Attachment Parenting and Depression

Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Having buy viagra overnight delivery a supportive partner in parenting is the best ally when dealing with depression.

This has been one of the most difficult posts for me to write. Partly because I find it hard to define how I parent while I am working through depression and partly because depression makes it difficult for me to write anything. Most days I neither want to get up nor do I want to do much of anything once I am up. When I come home all I want to do is lay on the couch or in my bed and just exist within myself. If it weren’t for one very important and demanding area of my life that is probably where you would find me – but Little Man insists on being taken care of. There is also this little nagging physical condition that insists that I get up and eat or drink – pregnancy.

I have been back and forth with depression through various stages of my life – high school, college, after Little Man’s birth and now currently while pregnant with Little #2. This current go around with depression has been the most challenging and at the same time it has been the time that I really have tried to fight for control of myself. I can’t actually curl up into a ball and forget about everything because I have someone else who needs me. Our choice to “shift-parent” forces the role of sole caretaker on me daily from 6pm to 1am and there isn’t anything I can do to avoid it. My decision to raise our son in an attachment parenting model makes it even harder to ignore my responsibilities as a parent – because I choose to respond to his needs as they arise.

Little Man in the swing he spent much of his day in before I found AP

Right as we brought Little Man home I began to feel detached from the situation.. I was having difficulty breastfeeding, I felt like a failure as a parent and it was just easier to let other people take him and leave me to be alone with the pump. Pumping round the clock did not do my mental state any justice. I would hold my son only for the time that it took to give him his bottle and then put him back in his swing, wash the bottle and repeat the pumping process. I continued to sink lower and lower into myself and missing out on most of the joys of parenting in those early days. It was only by chance that I was introduced to an article[1] on Breastfeeding Moms Unite that got me thinking this isn’t what parenting should be.

I made the decision to find help and to work to fix what I didn’t like about my parenting with Little Man.  I finally found the resources I needed to fix my issues with breastfeeding and to bond properly with my then three month old.  The more I learned about attachment parenting, the more I learned about myself as a parent.  As I worked through those issues and realized that I had a purpose, I drifted out of my depression and into a productive relationship with my child.

Fast forward to August of this year when I found out that I was pregnant with Little #2, an addition that we desired as a family and back into depression I fell.[2] At first I felt as if I couldn’t connect emotionally to my growing baby and the longer I let this feeling continue it began to encompass my relationship with Little Man as well. I was not giving him the same attention and authentic affection that had become the core of our relationship. This time I was more proactive in seeking help because I was already looking at my life and parenting through the lens of attachment parenting, I knew something was wrong earlier and sought help.

I’ve had to rethink my ability to be supermom and to do everything all the time. I chose not to start my treatment with medication and to try counseling first. [3] I began weekly counseling sessions to discuss my feelings and to realize that I did need to take care of me as well as care for Little Man and the new life I was growing. My guilt over not being able to love my children in the way that I wanted to became the focus of our sessions. I knew the parent I wanted to be, I just needed to understand how to balance my life in order to become that parent.[4]

Attachment parenting is a choice, I can either continue to parent this way and do my best to fight the depression or I can let depression win and stop parenting in this way. I do think that attachment parenting is about more then just a parenting method. It creates an awareness of self and others. I doubt I would have recognized my need for help if I didn’t have AP as a mirror to look at myself.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 13 with all the carnival links.)

  1. [1] This particular article made me cry when I read it. Because at that time I was almost one month into motherhood and I did not have the support system that I have now. It made me look further into Melodie’s site and eventually set me on the path I am on now.
  2. [2] Depression does not make sense as to what triggers it or the times that it appears in people’s lives.
  3. [3] Not every person with depression is able to deal with their particular symptoms without the aid of medication. The important thing to remember is that you need to do what is right for you and to consult your medical professional for help.
  4. [4] I have had to realize that the parent I want to be – isn’t always possible with the reality of my daily life. I’ve had to come to terms with this and learn to love the parent that I am able to be.
This entry was posted in Parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Attachment Parenting and Depression

  1. What an incredibly honest post! Having experienced minor depression myself on and off, I have had a small taste of what you’ve gone through. You are a strong, brave woman and mama, and I admire you.

  2. Ellie says:

    You are not alone friends and family are here for you. We love you

  3. Wow, thank you for writing so honestly and bravely. You’re going to reach so many other parents with your story. Even not in the midst of depression (which I agree is a horrible, horrible place to be in), I sometimes doubt the strength of my love and attachment to my kids. We parents can feel guilt over pretty much anything, right? What stops me in my doubting tracks is seeing the loved and loving way my children respond to me. Your children are so blessed to have you as their mother, with your awareness and perseverance and love.

  4. This was an amazing post. Incredibly honest, deep, and full of insight. I really admire you for writing it.

    I enjoyed hearing how AP strengthened you and brought you some clarity and peace. Sometimes our choices can stress us out more (because of expectations) and sometimes that can liberate us. I admire – wholeheartedly – all mamas who manage to pick themselves up each morning and love their children in the midst of depression. I haven’t been depressed yet as a mama, but I struggled with depression all the time throughout my life, and I often wonder how I will cope when (not if) depression rears its head again. You are a great inspiration. No rose-colored glasses, no hands over your ears, just honest and true living through it.

    You are wonderful, mama. Simply wonderful.

    Hang in there.

    • Thank you for your support. I’m definitely aware that my perspective on my parenting has helped me tremendously. I hope that if you do find yourself battling depression again that you use your resources and allow your love to guide you as I have.

  5. Jona says:

    Thank you so much for sharing so openly about this journey. It’s so hard to remember, sometimes, how important to our parenting it is to take care of ourselves.

  6. Hannah says:

    Our first pregancy was a (welcomed) surprise. I was so scared about being pregnant that I didn’t even want to talk about it until I was about 20 weeks. While I wasn’t in denial, it was more like it was an out of body experience for me and I have to say that it was extremely hard for me to bond with Hannabert while pregnant and caused my husband no amount of stress since he felt like he couldn’t talk about it.

    We too had issues with breastfeeding and I struggled with an intense sense of guilt and failure over his birth. In hinsight, I really needed to get help and I am sure that my husband will be ever more viligant when we have our next one to make sure that I get counseling if I start to go down that path again.

    I agree that having a loving and supportive spouse make so much difference in the outcome. I am happy that you have found a supportive therapy that is helping you be the parent you want and need to be.

  7. Amy says:

    Shannon, thank you for sharing your experience. It will help many mothers. The more we talk about such experiences the more we cultivate space for them to transform. I’m not talking instant bliss or whatever ideas we may have, but the space to be who and where we are and in this together. To support one another, grow together, heal together. Much love to you.

  8. Pingback: All This Over a Tub | The Artful Mama

  9. Pingback: Blessings in Unexpected Places

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *