Depression single mothers

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

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    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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Single mother: 5 problems and their solutions


For parentsA person among peopleDivorce

The number of women raising children on their own is steadily growing in the world. For some, this is the result of their own initiative and conscious choice, for others - an unfavorable combination of circumstances: divorce, unplanned pregnancy ... But for both of them, this is not an easy test. Let's understand why this is so.

Problem No. 1. Social pressure

The specificity of our mentality suggests that a child must have both a mother and a father. If the father is absent for some reason, the public is in a hurry to feel sorry for the child in advance: “children from single-parent families cannot become happy”, “a boy needs a father, otherwise he will not grow up to be a real man.”

If the initiative to raise a child on her own comes from the woman herself, people around her become indignant: “for the sake of the children, one could endure it,” “men don’t need other people’s children,” “a divorced woman with children will not be happy with her personal life.” nine0003

A woman finds herself face to face with peer pressure, which makes her make excuses and feel inferior. This forces her to close herself in and avoid contact with the outside world. The pressure drives a woman into distress, a negative form of stress, and further exacerbates her already precarious psychological state.

What to do?

First of all, get rid of delusions that lead to dependence on someone else's opinion. For example:

  • People around me constantly evaluate me and my actions, notice shortcomings.
  • The love of others must be earned, therefore it is necessary to please everyone.
  • The opinion of others is the most correct, because it is more visible from the outside.

Such prejudices make it difficult to adequately relate to someone else's opinion - although this is just one of the opinions, and not always the most objective one. Each person sees reality based on his own projection of the world. And it is up to you to decide whether someone's opinion is useful to you, whether you will use it to improve your life. nine0003

Have more confidence in yourself, your opinion and your actions. Compare yourself to others less. Surround yourself with those who do not put pressure on you, and separate your own desires from the expectations of others, otherwise you risk relegating your life and your children to the background.

Problem No. 2. Loneliness

Loneliness is one of the main problems that poison the life of a single mother both in the event of a forced divorce and in the case of a conscious decision to raise children without a husband. By nature, it is extremely important for a woman to be surrounded by close, dear people. She wants to create a hearth, to gather people dear to her around it. When this focus falls apart for some reason, the woman loses her footing. nine0003

A single mother lacks moral and physical support, a feeling of a man's shoulder. The banal, but much-needed rituals of daily communication with a partner become inaccessible to her: the opportunity to share the news of the past day, discuss business at work, consult on children's problems, talk about your thoughts and feelings. This greatly injures the woman and introduces her into a depressive state.

Situations that remind her of her "loner" status exacerbate and intensify the experience. For example, in the evening, when the children are sleeping and household chores are redone, memories roll in with renewed vigor and loneliness is felt especially acutely. Or on weekends, when you need to go with the children on “lone trips” to shops or to the movies. nine0003

In addition, friends and acquaintances from the former, “family” social circle suddenly stop calling and inviting guests. This happens for various reasons, but most often the former environment simply does not know how to react to the separation of a married couple, and therefore stops any communication altogether.

What to do?

The first step is not to run away from the problem. “This is not happening to me” denial will only make things worse. Calmly accept forced loneliness as a temporary situation that you intend to use to your advantage. nine0003

The second step is to find the positives in being alone. Temporary solitude, the opportunity to be creative, the freedom not to adapt to the wishes of a partner. What else? Make a list of 10 items. It is important to learn to see in your condition not only negative, but also positive sides.

The third step is active actions. Fear stops action, action stops fear. Remember this rule and be active. New acquaintances, new leisure activities, a new hobby, a new pet - any activity will do that will help you not feel lonely and fill the space around you with interesting people and activities. nine0003

Problem No. 3. Feeling guilty before the child

“Deprived the child of her father”, “could not save the family”, “doomed the child to an inferior life” - this is only a small part of what a woman blames herself for.

Moreover, every day she encounters a variety of everyday situations that make her feel even more guilty: she couldn’t buy a toy for her child because she didn’t earn enough money, or she didn’t pick it up from kindergarten on time because she was afraid to ask for time off once again From the job. nine0003

Guilt accumulates, the woman becomes more and more nervous and twitchy. She is more than necessary, worries about the child, constantly takes care of him, tries to protect him from all adversity and tries to fulfill all his desires.

As a result, this leads to the fact that the child grows up overly suspicious, dependent and focused on himself. In addition, he very quickly recognizes the "pain points" of the mother and begins to unconsciously use them for his children's manipulations.

What to do?

It is important to recognize the destructive power of guilt. A woman often does not understand that the problem is not in the absence of a father and not in what she has deprived the child, but in her psychological state: in the feeling of guilt and remorse that she experiences in this situation.

How can a person crushed by guilt be happy? Of course not. Can an unhappy mother have happy children? Of course not. Trying to atone for guilt, the woman begins to sacrifice her life for the sake of the child. And subsequently, these victims are presented to him as an invoice for payment. nine0003

Rationalize your guilt. Ask yourself questions: “What is my fault in this situation?”, “Can I correct the situation?”, “How can I make amends?”. Write and read your answers. Think about how your sense of guilt is justified, how real and proportionate to the current situation?

Perhaps you hide unspoken resentment and aggression under guilt? Or are you punishing yourself for what happened? Or do you need wine for something else? By rationalizing your guilt, you will be able to recognize and eliminate the root cause of its occurrence. nine0003

Problem No. 4. Single-sex upbringing

Another problem that single mothers face is that the child's personality is formed exclusively on the basis of the female type of upbringing. This is especially true if the father is not involved in the child's life at all.

Indeed, in order to grow up as a harmonious personality, it is desirable for a child to learn both feminine and masculine behaviors. A clear bias in only one direction is fraught with difficulties with its further self-identification. nine0003

What to do?

Involve male relatives, friends and acquaintances in the parenting process. Going to the movies with your grandfather, doing homework with your uncle, going on a hike with your friends - for a child, this will be a great opportunity to learn different types of male behavior. If it is possible to at least partially include the father of the child or his relatives in the process of raising the child, do not neglect this, no matter how great your offense is.

Problem No. 5. Personal life in haste

The status of a single mother can provoke a woman to rash and hasty actions. In an effort to quickly get rid of the "stigma" and tormented by guilt before the child, a woman often enters into a relationship that she does not like or for which she is not yet ready.

It is simply vital for her that someone else is next to her, and that the child has a father. At the same time, the personal qualities of a new partner often fade into the background.

At the other extreme, a woman devotes herself completely to raising a child and puts an end to her personal life. The fear that the new man will not accept her child, will not love him as his own, or the child will think that the mother has exchanged him for a “new uncle”, can lead a woman to give up trying to build a personal life altogether. nine0003

Both in the first and second situations the woman sacrifices herself and as a result remains unhappy

In both the first and second situations the child will suffer. In the first case, because he will see the suffering of the mother next to the wrong person. In the second - because he will see the suffering of his mother in loneliness and blame himself for it.

What to do?

Take a time out. Do not rush to urgently look for a child a new father or try on a crown of celibacy. Be attentive to yourself. Analyze if you are ready for a new relationship? Think about why you want a new relationship, what drives you: guilt, loneliness or the desire to be happy? nine0003

If, on the contrary, you give up trying to arrange a personal life, consider what prompts you to this decision. Fears of arousing the child's jealousy or fear of your own disappointment? Or does previous negative experience make you avoid repeating the situation by all means? Or is it your conscious and balanced decision?

Be honest with yourself and when making a decision, be guided by the main rule: "A happy mother - a happy child."

About the author

Irina Kambulova — psychologist, transactional analyst, dance movement psychotherapist.

Text: Irina Kambulova Photo source: Getty Images

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The story of a woman who raises a child alone 15:34

The editor-in-chief of the Amur Waves company and the creator of the telegram channel The Robber's Daughter shared stories of women who raise their children alone and receive practically no support from their ex-husbands. Afisha Daily publishes one of the five monologues. nine0003

My name is Nastya, and I run two telegram channels - "The robber's daughter" (about the adventures of sexism in the Russian media) and "Your mother!" (about motherhood). I am a journalist, my son is just over two years old. It is difficult for me to be a parent - despite the fact that I have a wonderful reliable husband, the father of my beautiful and beloved child. I often write about it. And every time I write about this, I think about people who raise children without a partner. I think it's even more difficult.

The idea of ​​this text came to me when I learned that in some Russian cities there is a public service announcement with the slogan "A family is priceless when it is full." nine0003

I think this ad is offensive to people who raise their children alone. I believe that being a parent is a huge job, and being a single parent is even more work. I want this work to be visible, so below you will find five stories of women who raise children without a partner. These stories were sent to me by my readers. But first, some statistics.

Single parenting: statistics

More than half of marriages in Russia break up.

About 70 percent of men do not pay maintenance to their ex-wives.

About 5 out of 17 million Russian families are families with single mothers, in another 600 thousand families, children are raised by single fathers.

In other words: almost 33 percent of all families in Russia are incomplete.

10 percent of incomplete families are families with single fathers.

A 90 percent are families with single mothers.

History of Lera

"Everyone says, 'You should have watched who you married'."

My name is Lera, I'm 26, I'm from St. Petersburg, and I've been raising my daughter alone for six months now. Now she is one and a half years old. Officially, I am still married, I have been together with my husband for six and a half years. We worked together, met, lived together for a long time, so the wedding and the child were 146% planned.

How did it happen that I became a single mother? Unfortunately, love for the child did not come immediately after birth, the birth, although it was contractual, was traumatic. There was no one to wait for help: my husband's relatives live in Novgorod, mine are generally on Sakhalin. After being born with terrible side effects from epidural anesthesia, I was left alone at home, my husband went to work, my friends quickly merged. And I was overwhelmed by a terrible depression. nine0177 I tried to fight as best I could , the child did not sleep at night, constantly demanded breasts, yelled, the husband could not cope and therefore moved to another room.

Time passed, and I was winged. Somehow I crawled out of the acute state "I'll go out the window right now" and moved to the level "I hate my life, youth is passing me by, I regret that I gave birth." I lived in this state for about six months, while we went on vacation to Turkey with our six-month-old daughter, it would seem that it should have been easier. In the summer, I got a hobby: I started baking cakes, at first I just liked the process, I treated my friends with pleasure, then I decided to make some money on it. In the middle of summer, my husband was fired from his job, and he decided that he wanted to work for himself (we had earnings from my cakes and my maternity payments from work). nine0003

The idea was good, but the execution let us down: there was not enough discipline, and all his enthusiasm turned into sticking around for days at Warcraft. Dissatisfaction began with me as a mother and wife, because I “drink, whine, don’t take care of the child” and in general my daughter interferes - creeps up and turns off the computer. At the same time, all this time we lived on my money. My nervous state was completely exhausted, there were breakdowns, tantrums and major scandals. The husband gaslighted (gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a person is made to doubt his adequacy. - Note ed. ), said that I was hysterical, but he was normal. As a result, I started throwing fights at him, because I could no longer endure this whole circus. After thinking a little, I decided that my emotional state is more important to me, and I don't want my daughter to grow up with a sense of the normality of such relationships.

The day before my husband's birthday, we again had a big fight, and I told him to leave. And so he did. To be honest, after his departure, strength increased. I re-pasted the hallway right at the beginning of January, started getting tattoos, got pierced, I got more energy. My husband and I do not live together now, but we communicate, sometimes we just chat, send memes to each other. nine0003

Sometimes he comes to see his daughter, but he doesn't give money, because he still doesn't officially work. Sometimes he brings her a couple of apples or soap bubbles.

To be honest, it's very hard for me because I don't have any support from my relatives. My mother-in-law agreed to come once a month so that I could go out to rest. The most frightening thought is that if something happens to me, I have no one to turn to. You have to endure all illnesses on your feet, drag a naughty butt and a half to doctors and all instances, sometimes girlfriends help out, the same mothers with children whom I met while walking, I can sometimes throw off their daughter for a couple of hours to go take a cake, for example. Sometimes I have rare Tinder lovers, but I'm not sure I can really trust anyone. Everyone says "you had to watch who you marry." nine0177 Well kamon, five and a half years before marriage isn't enough verification? I miss my husband, those times when everything was fine with us, but I know that it will not be like this anymore. I don't know how to trust people after all this.

I am 26, I have a child, no relatives, and I can’t meet anyone, it’s not particularly interesting for any man to wait for me for weeks until I can escape for an hour to drink coffee. I feel like my life is passing by. The only thing that makes me happy is that there is no toxic person around, that my life is now in my hands, that my psychological state is quite stable. nine0177 I realized that I would not put up with any shit, "would be nice next to me" , I have the strength to defend my boundaries and my dignity. It's just sad that this happened. How is my day going? The child wakes up every day at six in the morning, sometimes we walk in the morning, if there is a mood, sometimes I work.

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