It is 2008. I am holding my first born in my arms. I am depressed. I feel unsupported even though I have lots of support from my husband, parents and the community. Ask me about my mom and you would probably hear something like “That #$%#$&, do you know what she did/said to me!?!”
Moms often get blamed for most things that go wrong in your life. I was no exception to this rule. So imagine my surprise when before the age of 1, my daughter was already pulling away from me. Some might panic. I just got depressed. What was I going to do?
Hellinger says, if you want a good relationship with your kids, you need to have a good relationship with your parents. He also says, depression is usually due to a lack of connection with Mom.
There are two theories in systemic work that gave me a clue on what to do next:
- If you want a good relationship with your kids, you need to have a good relationship with your parents. It wasn’t a consolation when I learned the pattern of not getting along with my mother didn’t start with me, I knew it needed to stop with me.
- Depression is due to a lack of connection to your mother. (I was suffering from a depression at the time. When I went to the doctor for an assessment about postpartum depression, I left with the recommendation that I needed to be on anti-depressant drugs for life)
So how was my relationship with my mom at the time?
I used to take everything my mom said to heart, I would hide my tears and complain about her non-stop. I let her have so much power over me, that what I thought she might say or think was a part of almost every decision I made.
It has been a long and slow process to get to where I am today. I can now hear what my mom says and either accept it or say, “This isn’t my issue.”
There were a number of slow steps along the way.
The first constellation directly dealing with my mom, I didn’t know the topic until it was over. By the end I was standing in a line looking at my mom with at least five generations of grandmothers behind her to support us in our process. You would think of that as success. Wait until you add your baby in behind you, you turn around and see her want to walk towards you with a smile on her face. My heart fills with joy.
From that constellation, not only did I start the achingly slow process of improving my relationship with my mother. The depression I had been living under for about 20 years began to lift as I took active steps towards self love.
Three years later, I had my second child. While my relationship with my mom still wasn’t the greatest. With the depression lifting, I had a few advantages in dealing with my children this time around.
2008 With My Eldest Child:
- I was part of of a postpartum support group
- I was depressed often
- I had someone visit weekly to give me support
- My mom weekly took care of my daughter over night
- People were concerned that I couldn’t function enough to look after my child
- I did not enjoy the little joys of raising a child because I could not feel the happiness in Me.
- I felt alone and unsupported.
In 2012 with My Youngest:
- My husband was working more hours (leaving me home alone more often)
- I could find my own reasons to leave the house
- My mom still watched both my children overnight weekly
- I suffered from only 2 days of real depression and got myself out of it.
- I can remember enjoying spending time with my son as he was little.
- With the depression lifting came a different attitude and ability to deal with things
- I can enjoy both of my kids. We laugh and giggle and do things together because we want to.
- I have a support group in my belly dance classmates, a belly dance class I enjoy and a place where I am not afraid to be myself.
- Both of my children are in school and love spending time with Nonna and Nonno, for sleep overs and other things that they do together.
- Yes depression still visits me. It stays for shorter periods of time. I can still notice when it is coming and do things to help it leave.
- I never took drugs to deal with my depression. Instead I found other ways to deal with it.
- When faced with choices that I don’t know which option is best, I often constellate it to help decide.
- I can hear what my mom says and either accept it or say “This isn’t my issue.”
While life still has its share of challenges, it is easy to look back and see how much progress I have made in my life.
How we did it….. and you can do it too!