Setting the Wire: A Memoir of Postpartum Psychosis

by Sarah C. Townsend

Setting the Wire is a memoir of postpartum psychosis and a meditation on containment: what we hold and what holds us together. A lyric exploration of motherhood, mental illness, and familial ties, Sarah C. Townsend’s debut work weaves together personal anecdote, film, music, visual art, and psychology. Setting the Wire is a visceral reflection on the experience of fragmentation as a young psychotherapist and new mother.

"Taut, lyrical, wise writing.” – Claire Dederer, author of Love and Trouble

"Townsend drops us masterfully into a state of mind almost over the edge but never completely." – Theo Pauline Nestor, author of Writing Is My Drink

“This memoir has . . . water and earth. Body and mind. Something like ‘a shard’ between.” – Bhanu Kapil

Buy Setting the Wire

2019 | 136 pp | 978-1-7335499-0-5


As a child, I grieve during the intermission of a ballet. One less act remaining.

After speaking to my therapist for a period of time, I grow silent. I ask her to tell me when we’ve reached the halfway mark in the hour, the hour that is actually only fifty minutes long.

Early on in therapy, I research termination.

I seem to be preoccupied with endings.