Maternal depression is a major public health problem in the United States, with an estimated 1 in 10 children experiencing a depressed mother in any given year. Professionals who work with mothers and children should be aware of its prevalence and its detrimental effects. (NCBI Resources)

I believed for 9 whole years that I am not a good enough mom.  I kept telling myself repeatedly that being a stay-at-home mom may not be the best thing for me, it’s best for my family, for my child. I must be able to stay happy with this job or others, especially my husband thinks of me. Still, I could not help burying that deep-down desire to have some individual identity of my own outside of motherhood. A mom friend of mine used to wake up crying every morning and always thought that she was just having a bad day. She tried medications and communicating. She finally saw a therapist and joined a school to dig herself out of the darkness.

Like me or my friend, too many American women experience emotional crises as they navigate motherhood. Hormones are often considered the key reason for compromised mental health in moms, most of the challenges come from society’s gender expectations and responses to motherhood. Following are key reasons responsible for impacting the mental health of new or old mothers.

Sleep deprivation

Lack of sleep is the second name for motherhood, and moms contended with the years of interrupted sleep. The fact that no one wants to acknowledge that they are exhausted. This certainly leads to mental health issues, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.


Mom guilt

Believe it not, moms are the most judged by society, by themselves. This guilt starts in pregnancy and grows only worse as family, in-laws, partners keep finding out flaws in mothers. Anything that goes awry with the child, mothers are to be blamed.  Moms are susceptible to feeling guilty all the time because they want to believe that they are the chief architects of their children’s lives.


Work-life balance

I read it somewhere that women are supposed to work as if they don’t have to mother, and they are supposed to mother as if they don’t have a career. These clashing and contradicting expectations take a psychological toll on women as millions of working moms sacrifice to balance each day. And whatever they miss, adds only to their guilt stock.

Discrimination at work

Women often face unequal pay or treatment. Work-life balancing already takes a toll, then mansplaining, and barriers to upward mobility create further mental health issues. Most organizational cultures reward men out of proportion, which can be very subtle and difficult to fight.

Those stretch marks and that unfit body

Body shaming is another challenge that moms face. Instagram is full of pictures of celebrity moms stunningly fit and without stretch marks. The whole world tells them with a grin – if they can, why cannot you! This whole scenario contributes to a lack of self-worth, self-loathing, and eating disorders.

Domestic violence and abuse

A significant number of moms face domestic violence, and financial, sexual, and emotional abuse every single day. Even if they decide to leave a toxic relationship, the psychological trauma lingers, and they may be easily triggered.

Single motherhood

Millions of American children are currently being raised by single mothers. Most single mothers accept sleep deprivation, stigma, conflict with an ex, and financial insecurity as a part of the deal. Minimum wage keeps many single moms below the poverty line – even if they are working full time! These hardships often trigger anxiety and depression. Single moms are doing a great job but at the cost of their mental health.