Mothering Through the Darkness Kindle ´ Mothering

5 thoughts on “Mothering Through the Darkness

  1. Sharon Tjaden-Glass Sharon Tjaden-Glass says:

    If you've never experienced postpartum depression PPD it is tempting to write off books on the subject thinking that they are not good investments of your time I admit that I paused when considering whether to buy this book I don't call what I experienced after my daughter's birth postpartum depression because it was not long lasting and as soon as I started getting than two hours of sleep per day I vastly improvedBut don't write off this bookBecause this book isn't just for mothers who have experienced or who may experience PPD It's for husbands and close friends parents and siblings doctors and nurses pastors and counselors It's for all of those people who interact closely with women during the postpartum periodStephanie Sprenger and Jill Smock editors of The HerStories Project Women Explore the Joy Pain and Power of Female Friendship 2013 and My Other Ex Women’s True Stores of Leaving and Losing Friends 2014 have selected and compiled a stunning collection of essays on the postpartum experience that is desperately needed and should be part of the pregnancy literature canon if there is such a thingMothering through the Darkness is not merely a collection of facts about what women experience during periods of postpartum depression This is an articulate and engaging collective narrative of thirty five essays that take the reader through a kaleidoscope of postpartum experiences ranging from postpartum depression anxiety and mood disorders as well as the lesser known post adoption depression Some writers sought help while in their darkest hours; others struggled through without help and lived to regret it But all of these stories succeed in connecting the reader with the foggy inner world of the postpartum period It is this book's ability to take the reader inside the mind of the mother that makes it a great read for those who are close to postpartum womenIn the book's first essay Here Comes the Sun poet Maggie Smith says we all come into this world unfinished still stitching ourselves together p 13 The essays that follow uphold this same spirit of honorable incompleteness The dignity of process and ongoingness Each essay ends with an understanding that one is never complete never perfect never fully finishedWhat readers can find in Mothering Through the Darkness are common threads that stitch essays together to create coherence in a chaotic topic Through Smock and Sprenger’s arrangement of these essays readers can identify several major themes that emerge throughout the bookIdentity ShiftNot surprisingly identity shift takes a central role in many of these essays The struggle of women to redefine themselves as mothers is an extraordinary and monumental transformation Such transformation is expressed in Denise Emanuel Clemen’s essay “My Face in the Darkness” in which she recalls how the birth of her first child created a new reality where “the world was turning upside down” p 159 She confuses a rocking chair for a wheelchair She sleeps at the foot of her bed to watch the baby This complete upending of her world leads to her profound loss of self“I’d lost my old self somehow The self that persevered The self that could hold everything in The self that could ferret out solutions” p 162This same loss of self emerges in Jennifer Bullis’ “Recovering My Stranger Self” After a difficult pregnancy and postpartum period forced her to resign from her tenure track position at a prestigious university Bullis sees herself two and a half years later in a mirror and finally feels that she has returned to herself—yet she acknowledges that this new self is “Not her previous identity but someone she recognizes as capable as a mother” p 119FailurePerhaps the most robust theme among these essays is a sense of failure In “The Breast of Me” Suzanne Barston narrates a string of perceived failures before her baby is even born difficulty getting pregnant early delivery because of low amniotic fluid and no euphoric feelings of love for her son once he was born Soon after that postpartum depression sets in In Barston's words“all I could give him was breast milk Not love Not laughter Not focused attention My only job was to feed the baby and if I failed at that I’d be rendered completely irrelevant I couldn’t give up” p 145Katie Sluiter’s essay “Sometimes There Aren’t Enough Bags of Chips” shows just how devastating a sense of failure can be when it is coupled with complete physical and mental exhaustion In her case her feelings of inadeuacy “turned into a blinding rage directed mostly at her husband and her mother” p 100 culminating with her throwing a bag of chips at her husband while cursing “FUCK THIS HOUSE AND YOU AND THIS FAMILY” p 102Emotional ParadoxWomen who experience the postpartum period understand the reality of simultaneously feeling multiple conflicting emotions Joy guilt and terror Contentment worry and gratitude Sadness confusion and wonder With each emotion vying for its own space to stretch its wings women can easily fall into the trap of believing that it is not normal for both positive and negative emotions to exist at the same time within the same mind Not understanding this can drive mothers to feel like liars impostors or drama ueensThis is where the essays of Mothering through the Darkness can normalize—perhaps even recreate a new paradigm for—postpartum experiences Maggie Smith “Here Comes the Sun” and Jen Simon “It Got Better But It Took a Long Time to Get Good” both refer to the haunting feeling of needing to be away from their babies while simultaneously needing to touch them Both writers settle on the analogy of a phantom limb to explain how they felt about being away from their babies Needing and not needing at the same time The lightness of freedom and the weight of guiltCeleste Noelani McLean’s “Life with No Room” not only acknowledges these paradoxes she shows how identifying these paradoxes helps her move through uandaries that would strike most outside observers as illogical“This is the truth I loved my daughter from the moment I knew that she was inside me But I also did not love her when she was born I was tired ragged overtaken when she was born There was no room in my life for me Knowing this is the truth that I was not making any of it up doesn’t fix it Doesn’t make me love my daughter any But it does make me hate myself a little less” p 33In fact McLean’s courage to acknowledge her own suicidal thoughts actually contributes to her ability to overcome them In simple powerful words she explains how“I want to be dead and I admit to this in a way and it is so embarrassing to admit this But also it is a relief I have spoken these words and I have not died” p 33IsolationPerhaps the most poignant essay that addresses isolation and depression is Randon Billings Noble’s “Leaving the Island” By comparing her journey through the postpartum period to the story of Robinson Crusoe Noble demonstrates the loss of perspective and disorientation that new mothers can feel when they experience PPD Although the representation of depression as an island is not new Nobel’s description of it adds fresh insight“It is a place where logic failsand where the laws of gravity are powerful than any other force It is a place almost impossible to revisit or describe once you’ve left” p 107Alexa Bigwarfe shows how feelings of isolation can further intensify PPD in her essay “Breathe” With two children a new baby with a feeding tube a husband who works all day and a regimented pumping schedule to keep up her milk supply Bigwarfe compares her days to house arrest What saved her was medication and blogging“Through the comfort of strangers I realized I was not alone and I was not a bad person” p 228Inability to recognize postpartum depressionThis last theme is especially heartbreaking in Dawn S Davies “Fear of Falling” in which she describes the rift in her marriage that deepens as her husband’s lack of concern and compassion drives her deeper and deeper into depression Davies recalls her attempt to exit a plane with her baby just before take off because of her certainty that the plane would crash When her husband growls at her to sit down because she is embarrassing him Davies realizes that she must keep her irrational thoughts inside unless she is ready to accept the shame of sharing themIt is this same tendency of women to soldier through tough times as a testament to their strength that Dana Schwartz takes issue with in her essay “Afterbirth” Schwartz opens with the story of her first birth and the large amount of blood that she lost from it She says“I felt a strange sense of pride recounting the story as if bleeding signified strength as if almost dying but not was something to be proud of” p 39But this strength wanes when her baby develops severe colic that keeps her and her husband awake for months Moving from powerful to powerless upsets her entire world and drives her to a key realization“Endurance is not strength; hardships are not badges to be earned Blood loss is just blood loss and too much of it will kill you” p 42The Final WordMothering through the Darkness does not leave its readers with feelings of powerlessness It is full of hope but not the Hope as seen on Etsy carved attractively into a wooden frame and then displayed above the mantle like a greeting card that never got sentIn her essay “We Come Looking for Hope” Alexandra Ross gives hope a authentic definition When a nurse recognizes the symptoms of postpartum depression descending on Ross she intervenes The nurse assures her that she will get better because she has seen other patients get better after they got help Ross explains that through her postpartum fog she had to make a decision—between believing that she could get better or being swallowed by depression She credits this nurse with saving her life As a result of this dire situation Ross creates a new definition of hope one that rings desperately true“Hope is not a continuum—it’s not measured on a spectrum by degrees It is a complete giving in to a desperate belief in something when you have nothing else left” p 171There is such truth in the absoluteness of this statement the way it throws the reader out into the darkness arms flailing hoping and praying that there will be something there to grab on to It’s this kind of candid truth that resonates most deeply with readersAlthough I haven’t mentioned every essay in this review nearly every essay in this book caught and carried my full attention They explored themes like the conflict between expectations and reality healthy and unhealthy coping strategies antenatal depression and the darkest thoughts of self harm and harming others Their courage to write and share their stories will not only help you to recognize depression but also to rethink how you can help a new mother who is experiencing PPDThe writers of these essays do not look away They look directly at you They make you see who they areThey make you see the face of the postpartum experienceAnd for that I thank them

  2. Pam Pam says:

    I love that you can read a story at a time whenever you have a moment without feeling as though you have to figure out where you were in the plot This book gives voice to the parts of motherhood that are not so easy to talk about the sadness the crushing despair the anxiety the intrusive thoughts and the numbness that often affect women right after giving birth This is a topic that desperately needs attention Though Sprenger and Smock's collection of essays represent diverse voices and experiences the overarching message rings clear and true throughout If you're struggling you are not alone Particular favorites that come to mind are the essays by Jen Simon and Alexandra DeRosasNote I received a free Advanced Reader Copy of this book

  3. Sue Sue says:

    I am in awe of each of the women brave enough to bare their souls in this collection of gut wrenching experiences with postpartum depression I saw a bit of myself in several of them Many of them told stories of prenatal depression miscarriages birth traumas all contributing to the complexity of becoming a mother Postpartum depression is treatable and as these women tell there is hope and a normal life on the other side of the darkness

  4. Brenda van Dyck Brenda van Dyck says:

    I appreciated reading these women's stories some were very relatable Being a few years away from the postpartum experience I thinking knowing what other women go through would have gone a long way toward helping me get through those first few rough months

  5. Sasha Sasha says:

    Fabulous book about a difficult subject that women do not feel comfortable discussing

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Mothering Through the Darkness [Epub] ➝ Mothering Through the Darkness By Stephanie Sprenger – Approximately 1 in 7 women suffer from postpartum depression after having a baby Many may experience depression during pregnancy postpartum anxiety OCD and other mood disorders Postpartum depression i Approximately in women suffer from postpartum depression after having a baby Many may experience depression during pregnancy postpartum anxiety OCD and other mood disorders Postpartum depression is in fact the most common pregnancy related complication―yet confusion and misinformation about this disorder are still widespread And these aren’t harmless myths the lack of clarity surrounding mothers’ mental health challenges can have devastating effects on their well being and their identities as mothers which too often leads to shame and inadeuate treatment In this one of a kind anthology thirty mothers break the silence to dispel Mothering Through Kindle - myths about postpartum mental health issues and explore the diversity of women’s experiences Powerful and inspiring Mothering Through the Darkness will comfort every mother who’s ever felt alone ashamed and hopeless―and hopefully inspire her to speak out.

  • Paperback
  • 280 pages
  • Mothering Through the Darkness
  • Stephanie Sprenger
  • English
  • 02 August 2016
  • 9781631528040

About the Author: Stephanie Sprenger

Stephanie Sprenger is a freelance writer author blogger and music therapist She is the mother of two young girls ages and Stephanie is co author and co editor of The HerStories Project Women Explore the Joy Pain and Power of Female Friendship Her writing has been featured on various websites including Mamalode In the Powder Room BlogHer and Scary Mommy She was a cast member of t.