Dawn Susan Davies is the recipient of the Florida International University UGS Provost Award for Best Creative Project, the Kentucky Women Writers Gabehart Prize, and others, and has been awarded residencies with the Vermont Studio Center and Can Serrat. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Real South Magazine, River Styx, Brain, Child, Hippocampus, Cease, Cows, Saw Palm, New Plains Review, Literary Orphans, Green Mountains Review, Ninth Letter, Fourth Genre and elsewhere. You can find out more about her at dawnsdavies.com.
“I wrote this essay because I wanted to make sense of another, longer piece I wrote about postpartum depression, which I had with each of my children, though I did not know it at the time. Humor can be protective: the longer piece was deliberately exaggerated and funny, in hopes that readers would understand how demanding, and ridiculous at times, parenting very young children can be, but I didn’t say the words “postpartum depression” in that piece. With this piece, I gave myself permission to write about the truly frightening, out-of-control thoughts I had that I was too ashamed to reveal. I gave my suffering a name. There is freedom in naming these things, and in giving them a place in the bright light of your history, instead of burying them in shame, and there is power in sharing your experiences with others. There is nothing shameful about postpartum depression, and I want people to know that the struggle is real, but you can triumph over it by telling someone you trust. Don’t suffer alone, like I did.”