But I want her to be tame.
I know. I know. Different game.
I see her from a distance.
The loud high squeal that spills,
How she stomps, leaps, runs.
It pleases almost everyone.
their animal urge? I never ran wild.
Obedient child. It took me years—O, the pleasure
From “10-Item Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale” by Claire Vaye Watkins
3. I have felt scared or panicky for no good reason.
Our baby is born runty and jaundiced. We wrap her in a hot, stiff so-called blanket of LEDs, to get her levels right. She’s at twelve, they tell us, without saying whether the goal is fifteen or zero or a hundred–not knowing whether we are trying to bring them up or down. I don’t know which way to pray, your dad says. Little glowworm baby, spooky blue light up baby in the bassinet, hugged by this machine instead of us, a gnarly intestine-looking tube coming out the bottom. Jaundiced and skinny though neither of us are. Failure to thrive, the diagnosis. In the car we agree that a ridiculously lofty standard. Haven’t we every advantage–health insurance and advanced degrees, study abroad and strong female role models? Aren’t we gainfully employed, and doing work we do not hate, no less? Didn’t we do everything right and in the right order? And yet, can either of us say we are thriving? We remind ourselves it’s not so bad, the jaundice, the smallness. Erica says, I was little and look at me! We remind ourselves of the Nick-U and pediatric oncology, which we walk past on the way to our appointments. I remember the apparatus we learned about in breastfeeding class that the lactation consultants can rig up for a man: a tube from a sack at his back taped up over his shoulder and to his pectoral, to deliver imitation milk to the baby as though through his nipple. I comfort myself with the dark, unmentioned scenarios wherein that would be necessary.