My Postpartum Parental Preoccupations
I got a rush of positive feedback on my writing this week, after what felt like months of silence.
“Thank you,” I wrote to one friend. “It means a lot. Sometimes I feel like I’m just oversharing into a big void.”
“It’s definitely not a void,” she wrote back. “We may be quiet, but we’re listening.”
God, isn’t that all anyone wants to hear in this life? We’re here. We see you. We’re listening.
Suddenly what seemed like a reckless, self-indulgent writing experiment seems like the path I was meant to take all along.
I’ve been buried in research about maternal psychology recently, reading scholarly articles with titles like “The plasticity of human maternal brain” and “Early postpartum parental preoccupation and positive parenting thoughts: relationship with parent-infant interaction.”
I considered majoring in psychology back in college. Perhaps I should have. Then I’d have an easier time decoding phrases like “neurobiological substrates of primiparous mothers.” But I’m up for the challenge. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.
I pick up a pen and let the intuitive part of my brain spill onto the page:
This angle, this scientific angle, is new to you, so give yourself time and space to figure it out. To find your style and do it well. It’s what you wanted to do all along, when you were deciding on a degree: to write about mental illness, to raise awareness and compassion. This marks the start of that pursuit.
I have an interview scheduled today with a Yale professor who’s responsible for many of the scholarly articles I've read. His research is shaping the way people understand the maternal brain. And he is talking to me. For my article.
I want to do a Snoopy dance and squeal like a little girl. But I won't. I am Big-Time Serious Professional.
Maybe I'll dance just a little.