These are strictly the opinions of a mom who has battled the baby blues herself, and not the opinion of a mental health professional or a medical doctor. If you suspect you are suffering from post partum depression, I strongly encourage you to seek extra support.
This is a post I have been waiting to write for a while, but haven’t felt that it was time, until this past week. I wanted to share my story with you in order that hopefully my transparency with you will lead to peace and freedom in your own heart. There is a major difference between dealing with an extended bout of “the baby blues” and having post partum depression. I do not want to confuse the two things, since post partum depression can be very serious, needing extra care and attention. This post is simply to bring encouragement to those who are feeling as though their new little person has shaken up their worlds, and share how I made the transition from discouragement to joy.
I will be trying to share as honestly as possible, so if childbirth, emotions and other post baby discussion make you uncomfortable, this post is probably not for you!
During my pregnancy I had a rough time battling sickness and pain. It was a challenging time, but I knew at the end of it all I would meet my little guy and it would all be worth it. Many friends and family members confirmed this too, thinking I was probably depressed and losing sight of the end product. I felt very confident that I knew it would all be worth it and it helped me push forward day after day.
After giving birth to my sweet little man I went into a little bit of shock. I had no idea my body would feel so terrible after delivering. Lying on the bed after Caleb was born I didn’t realize just how out of sorts my body was. Then I stood up. I felt blood rush out of my body, and I could hardly stand. I thought I was dying of a post baby hemorrhage. I called my nurse over and ask her, bewildered, if this was normal. She assured me it was and that it might be like this for days to weeks depending on my body. I remember thinking, “wow that is really intense, I thought this was all over now.”
The first two nights with Caleb were awful. He screamed the entire night. And there was this beeping. It went on and on for hours and hours. We heard the nurses running around trying to figure out what the problem was, but it just got louder and louder. As it got louder all the babies in the ward started to scream louder. I looked at Andrew and said through a boatload of tears “what have we done to ourselves?”
You see there was a terrible battle going on inside me. I was so completely overwhelmed by his screaming, the blood rushing out of my body, my exhaustion, my aching, that beeping and everything else, I couldn’t even think straight. I suddenly was flooded with thoughts that I wasn’t equipped for motherhood, that I was somehow taking on way more than I could handle and that my poor son would have a terrible life.
My son. That was the flip side. He was the most beautiful little baby I had ever laid eyes on. He had the most perfect little nose, and when I did see his eyes flutter open they were so dark and lovely. I had never felt such love swarm through my body. He was my baby. I would lay down my life to take care of him.
With these contrasting feelings violently at war within me, it’s an understatement to say I was an emotional mess. We left the hospital with fear, trepidation and excitement. We were starting out as a family of three. There was no string to pull in the middle of the night to call for help. We would have to figure this out.
Coming home was a wonderful thing. With the silence of our house and the peace of his bedroom he slept a miraculous amount his first night at home. It was an answer to prayer.
I had a week when my husband was at home and it was really wonderful. I felt almost high with joy, besides the pain of learning how to breastfeed and recovering from birth.
Then the first Monday came. I was home alone. We had a really good day, things went pretty well, I slept when Caleb slept and we made it through. But somewhere around week three I started to realize I didn’t know who I was anymore. Coming from a leadership school where I had been trained up with many tools for leading ministries, sensing the call of God on my life combined with my individual dreams and visions, I felt like everything I was called to do was falling to the ground. I watched as my dreams shattered like glass all around me. Everything I thought of or imagined doing one day suddenly did not fit into the new title of “mom”. My whole life was suddenly called into question. Why was I on earth? Was my whole purpose simply to feed, change and calm a baby?
I went on like this for a couple of weeks until I finally broke down weeping one night. I told God I couldn’t go on like this. I needed to know my life still had value. I needed to know that he still wanted to use me; he wasn’t finished with me because I was a mom now.
God in his goodness and grace knows exactly what we need. That night he met me in one of the most special ways. He didn’t reveal to me what my future was going to hold, nor did he show me all these things I would do separate from my family. Instead he revealed to me the most incredible picture of how he wanted to use me as a mom.
“Monica, I want to you to keep your eyes open during the day. I am going to show you things about myself that you would never have known if I hadn’t given you Caleb.”
He told me that each day he was going to give me new strength, mercy and joy to face the challenges. He told me he was going to give me a heart for babies, children, moms, marriages and all of these trials were going to strengthen me.
But best of all, he gave me hope that I would make it through this challenging time. He gave me practical tools that night of how I would feel like I was still giving back to the world. That was the same night he told me to start a blog where I could share with other people the things he was revealing to me and offer them encouragement.
He spoke verses over me like Lamentations 3:22-24. He came to me and rescued me from my pit of despair.
After that night I was able to starting enjoying my days and was free to fall head over heels in love with Caleb. Soon after that Caleb hit two months and started smiling. Life started to get exciting.
As the months have gone on I have moved from that place of discouragement to a place of joy and excitement every single day when I walk into that little guy’s room. New adventure seem to await Caleb and I at every turn and he surprises me daily with the new things he is learning. I cannot imagine my life without him. I cannot fathom my heart lacking in the love and joy that he brings to my life.
I have talked with many moms over the last eight months and I have found out I was not alone in battling the baby blues in the first few weeks of mommyhood. In fact, it is extremely common. But here is the problem: when we don’t talk about it, the enemy lies to us and make us think that we are the only one struggling. That is when we believe all sorts of secondary lies about who we are as a person, a wife, a mom and a child of God. When we expose our darkness to light, hope can flood our heart again.
If you live in the Regina area and are a new mom with a baby under one year of age, I invite you to contact me about attending my First Year Mom small group. If you do not live in this area but want some help getting connected with a support system where you live, send me an email and I would love to help you get plugged in to a loving church close to you.
I pray that you would take the time to ask God to reveal to you his purpose for your life. Ask him what kind of mom he wants you to be, and then ask for his heart. Ask him what kind of wife he wants you to be, and then ask for his strength. Ask him what kind of lover of Jesus he wants you to be, and then ask for anointing. Don’t be discouraged with being discouraged. Having a baby is a huge life change. Even if you can handle the work of it, everything you do in a day is suddenly different. Just don’t stay in that place. As was said in our marriage course last night: life is too short to just get by.
Let’s go from surviving to thriving as Jesus takes control and his joy becomes our strength!