Maternal depression and it's effect on a child's development.

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Depression is a prevalent issue among Canadian women. Approximately 25% of women in Canada will have a major depressive disorder at least once in their lifetime and 15% of the female population will experience post-partum depression. (Women and Mental Illness, 2003) With these numbers, it is obvious that maternal depression has profound effect on the Canadian family. Mother have the most influence in a child's life, since they generally more involved in raising the children then men are. In most cases, this influence serves to direct the child to healthy development. But when the mother is suffering from depression, what effect does it have on the intellectual and emotional development of her child? The child is definitively affected starting as early as infancy and through adolescence.

Depression: Symptoms and Causes

Depression may be simply defined as a state of sadness. Many may feel depressed for a short time when things do not go their way, but when this feeling persists and interferes with daily activity a doctor may diagnose an individual with clinical depression and order medication.

Genetic predisposition, personal problems, and seasonal hormonal changes are some of the many things that may trigger depression. A depressed individual may encounter feelings of despair and sadness, constant fatigue, constant headaches, among other things. If left untreated, depression may lead to suicide. (Mood Disorders, 2003)

Depressed Women as Mothers

Most mothers aspire to provide a nurturing environment for their children. Depressed mothers generally want the best for their children, but their illness prevents them from achieving this goal. Depressed mothers have a much different opinion of themselves as mothers and of their children's behavior. They may see themselves as inadequate and think that they have little control over their child's development and they may perceive many aspects of their child's normal...