I’m having an Eeyore day: Parenting with Depression
“Good morning, Eeyore,” said Pooh.
“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning, which I doubt,” said he.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”
I wish my kids called me Eeyore. There’s something lovable and romantic about the stuffed donkey with the buttoned-on tail that always seems to go missing. I could imagine myself walking through a pleasant wood as a solitary raincloud tracks my every move, my damp ears drooping to the ground. “Oh, Eeyore,” they’d say, “let’s go to Pooh’s and have some hunny.”
Instead, my children call me “Crabby Ima” (that’s Hebrew for “Mom”). My younger child keeps insisting that I need a pin, or a hat, or a sticker with bright red pincers, a warning that today Ima isn’t exactly a Pooh Bear.
Parenting is hard. Parenting in a pandemic is hard. Parenting when you’re part of a maligned or oppressed group is hard. Parenting when you have past personal or transgenerational trauma is hard. And parenting with depression is hard.
Sometimes, people don’t get it. They’re Pooh, assuming we all can, and we all just are refusing to muster the gaiety and the song-and-dance and the here-we-go-round-the-mulberry bush. “I’m depressed,” you try to say. “Why? What do you have to be sad about?” they reply. Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing.
If you search “Judaism” and “depression,” you’ll quickly come upon the life and work of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidic Judaism. Nachman, and his great-grandfather, brought a combination of deep learning and intuitive, emotional spirituality to his Jewish practice and teaching. To Rebbe Nachman is attributed the saying, “Nothing is more whole than a broken heart.”