Maternal Health Month, Maternal Health Month 2014, may is maternal mental health month

Debbie Downer


So I’m kind of selfish. I struggle with depression (read: not always a bag of laughs). I sometimes get lost in the vortex of my anxious thoughts.

Perfect candidate for motherhood, right?

When one writes a mental health blog while suffering from said mental illness and in the midst of mothering, it’s hard to write a post that doesn’t make it sound like you hate your job and/or children.

For the record, I don’t.

I love my children.

My mother told me that I must be doing something right because they [the children] adore me. I replied, Well, they won’t have an overinflated sense of ego, that’s for sure.

How much do we put away? How much rubs off on them? How much can you vent/piss/moan/complain on posts and not have people call family services, Samaritan lifelines, EMTs, etc.?

I don’t know how much this blog is my release valve or an incubator for my negative thoughts. Scratch that. They’re there anyway. It’s like denying the existence of the devil.

I wonder how much I look like an agitated, anxious, depressed mother on the outside. Or if no one knows. No one can see. I wonder how many of us are walking around wearing a camouflage coat. It may the woman sitting right next to you. It may be the face staring back at you from the mirror.

Is it possible to separate our maladies from the little being that grew inside us? Will they be able to thrive outside that shadow?




4 thoughts on “Debbie Downer

  1. Oh Jennifer. . . I wish I could take away the guilt. Depression is not selfish, and you are one hell of an inspiring mama. ALL children grow up with different relationships and different issues in their home and with their parents, whether there is a label slapped on it or not.

    You are not putting your family through denial and lies, which is a whole lot more difficult to reconcile later in their lives. You’re finding help in the ways that you can, through blogging or whatever.

    And your children love you every bit as you are. And they absolutely should, because you are exactly the mother they need and are supposed to have. God gave you to each other, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

    Sorry I went on a bit, but you mean so much to me.


    • Jennifer Butler Basile says:

      How do I even follow that one!? Humbled. Touched. Bit misty-eyed. Thank you.

      It does pay to remember that God put us together. I have no doubt about that.

      I, in no way, meant to suggest that depression is selfish. Totally agree with you that it’s not. Just maybe me 😉 One downside of being an only child!

      I do let it all hang out. I guess they know where I stand. Thanks for making it sound so positive! And being so supportive, as always!


  2. Good questions: I ask myself that every day.They deserve better than that, why can I not be better than I am? I interpret every shortcoming of theirs as a direct consequence of my inaction, depression, bad treatment etc. etc. What could they be like if I were more ‘normal’? Above all, what are the long-term consequences?
    The truth is, nobody knows, and we all have our demons to overcome, even children from very ‘happy’ families.


    • Jennifer Butler Basile says:

      Glad I’m not the only one with these questions, Marina Sofia! More ‘normal’. Wouldn’t that be nice! And yes, long-term consequences. urgh. I guess all parents put themselves through these paces. Just seems to be more dire consequences where mental health is concerned.

      Thanks for your insight.


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