Did your Mother Give You Depression?

29 Oct 2014

Oh children, children; let me count the ways I embarrass thee...

I sing too loudly in church; I scuffle through the fallen leaves (when people can see); I dance in the kitchen to the radio; I kiss your father in front of you; I ride a 1957 Raleigh bike that should be in a museum; I turn up at the school gate in brightly coloured clothing and then talk to your teachers on equal terms because I am quite as well educated as they...

Oh yes, I know I am excruciatingly embarrassing for you and I fully intend to ask your future psychotherapists for commission.

Embarrassing our children is part of the job description of being a parent and, if you're like me, you enjoy every minute of it (evil chuckle)!

But what about depressing our children?

I'm not talking about when they've reached the age of reason (my kids now just accept that there are times when Mummy is "poorly" and can't do anything much and they now join Daddy in looking after me; and very salutary it is for me too!) but about when they were tiny babies?

Tim Lott in the Guardian postulates that his own depression may have been caused, in part, by the post natal depression experienced by his mother. I'm sure PND doesn't contribute positively to the development of baby; and in fact the friend who sent me the article now wonders if her own experiences in life were affected by the PND her mother experienced.

But, you know what: does a witch hunt or archaeological investigation really help matters now?

In my case I'm pretty sure my father was bipolar and schizophrenic (he committed suicide when I was four, so I can't know for sure), but knowing that doesn't get me much further with my own health.

What does contribute to my life is manning up (or womanning up in my case), accepting responsibility for my own well-being and 1) learning all I can about the condition 2) doing all I can to mitigate and manage that condition and 3) educate and help others in my position if I can.

Yes, PND is a dreadful thing (and if you're going through it now you have my complete sympathy) but please don't worry about passing it onto your child – and don't waste time wondering if the PND suffered by your own mother is a contributing factor in your own depression.

We are who and what we are right now and we need to go forward; looking back can cause even more anxiety and guilt. Do you really want more of that stuff in your life?

I certainly don't. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have some piles of leaves to scuffle through and a kitchen dance routine to choreograph.


A Moodscope member.

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