What happened to those children was awful, what that mum did was horrific and she needs to be accountable. I don't think anyone disagrees with that.
But if we can start to understand how these situations come about, then we open the door to prevention. We need to break down the stigma that still surrounds mental illness, so everyone feels safe to share their stories, so that they and others can learn.
I'm going to put myself out on limb here and be brutally honest. I have suffered through depression my entire parenting life. One of my red flags that I have learnt signals my slipping back into a depressive episode is not feeding my children. For me my brain starts to shut down one thing at a time, and, for some unknown reason, the first thing my brain drops off the necessary list is food. It's so hard to explain. It's not a conscience thought, it's not because I'm lazy or selfish or immature. It's not because I have better things to do with my time like play facebook games. Food just looses all importance to me. I know now when I stop preparing proper meals and the kids are relying far to heavily on fruit to get by, that I need to ask for help.
But I am one of the lucky few who have an amazingly supportive partner. We have spent years compiling a list of my triggers and red flags. He is strong enough that when he or I notice that I am slipping, he steps in and takes control until I can again. I don't want to think what the consequences may have been if he spent his time at the pub, rather than being home with the children and me, taking the time to talk to all of us so he can see how I'm faring.
Sure, it's a massive burden for him to bare, and I often feel overwhelmingly guilty to put him through this. But, as he tells me, he is happy to take that burden on, because he loves his children. And he loves me, faults and all.
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