Everything ached and I was so small again. My stomach was oddly shaped and had been through to the edge of the world and back. I was afraid to stay in the shower for long. We lived in a sort of twilight glitter magic quiet world and you were mine and your father was some sort of centaur, made of strength and courage and might and patience. You were just a squirming red thing, crying just a little bit. I rarely put you down. I held you near the sunlight to help rid your body of the tiny bit of jaundice that you held on to. I was in love and love and you were the meaning of everything.
I wasn’t sad at all. I had left that behind. I had pre-partum depression, which isn’t talked about as much as its media-friendly sister, post-partum depression. Once you were born it all lifted off like an old skin. You were crystal clear in front of me, with your kitten eyes and velvet skin and tiny heart.
I’ve been looking a lot at these photos lately, by Rineke Dijkstra.
The vulnerability and the very human strength in these women. I remember the bewilderment and the pride the most, and I think these photographs illustrate that feeling – real feeling, not orchestrated, not choreographed. Real portraiture.