Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Postpartum Depression: You Are Not Alone

I am the mom of three awesome boys ages 5, 7 and 8 ½.  My husband and I have been married for almost 10yrs now and the first 6yrs of our marriage we were either expecting a baby or being the proud parents of one.  We always waited until delivery to discover whether God had blessed us with a boy or a girl.  Mainly because my husband liked the idea of surprise and had I known it would have shown all over my face. I am sure it would have also been evident the items that I would have purchased and placed in the closet.  Although I love being a mom I do have my challenges as do all moms.  Not many of us become moms knowing how to do this.  For some there is a lot of anxiety once they discover that they are pregnant whether planned or not.  This was the case with our third child.

I was very happy to be expecting him and then reality set in that I would seriously have my hands full.  I started to doubt my ability to care for three children and was often nervous about it.  After he was born I was put on bed rest for 2 weeks due to a slightly difficult recovery from giving birth.  I am not the type of person to just rest so this was a challenge for me.  However, with my husband, my mom and my mother-in-law helping I was able to do so.  After a few months I thought I had a pretty good handle on things.  At times I would feel overwhelmed but was still doing ok, or so I thought.

I recall one day just needing space and wanting a break.  I don’t think many moms realize that they are bordering burnout until it really hits you.  I didn’t tell my husband that I was struggling because I didn't think I was doing so badly.  This was my first mistake.  In addition to that, I was a mom and I was supposed to be able to handle three kids on little sleep, right? Anyway, I called my mother-in-law and asked her if she could take the kids.  I can’t remember if I tried my mom or not first and didn’t call my husband because I didn’t want to be a bother.  This was my second mistake.  I can’t say this strongly enough, our husbands can’t meet needs that they are not aware we have.

So my mother-in-law said that she would take my boys and I immediately got their things together and got them into the car.  On the drive there I began crying and I felt that something was really wrong with me so I called my best friend who is a physician and she suggested that I make an appointment with my doctor and talk to my husband.  I made the appointment and planned to talk to my husband once I returned home.  We talked and he expressed that I need to communicate with him when something was wrong and I agreed.  It was just hard to do that at first because I felt that admitting I was having trouble meant that I was a failure as a mom.

Let me pause and say this: MOMS, we are not failures when we struggle, we are human! There is only so much you can do.  If you are a single mom find someone you can confide in that won’t judge you but will help you when you need it.  You can’t care for your kids when you aren't caring for yourself.

After meeting with my doctor she diagnosed me with Postpartum Depression and gave me a prescription for meds.  She told me that while my body adjusted to them, things may get worse before they get better.  This was not encouraging to me at all.  We consulted my Pastor's wife who was a retired pharmacist and she said that that she felt taking the medicine would not be a good idea for me.  My husband and I agreed and decided that this was not the right choice of treatment for me.  We chose to handle this on our own by me doing what I should have done initially which was to rely on him more.  I also knew that I needed to rely on God more.  Sometimes in the midst of dealing with life we forget how powerful and able God is.

Side note: I do believe that every woman has to make that decision for themselves.  And I have spoken with women who said that the medicine was a life saver.  So please be sure to consult your physician and people you trust when making your decision.

My husband and I worked out a plan for the next couple of months.  When I felt overwhelmed I told him and he would relieve my stress by coming home from work or talking me through it.  I thank God for him daily and for the blessing he is in my life.  Slowly but surely the worst had passed.  I would still feel down occasionally until my son was about 2yrs old but this was due to the high level of expectations that I placed on myself.  I am still learning to lower them to this day.

I wanted to share this with you because it is my desire that more women will know that they are not crazy; that the feelings they have are real; and that they need to be addressed if they want to experience the fullness and joy that God intended for us to have as moms.  I will be sharing my joys and my current struggles with you as well but I figured that if you knew my biggest struggle as a mom up front it would help you to know my heart.  Can I pray for you?

Dear Lord, being a mom is one of the best things that have ever happened to us but it is also one of the toughest jobs we will ever have.  It is our desire to love our kids unconditionally and give them our best, but there are often times that we struggle with this.  Lord help us to order our days so that we are not so busy and rushed that we don’t simply take time to breathe.  Help us to see the true joy that our children are even in the tuff times.  I pray God that you will impress on their hearts to give mommy a hug when she needs it the most and that You would whisper to us that the hug is from You, our Father who loves us the most.  I thank You Lord for bringing our children into our lives.  I pray that You would shape us into the moms that you have called us to be.  For those of us that are wives help us to remember that our husbands love our kids just as much as we do.  Help us to trust them more as fathers and believe that they are trying their best.  Place it upon our hearts to pray for our husbands as much as we pray for our kids remembering that we are wives first.  I love you Lord and I pray that you will continue to watch over the moms reading this.  I also pray that if they don’t have a relationship with you that they will repent from their sins and believe in Your son Jesus Christ and that He died on the cross for their sins.  I pray that they will ask Him to be the Lord (authority) of their life and that they will walk every day from now on after Him seeking to glorify Him in all they do and say.  I love You and I thank You for blessing me with a chance to share my life as a mom and my love for You with them.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen


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