Cape Town, South Africa
Imogen Heap revealed that her latest song “Tiny Human” was inspired by her struggles as a new mother.
Speaking at the Design Indaba conference in Cape Town last week, the British singer-songwriter and composer described writing the song last year during the first three months of her daughter Scout’s life.
“You know, everyone talks about how when you see your baby it’s immediate love, and it really wasn’t like that for me. It was awful and I felt so guilty about it. On top of that, she wouldn’t stop crying and there was nothing I could do. My partner and I just did not know what hit us,” she told reporters at a press conference on Feb. 18th.
In the song, Heap compares the birth of her daughter to the volcano that engulfed the ancient Roman city of Pompeii and herself to the city as it is awakens to a new day:
“You came crashing in on one day/Crazy beautiful you/Blind me like the dawn/After ashes fell on Pompeii…From the ashes of Pompeii to fireworks and champagne/Crazy beautiful you.”
In a blog post, Heap explained the title of the song, “Tiny Human,” writing: “That’s what she is, somewhere in there beneath all that crying, a person, waiting to blossom and surprise us over the years time and time again.”
As much as 10% of new mothers are likely to experience post-partum depression, according to a report released in January by the US Preventive Services Task Force, which recommended for the first time that all pregnant women and new mothers be screened.
The anxiety and sleeplessness of caring for a new life in addition to hormone fluctuations after giving birth can lead to feeling the way Heap did as a new mother. Post-partum depression, like miscarriage, is more common than women often think but seldom discussed because of feelings of shame. Heap’s admission and lyrics are a powerful statement that becoming a mother is hard and that’s okay.