The Tale of Openly Discussing PPD


Once Upon a Time, In Bethesda, Maryland

Lately, I have been having wonderful luck finding denim for my husband on RueLaLa. I am nothing but grateful for the ease of it, though admittedly it is a two-step process. A thumbs up from Bob leads us right to the tailor for a quickie hem. So on Saturday, we added Bethesda alterations to our “list” and off we went. He got pinned while I felt the glow of my stylist superpower. And that felt good. 

But what came next was unexpected and trumped any old buying jeans that make my husband’s tush look cute talent – as in any day, any year any, any old any!

The woman who worked in the store asked about the purchase and confided in me that she does not have good luck on RueLaLa with anything but clothes for her daughter. Daughter? I did not know about this daughter. WOW – so pre-pandemic she was studying psychology at UMBC, working for her mother and was reliably as affable as can be. 

And now, she has added Mama to her identity and she was so incredibly proud of her pandemic baby. She was quick to tell, UNPROVOKED, that she struggled with PPD. That she understood and recognized her symptoms. She was so grateful that she lived with her parents who provided endless support and nurturance. Now, she shared, she was doing much better with an 18 month old daughter than she was for the first few months.

UNEXPECTED — all of it


There are so very many dedicated to opening the understanding and communication around PPD. The goal is to help this spectrum of challenges openly make its way into our dialog. Not hidden, not as an embarrassment, not with shame. Simply, a part of motherhood for a percentage of the new mother population.

For my part, I ask, I listen, I write and I am open. I am currently finishing an article for HBR on first-time working mothers and PPD. 

But that is something I do via interview. A conversation by appointment. This, this unexpected candor made my day. It is a reminder that we will keep speaking our truth. And by doing so, we will bring the entire topic into the big brave world. 




The Way The Cookie Crumbles

An Intimate, Cautionary Tale…

Our History is long, and old. You still make me tingle and feel positively giddy. When I open our chest of memories, it brings me back to some legendary moments, stories of how you showed up when I needed you most. And how we met in the first place. It takes me back to my newly single mother days in East Hampton. Hiding from the big, coupled world in the sheer love and luxury of a dear friend’s home. I was a woman in her late 30s with two children in tow. I was too thin from the stress of it all. When we were introduced I was not concerned about your making any impact — there were no repercussions, not then.

Happily Hidden

The timing was just wrong, nothing stayed with me. I was just too far from the reality of the mark you would soon leave on me. So there, in Wainscott, we were introduced. Without much thought, with just my senses in control, I fell for you. Your smell, your warmth and the way in which you were reliably there for me. I could even bring up your image on my computer, I could see how many waited for you, allowing me to make my plan to connect. And it worked. On my terms, waiting in a beach town — far, far away. You were excotic in that way. A treat that I would pine away for in the months between my lips opening for you. I suppose there were ways to find more days and ways to be together. You were, after all, on the Upper West Side and I was certainly capable of getting on the Subway. I did not.

Years Continue to Pass…

In the years to come we were a good pair. Most years, we had a summer tryst and lovingly parted once again. One year, there was drama there in East Hampton. I remember the way you soothed me — in all of your glorious gusto on the day I showed up only to learn the deal I had put into place just prior to getting on the bus to see you had blown up. I may have leaned on you too much as I tried and tried to put the pieces back together. The story did end well (a forever thank you to Mark Schneider and Daphne Oz) but you really left your mark on me. In your effort to keep me calm I overindulged in your warmth and sweetness. I was scared by my own vulnerability. It showed.

You Kept us Smiling!

Lately things have been different. It has been a few years since I have been in East Hampton. You attempted to make your way into my freezer, but really that was not even close to the you I knew.

Friends would come back from New York, smiling and proud with the efforts they had made to bring you back to me. I was grateful. Then I learned that you were a few miles away. In Georgetown where you were not metro accessible, but I could make a quick drive. Which I did — but there were so very many people there — women and men, young and old all lined up to see what the excitement, your glory was all about. I felt uncomfortable with how close you were getting. I liked our distance. I loved the ways in which I missed you, spoke endlessly of you and truly savored anytime we managed to share together.

And then you made a decision. You did not ask. You just took up space within walking distance of my home. You choose to break the romantic, lustful distance between us and just show up. Not only too close for comfort, but breaking the spell. And, then you have the audacity to send me a postcard, a note with your stunning image suggesting I come in and join my neighbors in the indulgence that we once shared as an intimate, loving act

Way Too Close for Comfort…

Look Levain, I realize nothing can last forever. Yet, still — as I sit in my Chevy Chase home, my heart is broken knowing things between us will never be the same again. I have aged, less able to spend as much time with you as I once did. And you seem to have an insatiable neeed to keep expanding your reach, the world of people who you will forever leave the impact of your size and softness. I admire you for your vision, for all you wish for yourself. It is simply that I don’t know if I can keep up with you in this way. I am sure 18 years was a good run.

PS — Don’t be surprised if I do duck in to say hello, to hold you just one more time. Chemistry like that is hard to find.