About the Play

I hear my child cry, and I feel the muffled cries inside myself. The cries I used to share with lovers and friends. But the cries of a new mother are so vivid and deep and wrenching... And they'll eat me up for months to come as they sit stagnant and unheard.
                        - An excerpt from "In the Shadow of My Son"

This piece addresses postpartum depression (PPD) and other postpartum disorders and broader cultural views of motherhood. The purpose of the piece is to educate the populace about this taboo disease and to create a healing forum for women to grapple with the difficult side of being a mother. The piece incorporates a diversity of voices with different class, ethnic, and religious points of view.

The play includes personal essays, excerpts from novels, and interview material from women who suffered and are suffering from postpartum mental illness. The piece addresses the isolation, loss of power, loss of sense of self, and shame these women experience Ė while including humor and messages of hope. The play centers around and follows the experiences of three mothers in this country who underwent postpartum depression. In addition, material is presented from other culturesí postpartum practices which seem to offer more community, hope, and healing for women after childbirth.

The play was written by Nadine Bernard (OOTS' Artistic Director) and includes adaptations of the following material:


Out of the Shadow Mother Care Campaign

Out of the Shadow Productions, "In the Shadow of My Son" operates with the encouragement of Postpartum Support International, a network offering information and social support for mothers experiencing postpartum depression. Out of the Shadow Productions is proud to sponsor a campaign to improve postpartum care for mothers and their families and to create awareness about postpartum depression by touring its educational theatre piece In the Shadow of my Son, and encouraging other groups to stage the show. The play was written and adapted by Nadine Bernard with excerpts from novels, autobiographies, and interview material. It addresses postpartum depression (PPD) and other postpartum disorders and broader cultural views of motherhood.

The purpose of the show is to educate the populace about this taboo disease and to create a healing forum for women to grapple with the difficult side of being a mother. The piece incorporates a diversity of voices with different class, ethnic, and religious points of view.

The mission of the project is to embrace and empower the new mother and abolish the stigma, debilitating impact, and isolation of postpartum depression.


Our Vision

In our culture, one womanís voice has been severely neglected, the voice of the new mom. She is at home, exhausted, up much of the night. Even if she is a writer or musician or activist, when does she have a moment to write about what is happening to her, and who wants to hear?

Now take the new mother who is also undergoing physiological and emotional stress. Ten to twenty percent of new mothers in our country report experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety during the first year of their childís life. Chances are each one of us knows someone affected by PPD. Out of every six mothers you know, most likely one of them has an untold story. New mothers often feel ashamed and alone in their experiences, only leading to more feelings of isolation and depression. Once recovered, they donít seem to want to look back. ďNobody listened then, so why will they now?Ē they think. The stigma of being a sad, nervous, or moody mother, when society expects you to be cheery, has been so strong that, even in 2006, it continues to keep many women quiet.

While new mothers tend to feel alone in their experiences, the very isolation of our present day culture enhances this. A theatrical performance serves to unite women and men in regard to this cause, fosters communication, and changes the way our society handles the post-birth experience. As various public figures have begun to speak up about PPD, the community at large still needs a joint experience which shares the universal and emotional challenges of becoming a mother. The voice of the new mother begs to be heard.

We need awareness and communication at a level where it will really make a difference. A tour of this groundbreaking play enlightens all kinds of audiences. It can be shown at nursing schools so that students on their way to becoming labor/delivery and postpartum nurses have a better understanding of what the experience is like from the motherís point of view and what kind of care new mothers really need. Performing at colleges can educate young women before they become mothers, so they can be aware of methods of prevention, risk factors, and ways to prepare themselves for the post-birth experience.

In our culture, the emphasis and education is placed only on the motherís care during pregnancy and not on ways of healing from the birth and pregnancy while trying to care for an infant. In addition, college students will be the obstetricians, gynecologists, nurses, and midwives of the future. Finally, family and friends of present day moms can gain more sensitivity and empathy in regards to what their loved ones might be experiencing. Mothers who suffered from, or who currently have PPD, will hear how they are not alone in this experience.

Please help us join together and shine the light on the shadow of postpartum depression. Contact us today.


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