LANESBOROUGH -- When you're a new mother, your infant upends your world. And when you're breast-feeding at 3 a.m., trying to soothe a colicky baby to sleep, the night may seem endless.
Isolation and winter don't help either, according to Rachel Barenblat of Lanesborough. Yet, through the thick fog of sleep deprivation and a tenacious case of post-partum depression, Barenblat, who is the rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams and a published poet with an MFA from the Bennington writing program, managed to write a poem a week during the first year of her son's life.
"Waiting to Unfold" (Phoenicia Publishing, 2013) is a lyrical collection of poetry that slices to the heart of parenting, capturing everything from the banality (and humor) of changing diapers to the ferocity of maternal protection to the nerve-ending jag of self-doubt.
But more importantly, Barenblat said, the book is a letter to her now three-year-old son, Drew: a chronicle of memories that would otherwise have been lost through the chaos and ritual of raising a child.
"It's a little astounding. I find myself grateful to have written these poems," Barenblat said. "I would have forgotten all this, but when I read the poems it takes me back, right to that moment in time. I recently gave a reading to a group of senior citizens, mostly women, who haven't had children in the house for 50 or 60 years, but they said the poems made them remember. There's something universal in this whole experience of mothering."