After childbirth, panic.

Notes on fatherhood.
Jan. 31 2007 4:35 PM

Taco Bell's Canyon

After childbirth, panic.

(Continued from Page 2)
Keeping Tabitha company. Click image to expand.
Michael

At length a doctor calls back: Stay with her, she says, and do what you can to calm her down. But she may become completely hysterical, in which case she'll need to go to the hospital.

The next six hours offer a new experience. She can't sleep; she can't close her eyes for fear of her mind thinking some terrible thought. But I know—or think I know, which amounts to the same thing—that she's suffering from some chemical glitch that would repair itself in time and that a pill would fix instantly. What she feels has nothing to do with who she is. It's a state of mind triggered by an event that she will never again endure. She might just as well have turned bright green for a day. But she doesn't know this. She's sure as Malthus that this terror is going to be with her forever—and yet she's as brave as she can be about it. Amazingly, the only thing that makes her feel better is me. I fix her tea, rub her back, and try to enjoy being the sane one for as long as it lasts.

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