Let me say from the outset, that although I have never once been depressed or blue myself, I have known this debilitating condition in others in my role as a Probation Officer, in the lives of neighbours and a few friends, and even in my own family circle.
I was 33 years old when this song was first released and had just started my career in Huddersfield as a Probation Officer three years earlier. It should have been one of the happiest periods in my life having fathered my first child James two years earlier in 1974 and then my second son, Adam in 1976. I had always wanted a family of my own, and like all Irish men who consider the woman of the house as the mainstay of family life, I was no different in my marital expectations. I wanted a wife who would be a good marriage partner and a natural loving and caring mother to our children.
However, mere days after each of our two sons were born, my wife literally refused to have any contact with either child. Being born an Irish man of Roman Catholic persuasion, I found this response in any mother wholly inexplicable. There was no name for the condition at the time for a mother who had recently given birth to a child but who seemed to be devoid of all emotional attachment to the infant.
Between their first week of life and their respective ages of five years and three and a half years (when my wife insisted on our separation), I fed, washed, clothed, bedded, exercised, and nursed both of our sons wholly unaided by my wife. This most unusual situation didn’t depress me, but it did puzzle me greatly how any mother could abandon care for her new-born infant/infants. The most prominent emotions I felt were confusion mixed with anger and frustration and disappointment, along with my inability to help my wife whatever I did. The more I attempted to bring her closer to our children, the farther she drew away from them.
It was only in later years that we understood the condition she was suffering with was ‘pre-natal depression’ (a depressive condition that was outside her control). It was only then that I came to understand why she had responded in such an emotionally detached manner with our new-born infants.
I never wanted to usurp any part of my wife’s role as our children’s mother, but when it became apparent that she didn't attend to their needs, I had to. I had no other option and felt obliged to undertake the twin roles of both mother and father and the sole role of carer and parental provider of their daily needs.
All I knew was that I had to do whatever the children needed doing at the time they needed it, and as their mother ‘wouldn’t (or as it transpired) ‘couldn’t' do it, I had to step in and carry out her traditional role in every possible regard. I didn’t mind being both father and mother to our two children, but inwardly, I now know that I must have deeply resented it.
The song ‘Something’s Making Me Blue’ that was released about this time would constantly remind me of my wife’s depressive illness and the ‘blue world’ she inhabited of which I had insufficient understanding to truly help her.
Love and peace Bill xxx