Catherine Cho in her memoir, Inferno: Motherhood and Madness shares a real life traumatic experience that could be an experience of many women across the globe. She relays this with such gentleness and patience like she is speaking to herself, trying to make sense of her emotions then after giving birth to her baby.
From an early age, girls are informed about child bearing. It is their birth right. They must bear children for their “husbands.” You will hear people say, “ Children are a gift from God. “children are for posterity, longevity. ”
It is no wonder, the girls play mummy with their dolls: carrying them on the back, bathing them,feeding them and cuddling them. It is their birthright to be mothers: nurture and care for their young ones. It is a happy endeavour. As Catherine Cho’s mum said in the book, “I cannot make my child happy.” Implying that a mother’s joy is to make her children happy no matter what. But is it their duty?
In the age of social media, we have more women speaking up about the “dangers” or drastic changes their bodies undergo during pregnancy. The change in weight, colour, hair falling off, teeth falling out, cravings, rise in blood pressure. Postpartum depression. A term I had never heard about until a few years ago when a woman shared her experience. Then there is pyschosis. She like Catherine Cho did not want their baby. Not because they are bad mothers but because the darkness weighed in on their spirit, tagged and would not let go.
Catherine loses herself to gain a child. While the child gains understanding of their new world, Catherine is left to navigate pieces of her sacrificed at the altar of motherhood. It is a long battle filled with pain, confusion, fogginess; support from loved ones, patience of a lover and a care system that works.
This book triggered me. One of my loved ones experienced pyschosis and for two years we were helpless. We got them into medical care but only time would tell whether they would get better. They paced, talked endlessly, did not listen to anyone nor did they give us peace like in Catherine’s case. But in the end, they went through a remembrance that brought them back to us.
I have come to the conclusion that motherhood is a joy but also a sacrifice. Catherine Cho loses herself to gain a child. While the child gains understanding of their new world, she is left to navigate pieces of her sacrificed at the altar of motherhood. It is a long battle filled with pain, confusion, fogginess; support from loved ones, patience of a lover and a care system that works. We must acknowledge this and have more women sharing their experiences-both good and bad. Let’s open that conversation. We need more women talking about it; making this book and many others like it vital in the reading sphere.
I read Inferno: A memoir on Motherhood and Madness on Scribd.
Have you heard about postpartum psychosis?