* Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of this book. *
Sometimes resiliency is revealed through the variegated shades of tragedy and grief that so often colors the private horror that is postpartum depression. In the newest project from The HerStories Project and She Writes Press, editors Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger give us the beautifully curated anthology, Mothering Through Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience. More than thirty authors fearlessly describe their unsettling and profoundly emotional journeys into motherhood that each began while wrapped in the fog of depression.
Having experienced postpartum depression I felt reluctant to dive into this nearly 300-page book for fear of stirring the settled smoke of my own grief, and so I was astonished by my response when I finally put the book down. For the first time I truly felt like I belong to a tribe of fierce women. The stories in this book are raw and honest in a way that at times feels scary and at other times feels nourishing. I could be one of these brave women. You could be one of these brave women. Smock and Sprenger have managed an absolutely astounding feat: they took the taboo subject of postpartum depression and not only gave it a voice and a face – many for that matter – but they normalized an otherwise vilified event in women’s lives.
Told with deft emotional precision these stories will grab you and throw you into the detailed chaos of how depression plays itself out in many different ways. And while each story tells about a bitter chapter in the writer’s life, they are not all bleak and horrible for there are many moments of humor and love, hope and the proof of resiliency.
If you suffer from postpartum depression there are many resources available to you including The Postpartum Stress Center where licensed professionals are specifically trained in helping women with PPD.