A woman’s life transitions significantly when she gives birth to a child. Her priorities shift to accommodate the needs of the newborn. Since newborns require their mother’s assistance quite often and to notable extents, it can substantially impact the time a new mother has to tend to her own needs. If continued unchecked for long intervals, this can take a toll on the physical and mental health of the mother. Postpartum depression is very real.
However, in usual cases, the time commitment with a regular child decreases as the child grows and embraces adulthood and independence. One case where the usual decrease in time and attention requirements of a child does not come with the passage of time is when the child is differently-abled. Shuchita Dua, Clinical Head at Mom’s Belief, experienced Psychologist and Behavioural Training Expert, explains and sheds light on post-natal depression and how to overcome it.
Differently-abled children live a considerably distinct life than other children their age. This is because their cognitive and other abilities grow and work at a pace that is not similar to others. Their needs in terms of parental attention and care, too, are accentuated because of this.
While parents naturally wish their children the best and do everything possible to tend to them with the heartiest of intentions, it cannot be denied that having a specially-abled child can take a major toll on the mental and physical health of the parents. The family of a child with special needs has to bear several costs, not only in terms of finance but also in terms of time and health to tend to the requirements of the child. Additionally, while the problem being faced by the child is widely recognized by the world, people seldom take note of the hardships faced by the family.
In a scenario like this, it is easy for the parents, especially the mother of a differently-abled child to fall prey to mental health problems such as depression due to excessive stress and workload. Having to tend to the child all day can lead the parent to feel burnt out or neglected, which sooner or later can manifest itself as a physical or mental problem in the individual. To avert the possibility of the same, experts suggest some measures that mothers of children with special needs can take. We have discussed them below.
Curb The Post-Natal Depression
Try And Make Time For Yourself
Often, stress and sadness amplify in the face of neglect. As discussed, it is common for parents of differently-abled children to overlook their needs to provide for the needs of their children. However, parents should take note of the fact that they cannot pour from an empty cup, and thus it is critical for them to take care of themselves alongside their children. To overcome the problem of neglect, parents should set aside some time for themselves regularly. This time, they should use to introspect on their feelings and validate and support them. Sometimes, simply clearing out your thoughts can help uplift one’s spirits and prevent their mental health to worsen to the point of contracting depression.
See A Therapist
Voicing your feelings and frustrations is a long-established method of improving mental health. Parents of children with special needs tend to sidetrack their emotions to be strong for their child at all times. However, one cannot deny that they, too, are humans and have their share of stress and frustration that needs to surface from time to time to protect their mental health. Seeing a therapist can greatly help in this regard. The professional can not only help you to surface and process your feelings in a healthy way but can also help to point out any rising cause of alarm timely.
Exercise And Meditate
Knowing that parents of special needs children have to be present and ready to help at all times, it is essential for them to always maintain optimum health. Lifestyle changes are key to curing any physical or mental problem. Exercising and meditating regularly can drastically alleviate the physical and mental health of a person. It can also give you that extra boost of energy and calm that can always come in handy in the life of a parent.
Society, at large, has come forward to be inclusive of the needs and problems of differently-abled children in recent times. However, the needs of the parents and families of these children are often overlooked not only by society but sometimes even themselves. There is an ardent need for parents of differently-abled children to take measures to protect their mental and physical health to be there for their child. Depression is commonly highlighted in mothers of children with special needs. To curb the possibility and intensity of the same steps should be taken by the mothers. A few things that they can do to help their case is to ensure some time for themselves each day, see a therapist if the need arises and support a healthy lifestyle.