What Is Empty Nest Depression in Mothers?

Written by: Arooj Paulus – B. Sc (Psychology)
Last updated date : February 27, 2022

You committed to protecting and love for your newborn child forever as you carried them in your arms. It may seem like your child was born yesterday. Children never stop being young in their parents’ eyes, no matter how old they become. Naturally, when kids become old enough they are ready to leave the nest and be independent in their lives. Yet some parents face an empty nest depression especially mothers when their grown-ups start their independent lives.

In this article , we will discuss what is empty nest depression and what are its signs. In the end, we will discuss the stages of empty nest syndrome and suggestions of course to help you cope with it.

“Very practical suggestions” Peter

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Chapter 1:

Empty Nest Depression

The unsettling reactions that some parents go through after their grown-up child moves out into their adult life is known as empty nest syndrome. It is often referred to as a state of sadness and emotional shift of parents. Parents who are facing empty nest depression commonly encounter a sense of loss, sorrow, worry, grief, and fear. It can affect both male and female parents, however, is more common in mothers.

It is a time of change in different emotions and your life duties. Change can be stressful. This change, where adult children leave the nest, involves major adjustments in how the family functions daily, not just in terms of practical matters but also in terms of family relations. For instance, a mother having empty nest depression can be concerned about your safety or if you ate well, or they might simply miss having you around.

The empty nest effect will affect parents in different ways. For some people, it might stay a few weeks, while for others, this might linger for years. However, it affects for a time being and the feelings of loneliness and sadness typically go away with time as everyone adjusts to change. Yet for some, it may persist and can become a mental health concern.

Chapter 2:

Signs of Empty Nest Depression

Here are some of the signs to notice when you go or someone you know goes through a change in their life such as moving out of their offspring into practical life and experiencing an empty nest. If the following signs appear and last for more than a few months, you should seek mental health experts’ help to find and deal with the distressing reason. It has the following signs:

  • You might feel easily irritated or angry. Due to the change, you may feel bitterness and resentment inside you. You can now become irritated by even minor inconveniences. These emotions indicate that you are under mental strain.
  • You may feel sad. For instance feeling depressed, upset, and perhaps sobbing is more common.
  • It is common to grieve.
  • You might want things to go back to like they were before. You feel a sense of loss with these new transitions. You may grieve your previous family structure. For instance, you miss the newly moved family member as a result of empty nest depression.
  • You can feel as though your life has lost its meaning and purpose. Some people may feel as though they have lost their main goal in life and the manner they found fulfillment. For some people, becoming a parent was a significant part of who they were.
  • It can have physical effects.
  • Empty nest stress and depression exhibit themselves in the physical self also such as unexplainable body pains, headaches, stomach issues, sleep problems, etc.

Chapter 3:

Risk Factors

Numerous variables might raise the likelihood of developing empty nest depression. These consist of:

  • If you lack other identities and duties outside your family. You feel devoted to family duties and become stressed when these change. For instance, a father may be depressed to stop caring for his or her child.
  • You can be at risk of developing empty nest depression if you had simultaneous other major changes as well such as the loss of a family member or job etc.
  • If you do not have a full-time job and spend most of your time with family and inside the home.
  • Unfulfilled expectations by parents such as Parents may be expecting their children to move out at a certain time and age. While doing it sooner may induce arguments and anxiety in parents.
  • While in some cultures, children are expected to stay with their parents even after their marriage. So if they decide to leave their parent’s home it may induce an empty nest depression in mothers or fathers.
  • Further, in low-income families, this syndrome is common when the working offspring moves out of the home.

Chapter 4:

Stages of Empty Nest Syndrome

There are stages of empty nest depression which are as follows:

Stage 1: Grief

It is normal to experience overwhelming grief and a sense of loss when your child first moves out of the house. The smallest things can be causing you to get tearful and highly sensitive. For instance, your grief may cause you to temporarily isolate yourself from society as you attempt to cope with the profound shift that has occurred in your life.

Stage 2: Relief

You could start to enjoy your changed life and new independence after some time. You now have time to spend on yourself, do self-care and invest in new hobbies as are now free from the duties of your children. There will undoubtedly be a sense of relief brought on by this newly emancipated way of living.

Stage 3: Joy

Acknowledge your achievement and find joy in what you have achieved. Ponder that it was not easy to raise children and now it is time for life to pay back your hardships. After experiencing the ups and downs of despair, respite, and release, you ought to arrive at the stage of happiness. I hope you have gotten used to your new, independent life. Maybe you are creating new social networks or finally making that couple’s vacation reservation. Or even a trip alone, it is possible. You have a right to live for yourself too.

Hence seek an expert’s help if you are facing difficulty moving from the first stage of depression to an empty nest. We have some course and reading suggestions below to help you further with this syndrome.

Chapter 5:

Call to Action

You can read “How to Get Through Empty Nest Syndrome” under the section on change at Epsychonline. To help learn about empty nest depression and how to manage your strong feelings.

Further, you can enroll in the “DBT for Anger“ course on our website. Empty nest depression is linked with distressing emotions such as sadness, anger, or feeling alone. Parents may feel angry because of the change in their lives. The mentioned course will help you to cope with your feelings of anger. We hope this article was helpful to you. Sign up now for more learning.

"Very practical suggestions" Peter

95 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount