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The Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Children, and Struggling with Depression Hardcover – Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1 edition (Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060843799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060843793
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 15.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 883,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. S. Goicoechea on 16 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am a mother of two who has suffred depression for the last 2 years. I bought this book because I have read a good revew somwhere else.
I am delighted to have read tjis because it has helped me make sense of an ilness we know little about. My husband is reading it at the minute and he has also found it helpful.
It explains very clearly why this can happen to any woman and he provides with lots of examples and stories from other mothers.
Sometimes it made me cry because I could see myself described in some chapters, other times it lifted my spirit reading I am not alone and it is not my fault
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Insightful book on Depression .... 10 Sep 2006
By Busy Mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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.

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Read it for yourself, your family, recommend to your clients, and colleagues 8 Aug 2006
By Devra Renner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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".
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant combination of anecdotes and science 14 Aug 2006
By Diane Neer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? 24 Sep 2007
By orpament II - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An insightful and well-written book on depression 11 Sep 2006
By Ruta Nonacs, MD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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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