post partum depression


I've started acupuncture as a way to get a bit more even keeled. This is an option because of the Berkeley Acupuncture Project, and this is possible because of their whole 'community acupuncture' philosophy. Their goal is pretty simple: to make Chinese medicine accessible by making it affordable – and they make it affordable by practicing it in a big common room with chairs.

It's all very womb-like.

And somehow, not weird at all. In fact, I think I liked being in a room with other people more than I have enjoyed being alone.

Yeah, so that's how it works. I go in, sit down, get comfortable. They stick needles all over me, then leave me to sleep until I buzz them back to take all the needles out!


Only in Berkeley, huh.

Yes, those are my sainted mother's hands holding Moxie, caring for ALL THREE KIDS while I am paying to have needles stuck in me

Meanwhile, I have found that Mac is actually suffering from 'Nipple Confusion" – or rather, we are both suffering, because let me tell you: this ain't no joy ride.

On no account is it as challenging at learning to nurse with Moxie was, but we still have our work cut out for us here.

I think it's mostly especially hard because of the TIME that it takes to get us on the ball. According to Dr. Sears, I have to:

  • commit to ditching the bottle
  • have him close all the time (hello sling, that I never learned to use)
  • nurse his head off

Is it worth it? When I actually have things to do and two other kids to care for? Yes, I think it is. I think breastfeeding is the easiest thing ever, once everyone has the hang of it. Plus, in light of the Pan Am Overland, I want us on something that doesn't involve washing lots of bottles or searching for milk or formula or whatever in some village in Guatamala….

But still. This is really, really frustrating. I'm not going to kick myself into a pulp if it doesn't happen. I'm just going to try. Stay sane. And try and stay sane. Haha.


…I was the person the instructor looked at and said with great pity gentleness to "keep trying" and to "not get discouraged". One whole room of taut bodies, all going to level 3 and one of me, for whom I'm sure the instructor went and created a beginning level.

And it didn't bother me.

I wasn't even using excuses in my head as I looked at my rolls of bellyflesh while struggling to hold my knees aloft. No, "I'll bet I'm the only one who had a baby a month ago", not even, "but it was my THIRD!" – no, not at all. Nothing.

Instead, to be honest, I was just psyched to be there, point blank. Happy to have that hour of stretching and exercise, courtesy of my sainted mother – SAINTED!!  Some distant part of my brain was mulling over the fact that I wasn't upset, comparing that to Meriah-from-years ago, the anorexic/bulimic Meriah who would never have attended the class to begin with it she was anything over 120lbs. HAHAAHA – and how funny is it that sometimes at our thinnest, we're our own worst enemies.

And sometimes we don't even even need to be thin – at any given point, we can be our own worst enemy.

That's changing for me, I'm better to me than I used to be.

He is too. He only woke up three times last night!

Don't you love those mittens??

Absolutely fabulous. Melissa made them for him and I think I'm going to just keep them on his hands until he outgrows them.

I think they make him happy, too.


What's making you happy right now?


Cloverdale. The small town north of the San Francisco Bay Area which I suppose it's true to say that I am from. Cloverdale, which back in my day lacked the charm of neighboring Healdsburg, the quaint hipness of Geyserville. It was simply a pit stop of a town that boasted the Owl Cafe and an annual Citrus Fair. Cloverdale, with Highway 101 passing through it, slashing it like so much a dull blade in an aqua-tinted Safeway sugar coated birthday cake.

When we lived in town, we lived in one of those houses that's completely comfortable and never a head-turner. I remember it well. It was the house next to an empty corner lot. My brother and I knew all the kids in a 5, 6 block radius and we played with most everyone, in the way that kids will – best friends in one moment and sworn enemies the next. Our allegiances would turn on a dime, maybe even for a dime – we loved cash to buy candy.

I remember playing hide-and-go seek, waiting behind something in the breathless anticipation that the game induces. I remember Sourgrass, chomping on it as I'd wait to be found.

I have no idea what the actual name of Sourgrass is. But this "grass" – fleshy, light green stalks of startling tartness – rises up out of beds of light clover in a northern Californian Fall. I'd grab it by the fist fulls and eat it. Other kids would tell me that it was sour because dogs would piss on it – but I didn't believe them. Not from any kind of careful deduction or logic; I simply didn't believe them because I didn't want to –  I didn't want to have to stop eating it.

Sourgrass in it's surpassing tang.  The sense that I was having fun imbibing something that was a little bit wrong.


Yesterday I picked up my first prescription for an anti-depressant. I felt a little thrill go through me as I did, wondering if I was enjoying this because it was something that was wrong – or was it? The whole 'Just Say No!" campaign had had its way with me, all right. I have never been much for drugs, always scared of my brains curdling up and frying in the pan like the sizzling eggs in the commercial. All drugs. Not just the standard ones, all of them, including medicinal. I avoid everything except Tylenol and ibuprofen.

But there is a point in which even I can step back and take a look at my sitting in one place all day, crying, and know that it's a straight path to a place called No Good. In which even I can admit that I need help, and if help right now comes in the form of a pill, then maybe that's what I need. Maybe I can take a deep breath and give it a shot.

As I walked home, I saw that Sourgrass is once more in season, lining the fences, nooks and crannies wherever and however it might.

Like the tartness of depression, it springs as often as it's allowed.

Like depression, I feel the urge to pick it, crunch down on it, feel the sour bite course through my mouth.

This, too, is going to pass.



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It's always like this, isn't it?

The hormones – those damned hormones – raise you up all high-like, you are a toast of some frothy substance. Raised high, you catch the light and bask in it then BAM,

you are dropped and you come crashing down on that cold hard floor without so much as a thin carpet to break the fall.


Only "you" are really me, and I might be exaggerating a little. It's not quite as bad as I've made it there. I just liked using the word "frothy".


But it has been bad – I sit there on that couch sometimes and look around my narrow world, framed by this tiny apartment that feels even smaller now that there are even more bodies inhabiting it. I look around and just feel a foot dipping into that Pool of Blue, you know that one – it's all dark and sticky and just wants to drag you down. Because, I wonder, how in the hell are we going to get this together? What in the hell were we thinking with homeschooling and three kids? This leaving thing – the Pan Am – how is this ever going to come together?


It's then that I feel all kinds of stupid for having a big imagination and even bigger dreams.


And yank myself out of the shallow end of that Pool – who needs that shit? – and I just try not to think of anything if I can't think of something bright. It's the thought version of what our mothers always said: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. If you can't think of something positive, then at least keep your mind blank.


This picture is a visual to me of what it's about: some things (like the photo in the background of myself on the slide ladder as a child) are in sharp focus and everything else just a tilted, off-centre blur.


That's usually when I feel like I'm going crazy, when myriads of memories from my childhood come into sharp focus.


And they are mostly dark.


Pivoting away from it, from that place of sadness and hormone-drenched Blue, I am intensely grateful that I am alive now – when we can talk about having these feelings at all. That I don't have to pretend that everything is hunky dory, peachy-keen; that I know I'm not alone, that you have probably been where I am. That you might even be in that place yourself right now, you may even be in deeper Blue.


And we all have each other – we can reach out and ask for some love.


We don't have to be alone.

There were better today before today and better days will come again.


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