Depression never happens in a vacuum. Like a ripple in the water, a parent’s illness can’t help but affect her offspring.
Different studies have documented how depression in a new mother clearly affects her interactions with her baby or toddler. Depressed mothers are more withdrawn, less responsive to their infant’s signals. “Their facial expressions and displays of emotion [are] more muted or flat, and their voices [are] monotone,” explains Ruta Nonacs in “A Deeper Shade of Blue.” “They [remain] disengaged and [do] little to support their child’s activities or exploration of the environment.”
A mother’s depression also affects grade-schoolers and adolescents.
When parents fail to meet the needs of the people under their care, some kids begin to act out, have difficulty with schoolwork, become hyperactive. A sizable percentage start to isolate and feel depressed themselves.