“Above all, tell the truth. Spill the beans. Go ahead, let it all out”.
There are clichéd invitations, but what about those fragile moments in motherhood, still delicate? Still a processing the something new. Engorged or breathless or feeling the surge of raw emotions, hormones racing, plummeting under-skin. How do women express what can be scary, the fatigued moments that can feel defeating, even for one teensy weensy second?
(Below photo taken by the wonderful Melissa Willms).
The thing is, I love being a mother. Beyond. I adored pregnancy, the roundness of life growing. I love being a mother. Even so, in the weeks or early months following my second-child’s birth, a friend asked me if I had The Baby Blues. What nerve. The misunderstanding. Not me. No depression or deep dissatisfaction here.
Yet, there was something that needed dealing with, a shame clinging to my ribs that would not get out. I would not loose it, afraid to expose one incident that had me by the throat and pit in my stomach. See? Not every minute of motherhood is flouncy aprons and saying grace by the fire. Sometimes it’s clenched-teeth prayers and realizing that love is in the blueprints of community. Forgiveness, in the crackling of embers, all of those hidden things, now lit by the presence of G-d.
So like all these women, I wrote about my experience. I sent the words off, blew each vibrating verb like yellow lily pollen. It stuck somewhere wonderful, powerful, and moving.
I sent my words, my second baby postpartum frustrations and prayers, to The HerStories Project, as these remarkable editors called forth realities of postpartum experience. They combed and sifted through 220 truthful essays and pulled thirty-two from the pile. This will be the book. They are sharing more of those powerful entries online.
Be truthful. Be encouraging. Don’t scare new moms, jeez. Tell them it may mean tough nights. It may be a-rough-go, many many mornings, but the point is we are here. We, like our babes, sometimes have to be born from a dark night, guided by midwives. We emerge and write. We speak of freedom and light, courage and the path from discomfort to a stretching out of wings. There is even a book.