When Motherhood Became a Cause for Depression

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. This is just my story about depression and what I do to handle it. 

I never thought depression will knock at my door. Ever since, I’ve always been the happy-go-lucky person who doesn’t take life seriously. I always have a cheerful, positive disposition and you will rarely see me crying or sad (unless I watch a tear-jerking movie).

When I found out I was pregnant, that’s the moment I started feeling bad and sad for myself. “It must be the hormones,” I said. As the months go by, I started to lose the cheerful side of me. 

“It’s post-partum,” every time I cry for no reason at all. I was able to get over it, but there’s always been a part of me that feels so empty.

When I gave birth to my second baby, I had to give up something I wanted so bad: law school. Being a mother entails sacrifices, no matter how hard or painful it is – and in my case, it’s also about setting aside that dream since I was six. I quit law school and became a stay-at-home mom. Little did I know that it’s the start of my worsening depression. 

I read somewhere that stay-at-home moms are more prone to depression. It must be true. Somehow, I have to drag myself up with whatever energy is left (even if I just woke up) because I know there are (little) people counting and depending on me.

Everyday for as long as I can remember, I wake up, do the chores, bath and feed the kids, bring them to school, wait for them as they finish their extra-curricular activities, prepare meals, read them a bedtime story, and put them to sleep. During downtime, I finish work and squeeze blogging if time permits. Whatever time is left for the day, I dedicate for myself. I purposely sleep late at night and rarely wake them early so I can have the house all to myself and enjoy peace (while I finish some chores). I feel good every time I accomplish something with the kids or see the house clean, but deep inside, there will always be this sense of longing – longing for something I can’t even put my fingers at.

Yes, I am at my worst. I stopped dressing up, I rarely get a me-time, and I am slowly losing myself. I cry at little things when no one is looking, I answer a few seconds after every time my kids call me, and I often find myself staring blankly outside the window. I’m like a timed bomb, waiting to explode. I used to fantasize about being alone, with no responsibilities to worry about, and just do whatever I want (then I hear my kids cry or fight to help me go back to reality).

Here’s the worst part: I HAVEN’T TALKED TO ANYONE ABOUT THIS.

For some reason, I haven’t shared about what I’m going through for the past years. A good friend of mine told me one time, “It’s a good thing you were able to come with us. You need this break.” I think that’s what we, moms need. A BREAK. We all need a break and put ourselves first. I need to prioritize myself first, so I can be more effective, more efficient, more stable, and less cranky.

There is still a stigma surrounding depression here in the Philippines, so I don’t know who and where to reach out. To be honest, I am scared to open up about it too, out of fear of being judged.

Nonetheless, I resorted to journaling and calligraphy to help me cope with depression. I find peace in writing, so I write every time I feel like bursting. I savor every second of peace and quiet at home to make me appreciate that there is more to be thankful for than be sad or mad about. I started making friends – mommy friends – who share the same stories and makes me feel that I am not alone. Slowly, I reconnect with myself to enable me to function fully. After all, what’s the use of being a perfect mother when I feel empty inside?

Depression is still there, but I’m slowly working against it. Until then, I will do my best to kick it out of my system. I need support to help me get through this. Moms like me who feel alone, lonely, and depressed, we all need support to get through this.

30 Comments

  1. Kim Reyes

    January 9, 2017 at 4:51 am

    Don’t worry because I am experiencing the same thing – and I thought I am crazy to feel sad when I should be feeling blessed to have my two kids around. I guess it’s work, taking responsibility of the family, and my husband being away for long periods of time all rolled into one big mess that’s making me feel this way. I wish there’s more support for moms. I mean, when I tried to tell someone about this, I was told that I chose to be a mom so I just have to deal with it.

    1. Ayi

      January 9, 2017 at 5:17 am

      Support is in short supply for moms 🙁 I was actually scared to tell someone about it since I don’t want to hear that “deal with it” line. At the end of the day, what I really want is for someone to understand me and what I’m going through. Mahirap din ah.

  2. Mommy Queenelizabeth

    January 10, 2017 at 3:00 am

    I think you are not alone with this kind of situation, esp. drepression. Its normal and its good that you are openly sharing this coz a lot of moms out there are even struggling. A stronger circle of support is needed for moms who are experiencing this. You’ll get through it 🙂

  3. Nilyn EC Matugas

    January 10, 2017 at 6:25 am

    I thought I was being really OA when I started staring at the wall, crying, after a month of giving birth to my son. My husband didn’t understand it, we used to fight a lot over this. And I have to agree, not all understands this kind of situation which is why most moms would rather just keep it to themselves. This post speaks out for all moms out there. I’m glad you’re able to find a way to knock depression out. I said a little prayer for you, sis.

  4. Suzie Timbreza

    January 10, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Hi Ayi! You’re not alone on this. I am also experiencing the same. I get sad easily and tend to break down whenever I feel hopeless. I will pray for you. You can always count on moms like us to give support in prayers. God bless you.

  5. mamaspeaksagain

    January 10, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Depression is real. My husband went through depression some 10 years ago and it was a difficult phase in our life. He hardly slept, cant eat and was literally crying. We sought professional help. He was prescribed medicine and went to therapy. He is fine now and off medine. I think the 1st step is acceptance that he needs help and he is sick. Family support is also important!

  6. Jen Ubongen

    January 10, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Early last year we transferred here in Sydney, and it was only the three of us (hubby, me, my 3 yr old son). No family, no friends. I am a stay at home mom too and I felt the same way and I’ve been feeling the same from time to time. Yung feeling na pagod na pagod ako, na ampangit ko, na parang nagmmidlife crisis ako. Sinabi ko yun kay hubby, and we decided na i will take a day off at least every 2 weeks. Kahit ilang hours lang, mall lang ako, kakaen ng walang magulo, makikiswipe sa CC ni hubby, hehe! ayun, nakatulong naman! after nun gora ulit! Akala ko nuon ako lang den yung nakakafeel ng ganito. It’s good to have a community like this so we can share thoughts and support each other. 🙂

  7. Rowena Wendy Lei 林露薇 (@animetric)

    January 11, 2017 at 7:09 am

    I agree, people who are cooped up at home a lot of the time seem to be more prone to depression.

  8. Ma.Me.Mi.Mommy

    January 11, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Break, outlet, and support group. I feel that those are what moms really need to function properly and to beat depression. Hope things get better. Hugs! 🙂

  9. Bernadette Siazon

    January 11, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I felt that too after I gave birth to my daughter during my maternity leave. Sleepless and left at home, that’s why. I get by with chocolates and Starbucks. Hugs Ayi 🙂

  10. Jerzee Benavente

    January 11, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Maybe I’m just lucky that amidst motherhood and all the crap of life, I didn’t experience depression. I get sad for a short time but I get to move on from it after a while… You know what Sis, the best support that you can get is from above.

  11. lhourdes mercadero

    January 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    You are not alone. I also experienced it few years ago and for some reason Im starting to feel sad, no energy, I always like to sleep which I think is not healthy. My husband told me to go out and meet my friends or we can just stroll/walk together sa morning. Pag mag-isa ka kase mas marami ka naiisip and feeling mo mag-isa ka. Minsan I still compare yung past sa ngayon which is mali.
    What I do now is I’m play with my daughter, nagluluto na uli ako, then I watch my favorite shows.
    I advise na maging open ka with your husband or to anyone that you know na makakaintindi sayo.
    Be strong lang.

  12. Nerisa

    January 12, 2017 at 3:43 am

    If there’s one thing I learned after giving birth is that post partum depression exist. Totoo pala ung nabubuang kasi nabinat. I think you need to have a very strong support on this, might be your parents or your hubby, so they can help you.

  13. Migs&Alaine Alejandrino

    January 12, 2017 at 8:03 am

    It would really be helpful to have a support group that you can share your struggles with. I am not yet a mom but I have been through a very depressing phase when my husband got sick for a year.

  14. Momma Mitch

    January 12, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    It’s important that we find an outlet that best suits us. In my case, it’s journaling, too. Hugs to you sis. Mahirap talaga maging WAHM/SAHM. Umaatake talaga yung “gloomy days” and not everyone understands how it really feels. Even with my husband, I don’t feel that he really understands what I’m going through sometimes… Kaya natin ito sis. Just keep the faith and find your own support groups. Mommy groups have somehow helped me cope with motherhood depression.

  15. gilian

    January 12, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    I feel you. 🙂 I cried it out most of the time and do many things to keep me busy until I learned how to embrace motherhood. Until God showed me that I am on assignment to make my family a priority. Then I felt better leaving all the great things I never had. 🙂 Pretty tough until now but it becomes easier when I embraced it and I asked God to help me find the joy in what I was doing because I came to a point where I just didn’t feel like doing anything at all.

    True that in the Philippines, nobody talks about it. That ‘nag iinarte’ lang tayo when we feel depressed. I go to American groups of Christian wives because they face that problem seriously. 🙂 The support of husband is also a great help. 🙂

  16. Anna “Mommy Anna” Plaida

    January 13, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Never experience yet, even there are times that I get tired easily taking good care of my son while I need to work the next day. But I know every mom will go through this one and can make it, super mom kaya tayo 🙂

  17. Nini Perez

    January 13, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Hugs to you, mummy! Find someone to support you. Hopefully, that can be your husband. I know it’s really hard to give up some of our dreams, but now that kids are there, perhaps we can look at the brighter side and find opportunities to make new ones. 🙂 I, too, have felt sad a few times. I’ve resorted to staying up late after the baby has slept because I felt like it was the only time I could do something for myself without anyone screaming, jumping or pooping at me. But it all passes. Maybe not so soon, but it will one day. Hang in there!

  18. May De Jesus-Palacpac

    January 14, 2017 at 1:32 am

    What I do to deal with depression is that I read the Bible and do calligraphy of God’s promises and Truth. I won’t lie, the emotions don’t go away, but my mind is stronger.

  19. Berlin

    January 14, 2017 at 3:42 am

    I am right now.feeling a little depressed. I am not my usual happy self. Good thing I have my 16month.boy who.always keep me company and happy at times. Depression is.here because I am pregnant and I am still nursing a baby. I havent told my mom yet nor my boys. I only talk about it lately on my blog. Perhaps that makes it extra hard. I only have my closest friends to make kwento of my tummy ache, nausea and sadness.

    I pray hard that God helps me fight this and accept the baby I am carrying now.

    1. Ayi

      January 15, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      Hi mommy 🙂 We can all get by with whatever we are going through. These are just trials we all can surpass. We are stronger 🙂

  20. Maria Teresa Gregorio-Figuerres

    January 14, 2017 at 4:25 am

    So nice to hear that you’ve taken positive steps to cope with depression. Please take care of yourself and seek professional help if you need to. Hugs, Mommy!

  21. mhaan.a-ds

    January 14, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Hugs to you sis. Iba talaga nagagawa kapag may taong nasasabihan ka ng tunay mong nararamdaman. I’m a sahm mom too and there are times I feel sad too. I make sure to go out once in a while to see my mommy friends or give myself me-time. Kaya natin yan! 🙂

  22. mumwrites (@vixquips)

    January 15, 2017 at 10:08 am

    I feel you sis. I also had post-partum depression and gets lonely from time to time, too. I have to agree that stay-at-home mums like us are more prone to depression, simply because life inside the house can sometimes be very taxing and can take its toll on our happiness. Adding the pressure of motherhood, along with the guilt that you cannot be a supermum to your child 100% of the time, make it even worse.

    Motherhood also entails huge sacrifice, and there are many times when we have to give up so many things dear to us to be better mums.

    The key, I guess, is to make sure you love yourself more and give yourself those well-deserved me-time so you won’t feel burnt out or depress. It also pays to talk to someone you trust from time to time to keep the load off your chest. And, yes, journaling and callligraphy sure are awesome way to ward off depression.

    Hugs sis, and go easy on yourself. :*

  23. queenofthebangs

    January 15, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Glad I read this! Like you, I also gave up my career to get take care of my little one and there are also moments that I feel depressed. I’m also a stay at home mon and I feel as if I’ve become one dimensional. I guess I need to go out more. Haha

  24. TweenselMom

    January 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I remember once, when depression hit me, I’ve created an anonymous blog and ranted all I can dun sa blog, cursed all I want, as in. And then I forgot all about that blog. Keeping mum makes depression more painful, pero ang nakakapagtaka, mas gusto mo din syang itago. It’s good that you have an outlet. Keep on sharing, I know it will help you bit by bit.

  25. Janice

    January 15, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I had post partum depression after giving birth to my two boys but it never lasted longer than the first 6 weeks. A strong support group is really important. Talk it out with your closest friends or family members. I know being a mom is tough because it entails a lot of sacrifices but I think the key is to learn to embrace it and to always have a healthy outlet.

  26. Liz Aquino

    January 15, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    A few months ago, I read something online about high functioning depression and somehow I felt that it somehow explained what I was going through. Being a single, working mom to a special needs child with a job that no longer makes me happy but it’s a means to paying the bills made me depressed and like you, I never talked to anyone about it. I tried to deal with it because I expect people to tell me to do so. And it’s true, we indeed need sometime alone, every now and then, if only to take a deep breath and to calm ourselves before we get back into the chaotic mommyhood journey. And yes, we as moms need to prioritize ourselves, too, for us to be able to be better.

  27. Neri Ann

    February 2, 2017 at 9:29 am

    It’s good that you were able to share it here on your blog sis. Mas maganda talaga kapag may outlet para hindi mapunta kung san man ung depression natin. I think its really normal for us moms lalo na if we are overwhelmed. I hope you are doing ok now.

    1. Ayi

      February 2, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Yes, thanks to the kind words from fellow supportive moms 🙂

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