Motherhood is hard.
You’ve heard that before, but no one can prepare you for postpartum depression. It seems to be the topic that moms only whisper about under their breath. Hardly anyone wants to admit to dealing with postpartum depression. Somehow it makes you feel like a bad mom and we don’t need to add to the mom guilt we already feel (am I right?) The taboo around this topic is why I wanted to share my experience. Postpartum depression can look so different for so many women, but this is my story.
If you know someone who has walked a similar path, I ask that you share this video with them. If you have experienced your own form of depression, my prayer is for this story to help you feel less alone and to give you hope.
“I was in such a dark place that I started to think, why would God love me if I’m this bad of a mom or if I’m this much of a mess?
I’m one of those people who has a lot of struggles with anxiety. Seven years ago, I had a bout of depression for a year and I thought, I never want to have to go back to that.
Our birth was traumatic and it wasn’t how we thought it was going to be. We had challenge after challenge, so it felt like we weren’t able to catch our breath for months. One night I was in the nursery holding my son, Judah, and he was just fighting me and I broke down and started crying as well. I remember yelling, ‘Hunter, you need to come get the baby!’ When he came in, he could tell something was off as I said, ‘I don’t want to see the baby! ‘ I just needed a break. I felt like the baby hated me. Every interaction I had with my son was me trying to give him what he needed and him rejecting it. It like he was rejecting me.
I felt isolated and alone, and I just heard in my mind, ‘They’d be better off without you.’ I didn’t know what it meant. I truly just felt like my husband had bonded with the baby, more than I had. I thought maybe the baby would like someone else better. I hate that I took that thought in as truth. But I was so tired and weak that I wasn’t able to think straight.
I had a moment when I tried to get up the courage to say what I had heard in my mind out loud to my husband. In a moment when things were difficult, I just said, ‘Well, I think you guys would be better off without me.’ He paused, looked at me, and said, ‘I think you are listening to the voice of of Satan. We will get out of this moment by running to the Lord and then cling tight to each other.’
It was hard to know who to talk to because I didn’t have any time. My neighbor who lives just down the street, is a sweet friend. She had told me a long time ago that she had dealt with postpartum depression. So I decided to share what I was feeling with her.
When I shared that I was not ok with my neighbor, she said something I will never forget. She said when she was dealing with postpartum depression she just kept hearing in her mind ‘They’d be better off without you.’ That was EXACTLY the wording that I had heard! My neighbor saying that she had experienced the same thing and yet she had pushed through! Seeing what a wonderful mom she is now after coming through postpartum depression was so encouraging.
I have been taking medication, talking to my counselor, talking to trusted friends and family, and I’ve been talking to God about it. I’m not over it, but I’m doing so much better! My bad days are fewer and far between. God is equipping me to be stronger than I thought that I was. I feel healthier every single day because I am willing to say, ‘I know I’m here, but I want to be there with the help of the Lord.’
The best part of the season I’m in right now is I’m able to find more joy in my little boy and I didn’t have that in the beginning. I have those days where I feel like I am killing it as his mom, and I didn’t have those days before. I’m grateful that working through the postpartum depression and seeking help about it is allowing me to slowly start to enjoy motherhood, which I’ve always wanted to do! Motherhood is such a gift and that baby is such a gift! Every time he smiles, I realize that I want to enjoy this as much as I possibly can because it’s not going to last forever. I just want to soak in the moments and that means me figuring out how to be as healthy as I can be for him.
I want to be present in every single moment.”