Candice Nolan / Jan 9, 2020


The black dog is back. It keeps barking from the same hymn sheet. Candice, you are not good enough. Candice, you are a failure as a mother. Candice, what made you think you could do this? It even compared my parenting style to the horrors of the Romanian orphanages circa the collapse of communism.

Winston Churchill famously described his depression as the black dog. It’s unrelenting. It needs constant attention. And the beast must be fed. Oh, and it follows you everywhere. Mine barks hideous things. Frightful things. And they seem so real.

I was reading about the Romanian orphanages the other day. The horrors. Children chained and caged like animals. And then I thought, hey, baby sesame sucks her thumb. That’s a sign of self soothing. Perhaps it’s an escape from the horror that is her mother. The black dog barks.

Even writing about it, fills me with dread. My monster in law once threatened to call child welfare services on me. My crime? Insisting on breast feeding my baby, rather than relying on formula. It was risable, at best. But her threats found fertile ground. I still think she may have been on to something. The black dog barks.

I work shifts. They end at 21h00. Understandably, I like to have a lie in in the mornings. This is impossible with a toddler. Today, I felt bad. She apologised for disturbing my sleep. I felt absolutely rotten. Not a morning person, I chastised her earlier for disturbing my sleep. The black dog barks.

Who does that kind of thing? Certainly not a doting mother who loves her offspring and cares for their wellbeing? Where is my compassion? My empathy for others? My sense of responsibility? There must be something wrong with me. The dark dog barks.

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