Supermoms and Depression: Do Working Moms Have it Easier Than Stay-At-Home Mothers?

Angela Jenkins

| 3 min read

Being a pregnant, full-time working mom of almost two now, I know what it can feel like to be overwhelmed and exhausted. I also wish I could term myself a “Supermom” who does everything, and everything perfectly, because I know there are some moms out there who succeed at doing this. But being a Supermom may not be all it is cracked up to be, as a new study indicates.

To Work or Stay at Home?

Here is what researchers found:
  • Statistically, working moms have a lower depression rate than their stay-at-home counterparts.
  • However, working moms who think they can be supermoms have an increased risk of depression.
  • Working moms who know they have to achieve a work-life balance are less likely to suffer from depression.
  • Depression signs were apparent in both working moms and stay-at-home moms when they thought they had to be or could be a Supermom.
The results surprised me because being a working mom and going back to work three months after my daughter was born was not the best experience I have ever had. I missed being with my daughter each moment and constantly wondered what I was missing out on. The exhaustion and delirium I experienced when she was 6 months old was one of the hardest things I have faced as a mother. Of course, that eases up over time, I got some rest and got used to being back to work.
But I can see how stay-at-home mothers have an increased risk of suffering from depression. There is no break from the baby throughout the day and if the baby is colicky, sick or high maintenance, that can be pretty intense. Also, the feeling that “I am at home and the house needs to be cleaned and everything needs to be in its place” can be overwhelming when caring full-time for a baby.
The bottom line here, whether you’re a stay-at-home or working mom, is that it is best for all of us moms to find that balance and know that it is okay not to be a Supermom. We can still be really great mothers by not accomplishing everything on our to-do lists on a daily basis. I believe our bodies and kids will thank us for that!

Signs of Depression

New mothers often experience the baby blues right after the baby is born. Women’s bodies go through an incredible amount of hormonal changes after delivering a child, so this is very common. The symptoms usually go away after a couple of days or weeks. The signs include:
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Crying
  • Decreased concentration
  • Trouble sleeping
Postpartum depression is a bit different because the symptoms are more intense and last longer (up to one year or more if not treated), interfering with the care for your baby. These symptoms include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swing
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby
It may be embarrassing to you to admit that you may have postpartum depression. The important thing to remember is that this is treatable and curable and your doctor needs to be contacted if you experience any of the depression symptoms listed above and they:
  • Don’t fade after two weeks
  • Are getting worse
  • Make it hard for you to care for your baby
  • Make it hard to complete everyday tasks
  • Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Here are some signs, symptoms and causes of clinical depression and how to get help.
Did you experience any postpartum blues? If so, how did you cope with it?
Resources: Science Daily; Mayo Clinic Photo credit: Allogist

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.