Depression, highest for stay-at-home moms

Hurray. You made it to your baby’s twelve month well visit appointment.

Baby gets a small toy or a smiley sticker.

Mama gets a clean bill of mental health and a pat on the back.

During pregnancy and after delivery, many U.S. medical providers screen for postpartum depression (PPD). But after that one year mark, no one asks you the screening questions anymore. That’s a problem.

If you were anything like me, you felt prepared for PPD. You knew what to look for, which symptoms to report. But what about that P-PPD, what I call post-postpartum depression?!

What you weren’t prepared for was the crippling, seemingly “out-of-nowhere” depression and anxiety that happened after your child’s first year of life.

My child turned one. Does that mean I’m no longer at risk for depression and anxiety?

Wrong! You’re still at risk for depression and anxiety. You’re human.

grayscale photo of baby feet with father and mother hands in heart signs
Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on

And if you’re a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), apparently the risk of depression is highest.

In a 2012 Gallup poll cited in Scary Mommy, out of more than 60,000 U.S. women interviewed, 41% of SAHMs reported feelings of “worry” the previous day. A whopping 26% of SAMs reported “sadness,” compared to only 16% of working moms. Most frightening, a devastating 28% of SAHMs reported feelings of “depression” the previous day. Only 17% of working moms reported the same thing, similar to childless moms.

Why do you think SAHMs experience more “depression” than their working counterparts?

One reason SAHMs may report more depression, according to the Gallup poll authors, is that “formal employment”, or the earnings associated with it, has emotional benefits for mothers. Interestingly enough, employed mothers and employed childless women are better off emotionally than SAHMs.

What can we do about this disturbing statistic? 

  • Provide more emotional support to stay-at-home parents by recognizing their important contribution to society
  • Support low-income stay-at-home parents, who suffer the most, with more benefits and services
  • Offer employer-sponsored or subsidized low-cost childcare options, so parents can return to work and not stay at home if they so choose.
grayscale photography of baby holding finger
Photo by Pixabay on

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

You’re not broken — You’re becoming.

So flip that P-PPD perspective and repeat a healing mantra: I’m becoming not broken.

Are you in the 28%? Do you feel that shadow inside?

Shoo the shadow with talk therapy, medicine, and/or [fill in the blank]. You deserve more.

What’s your view from the bed today, bleak or bright?

8 thoughts on “Depression, highest for stay-at-home moms

Add yours

  1. Great post. My wife stays home with our 3 and her biggest concern I alway she’s constantly worrying about safety and health. It’s a constant weight bearing down on her. Thank you for sharing this information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s my pleasure – I hope a few encouraging words go a long way in supporting the important work parents do every day.

      I can relate to your wife worrying about the kids’ health. She’s not alone.

      Thanks for the love and visiting the blog. Feel free to let me know the kinds of posts you’d like to see on the sites or ones you find helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For parents it just seems like a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and anxiety which don’t help each other, they only make things worse.

        I really appreciate any parent, including you of course, that shares their experience. Having children is a wonderful and magical thing but the amount of effort and resources that go into it are unthinkable. I have found that writing helps me out so much even in thinking things out and working to be a better dad. I look forward to following your blog and reading future posts. In all honesty, anything where you are sharing your experiences even the smallest things helps and is greatly appreciated. Also, hearing about SAHM or SAHD experiences and perspectives helps me to better understand what my wife experiences every single day. On the flip side please let me know if you have any requests and if there is anything helpful I can contribute too. – Drew

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! You’re so right about sleep deprivation worsening or even leading to symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s a vicious, hard to break cycle.

        I applaud you for being such a caring dad and husband who wants to empathize more with your wife so you can support her. I think coparenting is the way to go. Your wife and kids are very fortunate to have you as their champion. Keep doing what you’re doing!

        I appreciate your feedback, thanks again! And Happy Mother’s Day to your wife and happy early Father’s Day!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I found out I had post partum at one of those screenings (of course, confirmed later with my doctor). Although many of my struggles had to do with how unwell pregnancy made me, most of my depression steamed from the way family and friends treated me after I didn’t return to work. The fact that a person’s worth is determined by their “hustle” today is pretty sad. It would be awesome if we could support stay at home parents better, but sadly, our society doesn’t value family the way it once did. Maybe if more people spoke out like you, it could change. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So well put, Kamber. It’s so sad stay-at-home parents don’t get the recognition and respect they need and want, especially from their own family and friend circle. It’s very sad. The choice to stay at home to raise your family is an admirable lifestyle choice/vocation. I applaud you! Your kid(s) is/are lucky to have you!

      Liked by 1 person

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