Maybe you know this feeling

Thinking about depression, I started wondering about what I have forgotten. It's always there in my brain: I have struggled with postpartum depression with each of my babies, but then I forget what it was really like, because I have a habit of remembering the good things.

(The smell of the trees, the light through the leaves, the river talking to us night and day, not the unreliable water, the falling down buildings, the septic tanks that didn't work.)

Anyways, I dug through some of my old poems and found one that I wrote after YaYa was born. It's true as true about PPD... the love mingled with darkness. I thought I'd share it.


my infant daughter wakes in the still night
[it is quiet for once on the streets
outside our window.
everyone gone home
or sitting in silent stupor,
having finally run out of things to scream about.]

my infant daughter wakes and I

can tell from her thin sad cry that fear brings her out of

sleep; afraid of what shapes I can't imagine
what nightmares jostle her into wakefulness

[do you dream of being wrapped in
blankets that cannot warm you,
or maybe of being wide eyed but blind?
or do you dream of being alone
under huge pale colourless skies?]

I won't tell you what it is like to be alone,
and what nightmares are like once you have names
for them. I won't tell you of cracked houses falling
and deep sorrows revealed. dreams of betrayal and
adultery, even death. all the nameless unsayable fears that are
haunting in the night, that wake you up crying,
with a taste like vinegar in your mouth.

[when you have bad dreams I pick you up and
sing the fear into yesterday. I look down into your eyes
and wait for sleep to carry you back smiling.]

where is the calm for my dreams, both waking and asleep?
who will send the tornadoes into oblivion,
calm the monstrous tigers with gaping mouths?

windows with no glass, roaring wind enters.
wounds and holes and old friends' hurt.
torn clothes, no clothes.

[I will keep you, my worst dreams are of not
having you... my haunting is what might have been
if you never had been born.]

[sometimes, though, dreams bring safety not grief
often there are warm hands for me to hold
I am not alone
and I will shrink into my blankets until sleep comes
to carry me back smiling.]