Published on February 15th, 2022 | by Amy Mattes


Postpartum depression during a pandemic

The house is living and breathing 
windows lifting curtains let old air out. 
An air between seasons. 
Her body is living and breathing 
open organs stretching in the pain of new mother love. 
A hurt between the moments of joy.
Sinking full body gives way to sleep, 
wailing cries return her to herself and she is emptied of it. Devoid of rest and sparked
as though the earth was tilted upside down and flooding her.
It’s hot, and she’s sweating. 
A violent heartbeat
consumes her chest like a drug overtaking her. 
She throws him on the change table 
squirming and screaming and writhing. 
She throws fake punches at his head. 
spastic limbs held down against torsofaking a scream, blood vessels burst in her eyes.  
Shame shot out to fill her spaces
another hit of the drug that made her blind mad. 
Tears fall on his stomach and into his bellybutton, 
where they were once connected. 
Sucking in moans to recover from the fright 
in his mother.  
She diapers him and dresses him in striped pants and 
carries him 
barefoot to the stroller. 
They walk to the blackberry patch in the alley
it is quiet, save for a dog down the street. 
The sun splits through the branches into fractals on the concrete. 
She picks him the softest plumpest berries
hand feeding him fresh off the bramble. 
The season is near to over
The berries are tender and sweet, not bitter and hard. 
His mouth looks like it is covered in blood
and they both pause to watch a set of wings dangle weightless 
in front of them
she bends
drinking in the smell of his head
watching her son’s expression of awe
wondering if he too is trying to figure out
if the shape is a butterfly, or a moth.  

(photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash)

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About the Author

Amy Mattes was born and raised in a secluded mountain town called Kaslo, British Columbia, Canada. Following her high school years there, Amy dropped out of the art school she attended for writing and then spent the next decade in a scrapbook landscape of transient travel and relationship ups and downs, which created a tapestry of pen-worthy experience. Writing is Amy’s most long standing companion. Her writing style saunters through the grit and beauty of human connection and often explores themes of identity, sexuality, grief, and addiction. As a feminist fascinated by society, Amy went on to receive a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria in 2016. Now a new mother and wife, Amy remains on Vancouver Island, continuing to pursue her love of both literary fiction and women’s non-fiction. At present time she is working on her second novel.

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