there is such a beautiful
method to the madness, if you think about it. but who can think when the neo-frontal cortex — the part of the brain that plans and manages attention and cognition— is compromised post partum? “compromised” it is, and for good animal-survival reasons— the imperative is to keep
the baby (babies) alive and well and thriving. the body is no dummy. nature intends for the mom to be focused—singularly- on the baby. for those of us who continue pretending to use our cognitive centers well post partum — those of
us who continue to work or continue to “seem fine” and manage so much, who or are isolated to the point where we need to pretend to function “normally” during a time where nothing is “normal”… we are moving counter to what our bodies—and nature—intend. and while so doing, we are plagued by physiological and psychological and biochemical pulls nonetheless— toward baby care. toward baby’s survival.
our office, the lists, responsibilities or not— the body wants momma to be very focused and concerned about the baby’s ongoing well-being. night and day.
the invasive thoughts— borne from the stress hormone cortisol to keep us hyper vigilant about the baby’s welfare— all intended by nature. the edginess… bringing out this momma bear protectiveness, to set boundaries firmly and unequivocally on behalf of self-preservation and the baby—intended by nature. the temporary loss of memory— to keep us fiercely anchored in the present for our babies. the fatigue— can’t really run away from the little angels with our cellular exhaustion holding us in place…the appetite (or lack thereof)—indicating the need for highly nutritious and grounding food, coupled with our needing some communal help from someone to help us with that— all intended to keep the mom protected and helped and alive. the precipitous hormonal drop
to ensure there isn’t —momentarily anyway—any eye toward further procreation when all attention needs to be on this offspring. the insomnia in order to have us “sleep” with one eye open through night to keep our awareness on a newborn or baby whose rhythms have not yet found the 8 hour adult
rhythm (and aren’t meant to). this tendency toward wanting to be in direct and close proximity to our child/children—and feeling terrible if we aren’t—all intended by life to keep this funny species alive. and thriving.
so maybe there IS a method to all this “madness”. and maybe it isn’t madness at all. maybe it is perfect. maybe it is poetry. even as our culture wants to see us “bounce back” and “go back to normal” — ie: high functioning, high cognition, high giving, high yield… within days of giving birth (a birth that for so many was potentially traumatic and requires gentle and slow
healing.. and again… more loving hands around)— we are still subject to these perfect effects of post partum. and so we should be.
a culture that would want us to bypass all this, ignore these normal and intended “symptoms” of post partum… is a society that might entirely be missing the point of what us moms and women are DOiNG once our babies come out. and how it is all meant to be this way. and our resisting of it— my resisting of it— is the only cause of true suffering.
is it any wonder that our attempting to live against the current of our existential imperatives has us feeling out of sorts, confused, bewildered or “broken”? for those of us who fight these natural unfoldings in our bodies and minds and souls post-partum— we are swimming against the tide of life itself.
maybe post partum depression and anxiety and OCD… and any “post partum activity” as i like to call it— is simply
life’s way of ensuring the ongoing unfoldment of life. seeing it this way— it inspires my eye to be on whatever it takes to not let her (me) slip away into the depths without an outreached hand or two to keep us from any extreme. treatment is god, when treatment is needed. village is mandatory for survival. and yet maybe, some of the extreme post partum symptoms have more to do with us fighting how natural what we are feeling is. there is more to this, to be sure. an ongoing sense of cognitive “incomplete-ness” is the name of this game of post partum— and maybe of all of life. it’s a funny thing, to attempt to see clearly in a sandstorm with no goggles. to feel assured and even-footed when our cognition and memory is compromised…there are complexities and considerations to be delved into further. for now, i will pop some magnesium and pray—
perhaps a little less fitfully—that i fall back asleep.