I have had 4 children in 5 years, including a set of twins. I also have had three different births, a c-section, a VBAC with an epidural and a VBAC without any pain medication. Each of my pregnancies and deliveries taught me so much. I had always envisioned pregnancy and the postpartum period to be filled with bliss and peace. A time where I would be connecting with myself and my unborn on a deeper soul level, and while this connection did occur, I also suffered from severe morning sickness and a whole host of other health issues, which included postpartum depression after each pregnancy.
Because my pregnancies were fairly close to each other, it felt like I would get breaks from the depression, only to be hit with it again. My postpartum depression would come in waves and has been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. It robbed me of my ability to connect with myself, with my family, to think clearly and make decisions. I lost my ability to reason, to remember and to be patient. Postpartum depression filled me with guilt, shame, and self loathing; as well as decimating my self esteem to a point where I was unable to feel like I was doing anything right or even able to look at myself in the mirror. I also suffered from Postpartum anxiety, intrusive thoughts and the desire to self harm.
My youngest child is almost two years old, and I am just now walking out of the dark forest that is postpartum depression, and into the full light of wholeness and healing. It has been a very long road, but one that I was able to walk and gain strength from. Taking medication for postpartum depression wasn’t an option for me, so I followed my inner guidance and intuition to take the steps needed so that I could heal.
Prayer, positive affirmations, mediation, rest, connecting with God and allowing His love to surround, fulfill and uplift me, yoga, tea, writing, and being patient and gentle with myself when my methods didn’t seem to be working fast enough, or at all, helped me to recover and have a deeper love for myself through this process. Depression is an illness. It is debilitating and can be quite destructive, but it is possible to make it through and become whole. It is possible to feel like yourself again, and to just feel again.
I am living proof, that the greater the storm the more beautiful the rainbow. I can now face any storm with the confidence that trouble doesn’t last always, and that through every storm, rainbows are found.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.”
Psalms 51:17 NKJV
As a mom it feels like there are some days that just bring you to your knees. And not even just one day in our continuous parade of constant motion, but sometimes, it’s several days strung together where you feel like you just can’t go on. You’re so tired. There’s so much to be done. And you want to enjoy the moments and not just rush through them, but there doesn’t seem like there is time for a break. Not when you have little people clinging to your every limb, word and heart string. Little people who absolutely need you in every single way and are pretty much helpless without you. Even going to the bathroom does not provide solace of time alone, because there is a little person screaming looking for you, or trying to bust the door down or heck, even sitting on your lap while you pee.
At the end of these days, cooking dinner can feel like you’re climbing Mount Everest, and you pass out in bed just to wake up and do it all over again. Relentless. That is a great word to describe motherhood. It doesn’t stop, doesn’t pause, doesn’t give you the moments that you so desperately need sometimes to just sit and catch your breath. In these moments it’s so easy to want to succumb to the feelings of overwhelm, to just cry, because it all feels too much. But in these moments we are the perfect living sacrifices to our wise and benevolent Father, for we realize that our strength just isn’t good enough.
Our strength isn’t enough to lift us up and give us what we need to carry on, for if it was we wouldn’t get to the impossible place of overwhelm that we so often find ourselves in.
The days when we feel like we are just barely keeping ourselves afloat, are days that we should rejoice for everything that is making us feel this way. For we are being humbled. Our spirits and hearts are being broken, to help us to realize how much we need Jesus and how He can help us if we cast our cares onto Him. We realize that God can work best through us when we are not in the way, and just as we will always do anything for our babies, we are God’s babies and He will do anything for us. That includes carrying us when we need to be carried and offering us a rest in Him that cannot be achieved elsewhere.
I believe motherhood is designed to make us lean on God so that our children can lean on us. Being a mother is a job that we can not do on our own and we absolutely need the help of God to do. We must allow God to take care of us, so that we can take care of others and to do this, we must be humbled.