A Day of Soup & Spilling News

The day I told my mom of a new child here growing here was the day I pedaled to buy chervil and thyme, more carrots and bouillabaisse. It was the day I walked my husband to the drive and into the street and acknowledged with tears that with my telling her, I’d feel more weightless– more joy.

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I cried up the hill, bicycling a basket full of warm baguette, the bottles of olive oil and herbs, all of spring and promises of summer, the cozy coming of winter, all for the soup to gather in fall. And I said, “I’m so glad you’re in charge of birth and death”. The trust in pedaling with an eight week, six-day-old baby, living inside.

(Which is the same day I bought these purple and brown irises home. Delicate purple and golden browns like Champagne and chanterelles. I brought the iris pots home, three of them for my 500 yen, 50 yen change, 3 of them for my garden, which is the same day I bought bubbly apple juice from France to celebrate a Shabbat, a growing with family). Celebrating is feeling alive.

I have to get through the telling. The worry that she won’t be pleased with the steps of my life, my ordered recipe. Peppermint tea for her and I pour out my words. Out come the pictures of a little bean in an ultrasound. It is all, extraordinarily, smooth.

We’re all here–iris outside the front step, and all that will be held in my body. Joy soothes the weary, all the jumpy nerves. A bouquet of leaves swirling and moss earth fragrant November. It’s a day we all want soup. It’s the day to make my mother tea and tell her our news.

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Yes, the day I made a fall soup is the day I spilled the news to my sister, too, her driving, “I am pregnant”. There is another growing child and she whooped and cheered and all my anxiety cleared.

That’s what I’ve been– clenched, sad, afraid I’d not get some needed ingredient. And now it’s the day of a thousand good breaths and the soup called relief which I’ll start right now. Here, in my life, are all the right people to love.

Now, now I can get excited. We’re all onboard and feeling warm.

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The best things take time and must be gathered courageously.

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Opening the Hidden Places, It’s Release Day!

If a pregnant woman hungers to ingest dirt or laundry detergent, this is a problem and a warning. If a postpartum woman thinks about harming herself or her baby, she obviously needs help from a professional provider. The same hormones that ought to help women bond with their baby and create milk, can also trigger anxiety in some women, and even awaken some bipolar, even destructive tendencies. This stuff is real.

What about the in-between space of anxiety and a constant overwhelm? Are these enough to ask for help? Yes.

Warnings are good. They help us see a problem or potential for one. Thing is, the one experiencing such pain has to recognize a problem and then speak up. (This is kind of a conflict because we humans, we women, like to/want to/need to feel all put-together. Successful. Able to balance every sphere and even have great hair.)

I looked out for such warnings, such complete shifts in thought or behavior. Because you hear stories. You can imagine how, after a friend suggested I might have “The Baby Blues”, I meticulously combed and sifted through my thoughts and feelings, all the more, to find any sort of warning flag. I didn’t have any, but her comment prompted a host of deriding feelings–from inadequacy to failure. Even the thought of Postpartum Depression sickened me. Such a stigma!

And if I was fine, what was I showing her or the world, or my family, that would cause such a question? The very possibility held shame.

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For one, I was living/am living in a foreign country. Some things, especially in the high vulnerability season of pregnancy and postpartum days, can be tough when you’re not in your home system, with the support you were expecting. Some things are better here, but nonetheless, that was part of it. Everything can feel tough with a new baby. Beautiful and soft, but also, tough. How absolutely balanced can we feel when living for long bouts without much sleep?

What set me floundering, though, what really brought on grief and a terrible weight was the time I very accidentally hurt my baby. This is my story in the book, and it ends very well, but I needed to share it.

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I needed to tell other women that it’s okay that we can’t do it all. Help is good. Help can save the day, for you and your child. Help can be in folding laundry, in someone making you a real meal, watching the kid so you can shower. Help can also be in the form of a hug, or a doctor’s appointment, and sometimes, the right prescription to balance hormones, to see the light break through and beat back depression.

MOTHERINGTHRUDARK

Today, our book, Mothering Through the Darkness, a HerStories work of art, was officially released. This book belongs in every phycologist and psychiatrist’s office. It has need to be seen and utilized in every neonatal unit, in every obgyn’s office, in pediatric centers, and in preschools.

HerStories will donate 10% of profits to Postpartum Progress, a remarkable organization that provides precious resources to mothers in the thick of perinatal mood disorders. Here is an article to help assess what may be normal new-mom feelings vs something more. Mothering Through the Darkness also shows quite a range.

This is a volume of love and authenticity for book groups, for spouses and partners, caregivers, and every mom. Because we all need help and the raw days can be tough. It’s important that we can talk. Shame, as I say in the essay, is the thing that would eat us up, if not for the light. If not for the right kind of help. If not for the sisterhood of words and books that open up to just the story you need. If not for G-d, if not for all of the help.

THIS is the book to share.

Score it on Amazon, in Barnes and Nobles, or your favorite indie store.

Friends in Japan, it’s on our Amazon JP, too.