It was a day I will never forget. Last week, I was at work when I received a call from my daughter’s preschool. I was told that she is fine but she is saying she is very tired and is lying on the couch sucking her fingers (her go-to when nervous or tired). I said I would be right over. Since I work next door to the JCC where she attends, it makes it convenient.
I went over and sat to talk with her asking if anything hurt. She said “no.” I asked her if she wanted to go to dance class and she said “no.” Now I knew something was up, as she loves her dance class and dressing in her leotard and tutu. I asked if she wanted to go home and she said “yes.”
Once we were home and settled I felt and kissed her forehead but she felt cool. We had lunch and she ate heartily. We started watching the movie “Cars” and I turned to her and asked her if she was not only tired but was she missing mommy. I knew the response before she said it. She said “yes, I missed you.”
And there it is…the effects of mommy’s depression on her child. While I live in the Hartford area my psychiatrist is in the Boston area (I have seen her on and off for the past 20 years). I have spent a couple of nights away from home in order to see my doctor over the past couple of weeks. I also have been absent at my daughter’s friends’ birthday parties, as it has been too difficult to be around people. Her daddy takes her and she has lots of fun, but I am not there.
That’s just it…I have not been there or here in several weeks. I have been hyper-aware that this could affect my daughter and I have made sure I talk to her, hug and kiss her and tell her how much I love her, as I always do. But this simply sucks. I am doing all of the right things at this point. I see my psychiatrist, I am taking my anti-depressant (increased dose) and doing my time on the couch. I can’t snap my fingers and make it go away, as I would wish. I hate that my daughter felt disconnected from me at a time when I feel disconnected from most people, with the exception of my husband and daughter. They are my “safety.”
What does a depressed mommy do?
I spoke with one of her teachers this morning and told her what I am going through and that my daughter is reacting to it. We made a plan that if she is sad and misses me, she can look at family pictures they keep in the classroom and talk about it. They may call me to inform me, but I will not run over. She needs to feel safe in school and carry my love for her, with her. I touched her heart this morning as I hugged her goodbye and I told her, “I will be here all day with you just as you will be in my heart with me.”
People love to throw around the phrase “It takes a village” but in my case, right now, for my family, it truly does. My family and friends who help me by just offering support, my psychiatrist, my co-workers, my daughter’s entire school community: all of these people are helping to raise my daughter, literally or figuratively. This is what a depressed mommy does. She uses her connections and takes care of herself so the outcome will not only be positive for her, but for her young daughter, too.