this can be frustrating sometimes.  But please stick with it because when you find that one that works, you will feel so much better and realize it was worth it.

3. Exercise

This one helped me tremendously.  I was always one of those people that sort of rolled my eyes when people talked about how great exercise made them feel.  It was something I always hated. I was lazy and wanted nothing to do with it. Perhaps it was that I never found the right exercise for me.  

I used to try doing it at home and with no one to hold me accountable, I always gave up.  This time, I felt my medicine wasn’t helping like it had been, so I decided to try exercising.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were working out at a local gym so I decided to join them. We took a spin class and I really enjoyed it.  I tagged along again for another class that was a combination of spin and boxing and I had so much fun. I kept going with them and I just became hooked.  

I love the spin class and I never like to miss one if I don’t have to.  I know that sometimes with young kids, it may be hard to fit in an exercise session, but it truly is worth finding the time.  

I tend to go early in the mornings before anyone is awake in my house.  Or on the weekends when my husband is home with the kids. It has really helped me with my confidence and my mood.  I even started doing some workouts at home with my kids joining in. It’s all about finding what you really enjoy and what works best for you.

4. Support

I don’t think I would be as successful in dealing with my anxiety and depression without the great support system that I have.  My husband is my rock. He is for real the best person I could possibly ask for in my life.

Having the support of those around me has helped me in an enormous way.  When I am having an overwhelming day with my kids and I feel like I might tip over the edge, I know I need to walk away and take a timeout.  I let my husband know that I need a breath when he gets home, and he takes over with the kids.

This allows me to regroup and get my bearings again, without blowing up on anyone and then feeling guilty about it later.  If I need to run some errands but I am already having a rough day, I will ask someone to keep the kids while I go.

I learned that it is ok to ask for help and have accepted that I need it sometimes.

5. Essential Oils

This is fairly new to me but so far has helped a great deal.  I use an essential oil diffuser at night with calming scents like lavender and eucalyptus to help with my sleep issues.  I have also found a pillow spray that helps promote sleep, and I feel it works just like it says.

These have made a vast difference.  I have learned that when I don’t sleep properly, my mood is worse and everyone around me suffers.  Taking care of 2 little kids uses a ton of energy. You need all the sleep you can get.

6. Journaling

Another new coping mechanism that I have found that has been journaling.  I came across a pin on Pinterest that was a list of journal prompts for anxiety and depression.  I started following these when I felt I needed to and it really helps put things into perspective.  

It allows you to focus on the good things in your life and maintain a positive attitude.  Whenever I’m having a particularly down day, I pull out my journal and write. Which is also one of the reasons I started blogging.  It helps to talk about your issues, even if it’s just to yourself in a journal entry.

These are just some of the ways that I manage motherhood with anxiety and depression.  There are tons of other strategies that people can use to cope. You just have to be willing to try whatever it takes and find what works best for you.  

You have to learn to accept that you will still have bad days and that what works for one person won’t always work for you.  Parenting is hard enough on us mothers, then adding this to our plates, can sometimes make us feel like we are going to explode.  

Just know you’re not alone and it often takes time to find what works.  But once you do, you will feel a million times better about being a mother and about yourself.

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About the author:

Nichole is a SAHM of 4 kids, 2 teenagers and 2 toddlers, just trying to maintain her sanity.  When she is not wrangling kids (or sometimes even when she is), she enjoys pretty much anything that has to do with the outdoors…camping, swimming, the beach, gardening.  She likes to read, craft with my Cricut, and love anything Disney. You can learn more about her on her site

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