Not many Mother’s like talking about the topic of their Mental Health. It’s taboo, we’re supposed to have it all together for our children. We’re supposed to always be strong for them, they come first. Screw what we have going on as long as they’re healthy, it doesn’t matter what’s wrong with us. This is how most think right? But what about all those days we’re yearning for that alone time before we snap. Or when you lock yourself in a bathroom to get a couple of minutes of alone time and some much-needed silence. Single Mothers are at a higher risk for mental illness. Most times there’s a tremendous list of tasks for a single mother to balance, and sometimes mental and physical health becomes the last priority. In fact, single mothers are more at risk to develop common types of mental illness than are women who have partners.
To African-American woman mental health is mainly brushed under rug. It’s just something that isn’t focused on, not a priority. We’re raised to be strong and not share feelings or problems. We’re taught to ”keep it moving” push through whatever obstacle we face.
Some of the challenges faced by single mothers include:
- Staying emotionally and physically healthy and staying positive: This can be very challenging with all of the demands placed on a single mother. Getting to the gym and preparing healthy meals may take a backseat to work and parent-teacher conferences.
- Finding affordable, reliable and safe childcare: Too often, single mothers are forced to leave their children in less-than-ideal child care situations, or risk losing their employment. Older children may also wind up being the childcare provider for younger siblings.
- Finding time for adult friendships: Even if single mothers find the time, they may be too exhausted to enjoy time with adult friends.
- Working two or more jobs to make ends meet: Single parents and their children often live on less money than they did when they lived with a partner. Some single mothers may have to work an extra job because it provides health insurance benefits for their family.
- Coping with children’s behavioral problems: The single parent household can be stressful for everyone, and children may act out in response to the separation from a parent, moving to a new town or school, and adjusting to less time with their parent.
- Balancing time for work and children’s’ activities and events: Working several jobs is sometimes necessary, making it difficult to spend time with children and attend their activities.
- Managing relationships with ex-partners navigating co-parenting: After about the first year following a divorce, many fathers stop seeing their children on a regular basis—and sometimes altogether. That increases the pressure on single mothers and interferes with the child’s long-term adjustment. [Source]
For the last couple of months I’ve been dealing with severe depression. I locked myself in my room one day, told my kids to leave me alone. My daughter forced herself in and I yelled and cried for her to leave. And she said “What’s wrong?.” I didn’t have an answer for her because I didn’t know. I just knew I couldn’t breathe, my body felt heavy and my head was cloudy. All I wanted to do was sleep and bury myself in my room in the dark ALONE. I cried over the littlest things and my physical appearance was a mess. She wouldn’t leave even after I yelled at her, she wiped my tears and sat with me until I felt better.
That’s when I knew I needed help. I have amazing health insurance, but I knew that I wasn’t ready to go through traveling to talk right away. I started with Better Help, this app fit my needs because I just needed a stranger to talk to. My therapist ended up being a single mom and completely understood what I was feeling. An hour a week was all I needed plus I could do it in my pajama’s! I recommend this site to everyone. Its been about two months since starting and I feel a lot better. I think that talking to someone outside your family is always a good idea. A person that’s non-judgmental and can be used as sounding board.
“Your illness does not define you. Your strength and courage does.”- unknown.