We know that the working environment is not easy for anyone, and particularly not for working mothers.
A new study suggests in fact that mothers who are either under-employed or over-employed are at greater risk of depression. These findings come from work by researchers as part of the “Growing up in Ireland” project in association with the Tavistock Institute.
Based on analysis of data from dual earner heterosexual couples with nine month old babies, the researchers looked at levels of relationship strain in women who were working longer hours than they wished, fewer hours than they wished and those working as much as they wished.
Those women working more or fewer hours than they thought ideal turned out to be at significantly higher risk of depression. The male partners of these women were also much less likely to be satisfied with their relationship. But curiously the same did not appear to be true for the women in these relationships.
Put another way, these findings could mean that up to 71% of women were thus also at increased risk of both depression and strained relationships.
The researchers concluded that their findings suggest that greater attention should be directed at a governmental and organizational level to create a better fit between actual and preferred working hours for mothers of infants and their partners.
At the level of the individual couple, however, we need to recognise that this period with a new baby can be a time of both joy and strain for both partners. In most cases, couples can work through any problems, perhaps with the help of the wider family.
But sometimes some external professional help might be needed through individual or couples counselling. As a fully qualified therapist, counselling in Hastings,, I would be glad to see whether I could help if you are facing these sort of problems.