Out of the mouths of babes

This morning I asked Ben the Today’s Parent kid question, “What’s the weirdest thing that your parents do?” He thought about it for a minute and and then answered, “Well, other kids’ parents play with them, but you don’t.” Talk about your kick in the gut…

A lot of other truly excellent and extraordinarily brave mommy bloggers have written lately about depression, like @JDhonestmom from Honest Mom in two particularly stand-out posts, one about how normal people have this and another about hitting a crisis point and then pushing back, and @jessicaesquire from Don’t Mind the Mess guest-blogging at Honest Mom about depression, pregnancy, and nursing.

Now I guess it’s my turn, although Honest Mom’s first post pretty much sums it up for me, so I can basically say “Ditto!” and then move onto the dry, impersonal statistics that I prefer to focus on in situations like this:

According to Statistics Canada, 13.4% or 1 in 7 adults experienced symptoms that met the criteria for a mood disorder at some point in their lifetime with 5:3% reporting those symptoms in the last year (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2006), and studies consistently document higher rates of depression among women than men at a ratio of about 2:1 (Canadian Psychiatric Association, 2001).

Postpartum depression is the most common side-effect of child-bearing and affects an average of 13% of women (O’Hara & Swain, 1996).

My main symptoms seem to be sleep disruptions (I guess it runs in the family!) and anhedonia, which is a fancy word meaning an inability to derive enjoyment from activities that one would normally find enjoyable, like (nail on the head, there, Ben), playing with your kids.

Being depressed sucks, for you and for the people around you (possibly probably definitely even more so), and there are a whole host of resources out there, so don’t hesitate to seek them out and use them. The system isn’t perfect, but the faster you go looking for them the sooner you can start feeling better.

Anyhoo, now that I’ve word-vomited that all out there for the whole internet to see, let’s get this sucker taken care of so Ben and Molly can come up with an answer I actually can send in to Today’s Parent. Just as soon as I bring myself to hit “Publish.”

~ karyn

11 thoughts on “Out of the mouths of babes

  1. Wait, you expect to want to play with little kids? I find it excruciating, and always have.

    I’ll do things with mine, but sit on the floor and play their games… oh hell no.

  2. That’s why you had two of them! I’m sure, if pressed, that Ben would be able to remember fun stuff that you initiated or participated in, but didn’t get classified as “playing”.

    • It’s true, and I am realistic enough to realize that while there is an element of truth to what he says (lately I have been more likely to parent from the computer and watch them play), his definition of “play” is also fairly narrow.

  3. of course you play with your children. except when you stand back and let them find entertainment for themselves, using their imaginations, and develop brother-sister relationships, and find yourself as YOU, not _just_ as their mother. depression doesn’t make you a bad mom. and i think you’re both self-aware and brave to notice what “should” feel “fun” that isn’t, and recognizing that it needs addressing, not flagellation. says the childless one…i know…

  4. Someone coined a phrase for me the other day: “The gift of boredom” How wonderful for kids to have nothing but a box, a blanket, a chair and creative parents to participate and turn all that mundane stuff into rocket ships, trains and placed to hide – Judging by the comments Ben and Molly make which I see on facebook, you are a great mum Karin!

  5. Thanks for the shout-out! I’m so glad my posts meant something to you. 🙂

    Even when I was not dealing with depression – back when Annie was my only kid – I still didn’t really enjoy “playing” with her.

    I tried to steer her toward activities that we could both enjoy (crafts, legos) as opposed to ones that were painful for me (being the ugly witch to her Cinderella, being the client to her hairdresser).

    Now Annie has Gracie to play with/torture. Yay!

    If you haven’t yet, please do talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling… 🙂

    • Thanks! I struggled with the idea of posting because I’m a firm believer in pretending as hard as I can that I’ve got it all together but I finally decided if I believe that mental illness shouldn’t be stigmatized, I kind of have to put my depression where my mouth is!

  6. Pingback: Are you Elsa or Anna? What Frozen says about depression. | PicklesINK

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