Emotional Complications

Photo Thanks to Camila Damasio

Photo Thanks to Camila Damasio

I think this is good for us all to reflect upon and pull into our lives in whatever way.

I am struck again and again by how many families say they were not fully informed about the range of perinatal emotional complications that they may experience, even though these complications are known to be a common consequence of pregnancy.

The typical brochure that I see about postpartum depression is often titled something like “Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression.” There may be a photo of a mom looking out a window with her baby nowhere in sight, or a mom crying with a baby over her shoulder. There is no mention of pregnant women (60 percent of depression starts before or during pregnancy), no mention of men (about 10 percent of dads experience perinatal depression) and no description of symptoms beyond those typically associated with depression.

I see the lack of information about perinatal emotional complications as a marketing issue as much as anything else. In the past several years, there has been a groundswell of information about postpartum depression. Despite the fact that the media still occasionally confuses postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, it feels like there is far more information out there than before.

…Finally, we must change the dialogue from postpartum depression to perinatal emotional complications. This language was developed by Dr. Nancy Byatt and MotherWoman, and it helps families better understand what to look out for, and when. If we can do this, we will move from a conversation about women and depression, to ensuring that families have what it takes to care for themselves.

Read the post here.

Hayden’s Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he’d call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love’s austere and lonely offices?

The Way Whole Worlds Change

Experiencing and anticipating all the anniversaries of my father’s death bring me both a sense of tenderness and pain.  The tenderness is joyous, the pain striking.

It was in April that me and Mark went to church with Pop, worshiped with him for the first and only time.  We drove down for the occasion and had planned to return within 24 hours.

We saw him serving as an usher.  He was proud to stand at the door of the church, excited in his way to greet people who came to church.  He was glad we were there, too.  I remember how he dressed that morning, after a night of laughing at me because I couldn’t sleep with my brother’s loud snores.  We didn’t eat breakfast because we were planning to see our friends at the Ole Saw Mill, a tradition for our dinners when we visited on short trips.

That was the morning my dad’s decline started as far as we could see.  He fainted in church that morning, during a not-so-engaging sermon.  My cousin called the paramedics, and they took a very long time to come.  There had been an accident at the Food Lion and “all” the trucks (two of them) were occupied by the injured going to the small hospital.  We didn’t eat at Saw Mill, not with dad.  Instead, we went to the hospital, called our aunts who came from Little Rock that afternoon, and waited to hear what dad’s condition was.

When our relatives arrived, dressed in their Sunday’s best, we went to get socks and fast food for dad.  Our aunts loved us, greeted us, checked in on their brother, and released us to go eat around 5pm that afternoon.  Some time after we got back to the hospital, it was clear that we could leave, that dad was going to transfer to the hospital in Little Rock the next day, and that, looking back, everything  was different.  That was in April.  May is dad’s birth month, the day being a week away.  Now that he’s gone, I’m looking at it on the calendar like a day I don’t want to come.

It’s strange being so close, and so far, from one year ago.  The whole world can change in such a short time.

“…a fair estimate…”

This childish portrait needs, of course, some rectification.  No boy can make a fair estimate of his father.  I was thirty years old before I was able to do it.  The average boy all along thinks highly of his mother.  In manhood he is likely even to sentimentalize her faults into tender virtues.  With his male parent it is not so; his opinion goes through a range of changes and tends to be critical rather than sentimental.  Up to ten a boy thinks his father knows everything; at twenty he indulgently looks upon the “old man” as a back number or, maybe, something less complimentary; at thirty, if the boy himself has any sense, he recognizes all of his father’s qualities pretty fairly.

For Fathers & People Who Love Them

Tomorrow I’m launching a second blog.  I will continue to ramble about faith, writing, and relationships on this blog.  But the second blog will be for fathers and the people who love them.  I’ll share stories about parenting and focus on the skills that fathers and parents need, the interior life as a father, and the moments of grace I’m experiencing as a father.  That last part will also still get some coverage on this blog, though the posts for Intersections will be explicitly about my faith and how fatherhood is relating to, renovating, or enriching me spiritually.

Of course, I’m a man of faith whatever blog I’m writing on, so you should expect to see glimpses or full-scale shows of faith and grace on both blogs.  If you’re interested in these father-related topics, or you know someone who is, the address is forfathers.wordpress.com.  I’d love to have you or that person you know visit the blog.

The second thing about tomorrow I’d like to mention is that you should read about modern slavery in America over at the Root.  It summarizes Juneteenth, what it is, and how we should look at and respond to issues of slavery today.