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VINE VOICEon September 10, 2006
If I hadn't seen an ongoing discussion with the author online and heard about this book, I probably would not have picked it up since I do not suffer much from depression. But the discussion has sparked an interest and since I do have relatives that suffer from depression, I was intrigued enough to read it.

The topic may sound off-putting but I can honestly say that this is one of the best laid-out and well-written books I have read in a long time. From the very first paragraph, Thompson grabs the reader's attention and holds it till the last page has been turned. Even then, you're finding yourself wishing that you have a little bit more money in your pocket to buy this book for all the women in your life. (And some for the men to better understand their wives!)

This is a book that explains a taboo subject. It explores Post-Partum depression (not as thoroughly as other books may have) but also, maternal depression, which I will admit that I have never heard of. But the stories of individuals in this book have made it real and something noteworthy to explore. Thompson has made a concise exploration into this study. She makes the issue personal since she does suffer from depression. Her stories and other women's stories have given maternal depression a name and I never realized that it was so common till I read this book. She gives the reader a better understanding about depression, what kind of help you can get now and there is even a chapter on rat/monkey studies that is very interesting.

This is science mixed in with intimate details. It is a book that teaches you something new and makes it interesting. It makes you pause in reflection and gives you a better understanding on what maternal depression really is. It helps maybe to feel a little bit less alone in this struggle and for me, it does help me understand those in my family who suffers from depression a bit more. This book really should be read by everyone to shed a little bit more light on a dark disease of the mind.

9-10-06
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on August 8, 2006
I'm really not sure which book Publishers Weekly was reading, but it couldn't have been this one! Instead focus on Library Journal who, in my opinion, got it right. As a clinical social worker, who has worked with hundreds of mothers, this is a book I recommend to clients as well as mental health professionals. Thompson's ability to explain complicated -medical/physiological/pharmacological- information while simultaneously using commonly understood language,without watering down the information one iota, is a true gift. The stories Thompson shares from her own experience as a mother struggling with depression, in adddition to the compelling interviews she has conducted with hundreds of mothers(all backed by excellent research relating what is happening currently in the field of depression) set this book apart making it a one stop resource.
As strange as it may sound, this book is an enjoyable read, even though it is tackling a very serious subject; maternal depression. I know! Enjoyable and maternal depression does appear to be incongruous in the same sentence. However Thompson's way with the written word just doesn't come along very often in this genre. Most of the books written about depression are heavily technical or written like a "how to" manual. Thompson has found, as Dave Matthews would sing, "The Space Between".
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on September 24, 2007
This was a really interesting book to read...even though my kids are older, 11 and 13, I found myself remembering how miserable I felt at times during their babyhoods. I started out as a stay-at-home mom and felt valueless and overwhelmed even though I knew that my babies were the most precious things in the world. My question throughout this book is...why does she assume that the depression came first? I believe that there are many happy women who become mothers, only to find out that it can be the most wearisome, intellectually unrewarding job. (Yes, I know, there are women who will think I'm horrible; I've heard it all before). But the reality is that just raising kids (no matter how much you love them and I love mine) can be very unrewarding for some women...perhaps they weren't depressed before but became depressed. This book focuses on women who are prone to depression, have experienced depression prior to having kids, and who have actually had serious depression episodes. I think that there are a whole bunch of women who fall into other categories. There are many mothers who love their kids but aren't that great at being housewives and on call 24/7...could depression be a natural outcome of total submission to family and kids at the expense of outside pursuits?
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on August 13, 2006
The Ghost in the House will ring true for every mother who has struggled with depression, whether postpartum or other. It would also serve as a great resource for those who know or live with someone with depression.

Tracy Thompson pulls together and seamlessly blends her own experience as a mother who struggles with depression, the stories she gleaned from thousands of mothers who responded to her plea for women to share their experiences and hard scientific evidence about this illness and its impact on mothers who struggle with it and their families.

Far from being "depressing", this book gives hope by helping the reader understand the interplay of nature and nurture as well as a variety of insights on some of the solutions and strategies that have worked for others. Depression is a complex physiological illness that defies simplistic or pat answers and is further complicated by a mother's concerns about the impact of her illness on her children and on their psychological futures. Tracy Thompson encompasses all of this in The Ghost in the House.

I've only written a couple other reviews on Amazon, but this book compelled me to do so.
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on September 11, 2006
In this important book, Tracy Thompson tackles the seldom talked about topic of maternal depression and has done a phenomenal job of exploring how, for far too many women, depression can intermingle with and transform the experience of motherhood. Drawing upon her own experiences with depression and including the stories of hundreds of women she interviewed, she paints a picture of maternal depression that is honest, compelling, and perhaps most importantly, empathic. Moreover, she has deftly woven this evocative descriptive material with a careful review of the medical literature, creating a work that is scholarly and engaging.

As a psychiatrist who works primarily with women who suffer from depression within the context of pregnancy and raising children, I am certain this book will resonate for any mother who has struggled with depression. I was particularly impressed with Ms. Thompson's ability to write so candidly about depression and how it can color and compromise the act of mothering, while at the same time maintaining an aura of hopefulness. Over and over she urges women to get the help they need, arguing that depression need not be a devastating experience. In fact, she notes that by addressing the problem directly, a woman may have the opportunity to become a more insightful and emotionally available parent.

This book is a pleasure to read. Ms. Thompson is an exquisite writer, and her ability to take complex medical information and to gracefully intertwine it with the deeply personal stories of those who have grappled with this illness is impressive. For these reasons, I recommend The Ghost in the House to any mother who has struggled with depression, as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about depression within the context of motherhood.
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on July 30, 2007
The first thing that struck me about this book was the title, specifically "struggling with depression". Thank you. As I fight my way back up for the fourth time since becoming a mother, the last thing I need is another chirpy book about "overcoming", "beating", or otherwise banishing depression forever. This is the first book I've seen that acknowledges that, for at least some of us, it is a life-long fight.

Some reviewers have suggested that it's very upsetting to know that our depression is going to have a profound effect on our children. Perhaps that's why this is the first time it's been addressed truthfully. I KNEW it was impacting my family, but not one single Doctor would admit it and help me find a way to minimize the damage. It's ridiculous to think that anything that causes a mother to suffer this deeply doesn't affect her family.

I found this book quite hopeful on two levels. The personal stories and interviews demonstrate that experiences I thought were mine alone are not unique. The people who had the courage to share also prove that this illness can be managed. What has been managed can be managed, and I am not alone in trying to find the right set of tools and skills. The other level that I find hopeful is the amount of research the author cites. There are people out there trying to figure this thing out.

The cliche of "the first step is admitting there is a problem" is a cliche because it's true. As a culture we need to admit that Depression exists, many more people have it than we think, and it has a deep and lasting impact on our families and society at large. This book has the potential to be a big first step.
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on May 1, 2007
To the reader who was depressed by this book... depression is scary, especially to the person struggling with it everyday. If you have clinical depression, you can not make it go away be denying it is there. You must get out from under those covers and face it.

This book was so empowering to me because it showed that even when that seems like the impossible task you can still help your children make the best of themselves, and become strong and self sufficient. I found the stories touching, and really, quite familiar. I was so encouraged by the fact that there are women out there who are dealing with this disease just like me every day, and they are succeeding.

We all love our children dearly and don't want to hurt them, but we are imperfect individuals. It is a fact of life that we will at some point negatively impact our children's lives. Whether it be large or small it is going to happen. This book, when truly taken to heart, helps in so many ways to teach depressed mothers how to keep that hurt to a minimum. A+ Tracy Thompson, and thank you.
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on August 29, 2007
I suffer with depression and I have a young toddler. I found Ms Thompson's research and first-hand experience affirming and empowering. I will definitely read her first book. Unfortunately I couldn't relate to the upper-middle class majority of women she spoke to and she only gave a passing mention to women like me who also have to deal with poverty and very limited access (if at all) to quality psychiatric support or just decent counseling.
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on December 28, 2006
This book is awesome for any woman, especially mother that is is suffering from depression. It has helped me immensely in my relationship with myself, my mother, and my daughter.
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on May 11, 2010
I reread this book recently and was struck by its dead-on accuracy and vivid imagery. I've read lots of books on depression and many are helpful or informative, but this is the one that rips my heart open. I can see myself reflected in its stories. I have underlined dozens of passages and scribbled Yes! Yes! in the margins.

It frustrates me to see that this book never got the attention it deserves. Perhaps this subject is still too difficult to talk about. No one wants to admit to depression; no one wants to admit to being inadequate as a mother; no one wants to risk losing her children. So we tough it out alone. Big mistake.

But for suffering mothers and children, this book tells you that you are not alone and that help is available. I wish I could give a copy to everyone I know.
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