Happy Pants by Heather Gallagher is a picturebook about a young boy who's mother is suffering from postpartum depression. The book begins with all the fun stuff he used to do with mom before she went to the hospital to have the baby. She would wear her happy pants and they would build sandcastles, go out for babycinos and have lots and lots of cuddles. But when she comes home with baby Darcy, her happy pants stay in her wardrobe and she spends more of her time in bed. Will Mommy ever wear her happy pants again?
Happy Pants is an honest, and I think necessary, look at a problem that is too often swept under the rug or ignored. Postpartum depression can be a serious issue, or a more mild issue, that effects a number of mothers every year. Older children, spouses, and the mother in question might not even realize how serious it is, but being about to recognize and talk about it is important for everyone. I thought it was important to see that the mother did not just 'snap out of it' like many who have no understanding of the situation might expect. Instead she had the support of her family and received professional help.
Happy Pants is a good book for young readers and families to help understand the effects of postpartum depression, and some of its signs and symptoms. knowing that it is real, that it is nothing to be ashamed of, and that it can happy to any mother is very important. The addition information after the story is a valuable resource as well. I think the fact that the book is endorsed by the Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA) and the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) is a powerful recommendation for the book.