Tomorrow marks the release of Tracy Thompson's much anticipated book, The Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Children, and Struggling with Depression. In this book, award-winning former Washington Post journalist Tracy Thompson (author of The Beast: A Journey Through Depression) explores the topic of maternal depression. She intertwines her research findings, quotes from her interviews and surveys with hundreds of mothers, and her own story of both mothering through depression and being mothered by a women suffering from the illness to create a text that is part medical journal, part self-help guide for depression sufferers and part biography. While Thompson's is not the first book on the subject (Anne Sheffield's Sorrow's Web is a very solid text about maternal depression), Thompson's up to date research and gorgeous writing style make her book one well worth reading.
The book will be of particular interest to mother writers who have struggled with depression as Thompson's experience will be familiar:
There is no end to [children's]. . . demands, and for mothers there is no end to the guilty sense that at any given moment, some need of theirs is not being met. As I write these words, it is night and I am stealing work time from what should be my daughter's bedtime ritual. She comes into my study: "Mom, you promised." My work needs me; she needs me. She needs to talk right now; I am fighting the daily battle of carving out hours to write. But do I need to be a writer? You're selfish; if your work is not somehow providing for your children's necessities or their life enrichment, you're just massaging your ego, says a voice in my head. Then comes another: No! Women are more than mommies; don't you want your daughters to know this? This mental point and counterpoint takes a tenth of a second and is of no interest to my eight-year-old; she is literally getting in my face. "You promised."
Even if you have not suffered from maternal depression a number of things she points out about the intense stress and guilt which seem to be part and parcel of mothering these days rings true.
MotherTalk is facilitating a blog tour for the book and on my personal blog, MUBAR, I take a look at the book and ask author Tracy Thompson what role society can play in helping women suffering from maternal depression. Other blogs on the tour include Woulda Coulda Shoulda, Three Kid Circus, Parent Hacks, Sweetney.com, and Dooce's Heather Armstrong at Alpha Mom.