the people who walked in darkness (a review of cracking up by kimberlee conway ireton).

cracking upThe weeks and months after Atticus was born were particularly dark for me. It was a cold and icy winter for us and also I can see now that the hormones and the leaking fluids and the sleep deprivation left me in a bad place. I felt hopeless and anxious and I wasn’t sleeping. I had no idea what it was like to have a baby, so I didn’t know that what I was experiencing was beyond the normal baby blues. Eventually, after much too long, Mike and I saw that I needed some help.

Kimberlee Conway Ireton tells a similar story in her book Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis. Her pregnancy and the birth of her twin boys left her in a dark place that had her questioning her faith and her calling as a writer. Like me, she eventually found that she needed medicine in order for the light to break through.

Kimberlee’s book broke my heart because I saw in her the same postpartum feelings of hopelessness that I remembered. I do wonder if there is something in particular that causes Christians to resist medical help for depression, this idea that simply prayer and maybe some sunshine will be good enough. There should be no shame in admitting that you need help keeping your hormones balanced, and I applaud Kimberlee for boldly telling this story and shining a light for others in her own way. I also loved the ways she discussed how her work as a writer and her work as a mother are intertwined and that she needs both in her life to feel fully balanced.

Cracking Up is structured along with the church calendar, and it happened to be a lovely reading for Advent, just as we are waiting for the light the light to break into the darkness. Kimberlee’s self-deprecating humor and her thoughtful insight set this book apart for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and recommend it for new moms who enjoy reading books about faith, especially those new moms who are struggling with anxiety and depression.

I borrowed a copy of this book from Emily Freeman. My opinions, as always, are my own.

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