Holding ourselves to standards our mothers never had to meet

My next piece about maternal depression and Tracy Thompson’s new book, The Ghost in the House, is up at Alpha Mom:

“A large portion of the book is dedicated to the discussion of breaking the cycle of depression, to showing that even though the tendency toward depression is genetic, that a child who has inherited a parent’s gene is not doomed to suffer. A lot of how that gene manifests itself depends on how a parent learns to cope with her own depression: ‘this is poker, remember, not chess — and much depends on how we play the hand we are dealt.’ My own depression revealed itself in standard ways, in exhaustion and irritability, but I also experienced what Thompson refers to as ‘anger attacks,’ and I threw heavy objects at walls and tore the front door off its hinge. I don’t know yet what effect that behavior has had on my daughter, but it’s safe to assume that if she grows up and figures out world peace that she won’t cite that one time I threw a 32-ounce water bottle at her father as one of those moments when she saw the beauty in humankind.”