I did not have postpartum depression. When I was having children (in the early 1980s) it (postpartum depression) wasn’t “a thing”. Except, of course, it WAS. We just didn’t know about it… or talk about it.
Every mother gets depressed and anxious after childbirth. Especially the first child. She’s tired. It’s all new. She’s a wreck. Blah, blah, blah.
Not the same thing. At. All.
The kind of depression we’re talking about here is called postpartum depression because it only happens after childbirth (miscarriages, stillbirths, or the end of any pregnancy). It can be confusing, crippling and dangerous.
I saw Down Came the Rain at the library, on CD. My favorite books to listen to come from the biography section of the library (especially those read by the author!)… and I like Brooke Shields. So, I picked it up.
It’s a good book on the subject. Is it the best book ever written about postpartum depression? No. But it is deeply personal, authentic and illuminating.
Shields is no dummy, but the writing is a bit simplistic, which makes it an easy read. What that means to me is that it came from her heart. This is not an educational dissertation. Instead, it is a realistic view of the havoc, shame and terror a new mother feels when she has this very specific type of depression.
Published in 2005, it was too late for Baby Boomers like me, but just in time for a whole bunch of women (and families). And I truly believe it brought this subject to life in a way that hadn’t been done in the past. Sadly, when we did hear about it, it was on the heels of a tragedy. <<< Read at your own risk. Horrible stories, but true. In contrast, I’m linking a Psychology Today article that is very well written and not quite so terrifying. The statistics are a bit jarring, though.
In contrast to both of those links, Down Came the Rain is a gentle, hopeful book.
It is the story of a famous woman who had trouble conceiving but once she did, put very high expectations on herself. She also felt eyes on her. Of course. She has grown up in front of us… and has been famous since… well, it seems like forever.
I like happy endings. This book has one. Her life has one. I say, “Good for her!” And I’m happy she shared this part of her journey with us.