I had post-partum depression after my son was born and ten years later I wrote about it and now that essay is in a book of essays, an anthology called Mothering Through The Darkness, which has the publication date of... today.
It's compelling to write "publication date" and be referring to yourself and thirty other women.
I feel like I'm back at Smith in Dawes House which was the French-speaking house. There's a pride. My French is middling. But I'm in a book of essays with thirty women. It has a scent like a ripe fruit.
I want to clap people on the back at the suburban Baltimore Starbucks where I hang out freelance-writer-like near the Trader Joe's, "Your double pump soy decaf iced pumpkin spice Americano is on me. Today is Publication Day!" but I don't because the topic of the book is still a stigma. The work of the book is to change this. Me, thirty women, and essays.
There is still the expectation that all new mothers -- and maybe all mothers -- will be cheery Hallmark cards in glittery script with uplifting meaning, not sad clowns. (That's me, above, pointing with my finger to a tear on my cheek.)
Motherhood morphed and changed me. Ten years in, what I think about is not what could have been, but what is, the transience of my importance, Basho's poem translated by Robert Hass: "A caterpillar/ this deep in fall /still not a butterfly," though of course I would like to be beautiful.
What I have is that I am giving it all that I've got: jazz hands, clowns in the clown car, bear on a little bike, pratfalls, three rings, bits, the Bearded Lady, lion tamer and soft-shoe.