Mental Health Challenges Divorced Mothers Face

Mental health challenges

By Jennifer Esposito, Retired Therapist

Getting through a divorce is a stressful and painful period in life. Even when we know it’s for the best and the future will be happier and brighter, it’s hard not to feel anxious and overwhelmed at the time. And, although it’s worth it, reinventing yourself after the divorce isn’t easy. This is especially true for newly single mothers. After all, parenting is a full-time job that requires a lot of your time and attention. After sharing the responsibilities and making decisions together, it’s hard to bear the full burden on your own. Despite the obstacles, many single mothers do an amazing job at raising their kids. However, they often neglect their own well-being. As a result, they often struggle with stress, anxiety, depression, and other difficulties. Here we’ll explore the mental health challenges divorced mothers face and help you overcome them!

Financial instability

Money management after the divorce can become overwhelming for many divorced moms. It’s hard to provide housing, food, clothing, and education and meet all your kids’ and your needs by yourself.

Therefore, many single mothers are struggling with financial insecurity. Making ends meet can be challenging even with a full-time job and can trigger a lot of negative feelings such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Learning how to cope with this is vital for all single moms.

Lack of sleep

Sleep deprivation can cause many problems for our physical health. While we sleep, our bodies get the necessary rest, reset and renew. A good night’s sleep helps us start fresh in the morning and get ready for what the day will bring.

However, lack of sleep also affects our mental health – we can’t focus, deal with the tasks in front of us, and feel overwhelmed and tired. It comes as no surprise that it’s one of the most common mental health challenges divorced mothers face. With everything you need to do, there seems to be no time for sleeping. Letting go of unnecessary (or not urgent) tasks and focusing on your needs is difficult but important.

Inadequate support network

Doing everything on your own is challenging and overwhelming.  On top of all the workload, it’s hard to cope with everything you feel, too. Being lonely, confused, hurt, and feeling inadequate can trigger anxiety, stress, depression, and even lead to addiction.

In such situations, family and friends play a significant role. They can recognize the oncoming signs in single mothers and empower them to make healthy decisions. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask for help and support from your loved ones. Also, cut the negative influences in your life and focus on the people who truly care about you and your well-being.

Poor self-care

Most single mothers put their kid’s needs above their own and neglect how they feel and what they need. While it’s natural to do so, don’t forget that what your children need the most is you. In order to take care of your kids, you need to take care of yourself. Fifteen minutes of yoga or doing something you love will help you feel better and boost your mood and motivation.

Explaining the situation to your kids

One of the divorced mothers’ most difficult challenges is talking to their children about the situation. Divorce takes its toll on the kids, too. If you have young kids, they might struggle with understanding what’s going on, while the older kids can be resentful, unhappy, or angry. However, there are ways to help your children to adjust and cope with the situation. Consider the things you should tell your children and assure them that they’re loved and safe.

Issues with the ex

Of course, what you say to your kids will depend on your relationship with your ex-husband. Sometimes it’s possible to stay on good terms with your ex-partner and co-parent your kids. However, for some marriages, this is not an option. Whichever the case may be for you, ensure you choose what’s best for you and your children. Constant arguing and worrying will affect your mental health and have a negative impact on your kids as well.

Judgment of others

One of the harsher things to deal with, especially because you can’t control it, is the stigma surrounding divorced mothers. Stereotypes about single moms are everywhere, and they only add to your stress and anxiety. Maybe you already feel that you’re not doing enough, that you’re a failure, or that all is your fault. And the last thing you need is our society’s judgment at this time of struggle, especially when it’s so unfair and far from the truth. So, how to overcome it? Be honest with yourself, and do your best. Being kind to yourself and practicing self-compassion is essential for your mental well-being.

Asking for help

Despite all our efforts, things can get too much at times. On top of all the financial and parental struggles and problems with your ex-partner, there is an emotional and psychological baggage you need to work through. As a result, many single moms try to cope on their own and turn to alcohol or drugs, thinking it would relieve the stress and help them feel better.

On the contrary, experts at Little Creek Recovery recommend asking for help if you feel overwhelmed. Remember that you’re not alone in this and finding the people who’ve been through the same can help. Sharing your experiences and finding support will encourage you and provide the motivation you need.

Dating again

Lastly, it’s important to realize that life doesn’t end with a divorce. You’re still worthy of love and attention and deserve to find someone who will make you feel appreciated and cherished.

However, dating after the divorce can be challenging and scary at first. You may feel vulnerable and unable to trust someone new. Take one step at a time and relearn to love someone and rely on them to be there for you. Start dating when you’re ready and at the pace that suits you.

The bottom line

As you already know, there are many mental health challenges divorced mothers face from day to day. Being on your own again and taking on full responsibility is quite complex and scary. Remember that your mental health is vital and how you feel matters. Be kind to yourself and take time to process your emotions. Rebuilding your life will be challenging and full of obstacles, but it will be more than worth it.


About the author: Jennifer Esposito is a retired therapist who loves helping those in need with her blogs. She believes everyone should have access to free advice on mental health issues and is always willing to interact with her readers.

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