Amanda Cadran is a wife, mom, sister, and daughter. Bird in a House is her first novel, although she has been writing and editing in various forms for as long as she can remember. Growing up at the Jersey shore, Amanda found her calling in the written word early in life and was a part of school newspapers as a writer and editor as far back as middle school. She continued that path as a journalism and English undergraduate at Lehigh University, where she proudly managed both the news and editorial pages of the Brown and White during her time there.
Writing on behalf of others has always been Amanda’s comfort zone. She once managed public relations for Railroad Earth, the band that gifted the name of this book to her, and is ultimately responsible for leading Amanda to Chris, her husband of over 10 years. She was the owner of Fit to Print, a licensed editorial services company, from 2008-2012. Amanda helped clients with everything from resume work to magazine and manuscript editing. This was a dream come true for Amanda, who was also a middle school writing and grammar teacher in North Carolina at that time. In total, Amanda taught for over 10 years, and even after she moved into her school’s technology lab in 2011, she never forgot the value and importance of helping her students feel comfortable with the writing process.
With all of this writing experience, Amanda never once considered writing on her own behalf. For her, writing was a gift given to share the stories of others. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012, when Amanda and her husband Chris had their first child, that her opinion began to change. Diagnosed with uncontrollable panic attacks and postpartum depression, Amanda’s world turned completely inward. With a focus on self-preservation, Amanda began journaling as one way to cope with the massive waves of anxiety that were at such odds with the joy of welcoming a happy and healthy baby boy into their family; a baby hoped for many years over.
Thanks to the incredible patience and support of family and friends as well as treatment through support groups and an outpatient treatment center, Amanda recovered from her most acute postpartum symptoms within months, something for which she will always be grateful. Amanda didn’t have much time to relish her newly emerging sense of peace for long, however, because less than three months after giving birth, Amanda started a doctoral program at North Carolina State University. Another dream fulfilled, Amanda had always wanted to study at the PhD level, but did not ever envision doing so with a newborn and residual anxiety and depression that could cripple her at a moment’s notice.
Still teaching three days a week and with a full course load, Amanda focused her energies on charging through each new challenge. It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly wasn’t easy, but with the right support and love from so many, Amanda graduated with her PhD in 2016. That final moment capped what Amanda had envisioned during her darker moments; triumph over what initially seemed impossible. Amanda had emerged from being a new mother who couldn’t eat, sleep, drive, or walk down the street to become a kinder yet stronger person. An advocate. A supporter of mothers everywhere. The power of treatment is in the results. Bird in a House is the story of one mother’s fall from joy into despair and eventual rise to heights beyond her imagination. It’s Amanda’s story, but it is shared here for anyone who knows what darkness feels like in the middle of the night, when sunrise seems like an eternity away.