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Maternal depression/ NY Times magazine/12/30/07

Posted by stargazer2 on January 2, 2008, at 10:03:09

Hi all, I don't usually post here since I don't currently see a therapist (have twice in the past) but this article caught my eye and I wanted others to see it.

The magazine featured all those who had died in 2007 and one of thse was a woman by the name of Marian Radke-Yarrow. She was the first to document the effects of maternal depression.

She did a study from 1979 to 2002, which showed how maternal depression affects the children of these mothers, who she classified as "children that mature in a sadness not their own."

One of her findings is that "depression is prismatic. Beneath it's flatness, depression has some style. An irritably depressed mother may have a very different effect on her children than, say, a mother who sits in silence."

She documented angry depressions, irritable depressions, anxious depressions, exhausted depressions, each one of these making its own imprint on the child that was exposed.

Mothers who were angry in their melancholy (mine) were more likely to rear rejection-sensitive children (me) than were nondepressed mothers. The daughters were more likely than sons to respond to their mothers' moods. Girls tried to help. Boys however seemed to shrug maternal gloom off more easily. She found that sometimes only severe maternal depression could elicit intense empathetic behavior in boys.

She found that some children (my sibs) of depressed mothers suffered no ill effects, making her one of the first to identify the phenomenon of resilience.

Although, her name is unknown to me, the work she did was obviously very important in the recognition of the impact of maternal depression on the children raised by these mothers.

My mother definately has some form of depression, has escaped diagnosis and treatment since she stayed home and her biggest impact was on the way she raised her children, very controlling and with lots of blame and anger.

Her lasting imprint is on her children and I seem to have had the least resilence of my siblings and have always had a extreme reaction to rejection.

Today I still blame her for my issues and my decision to not have children, since my upbringing was so fraught with pain and depression triggered by her criticisms of any decision I made. I would never want to put a child of mine through what I went through and this was my way of ensuring that didn't happen.

For anyone interested, she may have written books about maternal depression that can further elicit her studies on this subject.

Happy New Year and I hope 2008 brings peace and contentment to all of our lives.





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