Janvi Mhatre (name changed), a 38-year-old Andheri resident, used to experience constant bouts of sadness and would weep without a specific reason. This phase soon turned into extreme depression and anxiety.
“I was always anxious about my 17-year-old son, who is always on mobile phone and in a way ignored me, which made me feel lonely and depressed,” said Mhatre.
And Mhatre is not the only mother.
Psychiatrists in Mumbai have observed an upward trend in mothers of teenagers feeling depressed. In fact, these mothers are more depressed than a mother of newborn. So, why are mothers of teenagers more prone to depression and anxiety?
Dr Sagar Mundada, Psychiatrist at KEM Hospital, Mumbai, said, “When children reach their teen years, it is also the time when their mothers are in their midlife. This phase causes irritation and depression in them.”
Mundada added in teen years, children often disobey parents and parents do not readily accept the change in their behaviour.
“Mothers generally keep an eye on their teenage children and put several restrictions on them. Restricting them leads to differences and teenagers prefer to ignore their mothers. This, in turn, makes their mothers depressed,” Mundada said.
However, it is not just the different stages of life and behavioural changes that have caused depression in mothers, social media, too, is a culprit.
Dr Heena Merchant, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Department at KEM Hospital, said, “Generally, overprotective mothers suffer from anxiety as they are always bothered to know what their teenage kids do on their mobile phones, computers and social media. They are afraid if their kids are watching porn. Nowadays, children spend considerable amount of time on social media than with parents, which makes mothers feel lonely and eventually, they go into depression.”
While in most cases, women in late 30s and mid-40s get depressed by worrying too much about their teen kids, experts say in some cases if teens are depressed then mothers too feel the same way.
Dr Seema Hingorrany, Clinical Psychologist, said, “A 37-year-old woman visited me recently. Her son was appearing for boards exams (SSC) and she could not strike a balance between managing her job and helping her son with studies. Naturally, she was depressed. I had to counsel her for months to get her to normal state of mind.”
Experts also say competition among mothers also results in depression among them.
Dr Avinash D’souza, Psychiatrist, said mothers get depressed and suffer anxiety in every stage of life, from childhood to adulthood.
“Mothers who visit me usually share about their teenage kids’ problems, be it a love affair, consumption of alcohol or poor academics. Because of all these concerns, mothers go under depression,” said D’souza.