About Liisa Ogburn

I am a mother, daughter, wife, neighbor, community member, friend and adjunct professor at Duke University.

In 2000, I had a successful career as a director in an internet design firm in San Francisco; I had just about finished putting my husband through medical school and residency; and I had my first child, a healthy boy. By all appearances, I had a charmed life. Yet soon after my son’s birth, while balancing work, a new child and a sick family member, I became unable to sleep. If I did drift off, I would wake up convinced my son was crying for me. In reality, he wasn’t. I was breaking down. When I went to the Emergency Room, what I mistakenly insisted for months was a sleep disorder, they quickly diagnosed as severe postpartum depression. I recovered, but only after many, many months and with a new firm sense of my limitations and a radically different vision of what makes a good life.

That experience has been the driving motivation for this project and book. (You can read about that experience in a recent column in the New York Times here: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/postpartum-depression-what-to-expect-when-the-unexpected-happens/)

More than 80% of women in the United States today become mothers at some point in their lives. While we are more well-versed in how our bodies physically change than previous generations, we are less so in some of the more subtle, but profound ways we change. For many, the experience of motherhood is our first hard encounter with our limits, our vulnerabilities, and our lack of control.

Theater critic Kenneth Burke once said, “Stories are the equipment for living.”

I’ve found that to be true. I am especially drawn to stories told when we are at points of extreme vulnerability, potential and change.

Over the last six years, I have collected hundreds of interviews for a variety of projects, as well as taught and mentored Duke undergraduates, fellows and medical residents.

To see more of my work, visit: http://www.wiredforstories.com/.