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{old post} Post-Partum Depression


When I wrote this post back in December, and this post back in January, I was in a dark spot. In fact, this spot was so dark for me that I never intended to make it public on my blog. Almost six months to the day later, I began to see the light after emerging from that deep darkness, I came to several realities, one in which was clearly confirmed by God the next day after the post was written in church. It was for sure a moment filled with goosebumps and awe as I watched God provide my own testimony in front of my eyes.

What I am about to write is deep, and it's very personal, but I feel called to do so hoping to touch at least one reader who needs support and encouragement. To avoid a multi-page long post, I provided links back to past posts that may help provide a little background of the past ten months. But there are two words that not a single link could be linked to on my blog, and those are

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION.

Wow. I finally said it. I have actually feared this moment and swore I'd never do it--I mean, I feel okay revealing it to the 40 of you who publically follow my blog and am not ashamed in front of you all, but per the stats page, 150 hits are recorded on an average day. While I am very aware that 150 hits a day is not a lot at all in the blog world, but I don't know who these people are, and that makes me nervous. Even if I don't "know" a follower personally, if they follow me publicly, I feel like they support me. Just who am I revealing one of my deepest thoughts and feelings, vulnerabilities, to by posting this? Am I giving someone ammo towards myself? Are there people out there who are going to use this against me? Laugh at me even? Obviously, it is my choice to reveal this and all, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me nervous.

So why am I doing it? To share a testimony. To touch someone who maybe is suffering from this disease, and shares the shame I did. To remind you all just how powerful God is, and that He is hard at work even when we don't think so.

Many of you know the synopsis that is to follow: Preslie was born August 28th. My health was poor afterwards. Our family endured extreme loss two weeks later. My emotions could not handle deciphering whether I was supposed to be happy or sad. Soon, my child developed severe reflux--I am talking about 15-20 bibs per day and even more burp cloths. My child was so upset, in pain, hurting, and I could not fix it. The point being: I just couldn't deal. Around December, it all compounded on me and the tears pretty much flowed constant--non stop. I am not ready to relive those moments, and probably won't ever be, but I'll leave it at this: it wasn't something I could cure on my own.

Before I go on, here a couple of things that PPD does NOT always mean--

-it does not mean you do not love your child
-it does not mean that you cannot bond with your child ever
-it does not mean that you do not love your family
-it does not mean that you think dangerous or scary thoughts

While I had every other symptom of PPD, I NEVER ONCE felt the feelings as stated above. My problem was quite the opposite: I loved my child SO much that I did not feel adequate or good enough to be her mom. I felt like ANYONE could care for my child better than I could. I didn't sit around crying all day because I was sad, I cried because I was SOOOO happy, then suddenly something would go wrong, and I'd be SOOOOO sad. Confusing, huh? Because I couldn't control my emotions, I became withdrawn. I didn't want to be around anyone, I feared leaving the house because I couldn't control myself, I felt physically ill. After locking myself up to avoid others, the walls began to close up on me. I felt trapped. It wasn't a pretty place.

When I was diagnosed, I wanted it to remain a secret. My biggest WEAKNESS to date could NEVER be revealed as that would make me imperfect...everything I was trying to convince myself that it was okay to be. Society had put so much pressure on me: I was a failure because I couldn't nurse. I was a terrible mom because my child had to cry it out from time to time. I was even judged for sleeping my child in her own room at five weeks. Because I struggled, I was WEAK. I can't begin to tell you the shame and embarrassment I felt--I drowned in it, then the drowning turned into sorrow, anxiety, and suffering.

THIS WAS NOT HOW BEING A MOTHER WAS SUPPOSED TO FEEL.

But it is exactly how I felt. Thankfully, a tiny little pill named Wellbutrin began reeling me back into sanity. Not that there is anything wrong with it at all, but I have never taken a daily anti-depressant/anxiety drug ever before, so I struggled for months even after taking it with the idea of having to take medicine to be happy when I had EVERYTHING I had EVER dreamt of in life: an incredible husband with an awesome career, a supportive family, more close friends (new and old alike) than a girl could ever need, and most of all, a gorgeous baby that I was blessed enough to stay home with every single day. My life was what I had always envisioned to be complete.

But something HUGE was missing. It had been there all along, but I chose to try to let myself be in control and not Him. I tried to lean too heavily on my own understanding and not

GOD's.

In early January, when I was at rock bottom, I decided that I needed and craved the word more than ever. I literally hungered and thirsted for Him to feed and fill my soul. I needed HIM not just in my heart, but LIVING through my heart. Wellbutrin might have assisted in my journey to wellness (which I might add that about July is when I finally recognized my old self confidentially coming forward again), but it is GOD who SAVED me. He brought me back to life. He revealed to me my own strength, provided me with support and confidence, encouraged me, loved me, and lifted me up. Through this time of my healing, Adam was suddenly stricken with anxiety, sickness, and stress. No wonder as to why...his wife had fallen apart, he had been blessed with a well deserved promotion, and with the promotion came extensive travel which left him very little time with his own friends. To this day, we both still have lingering insecurities about the strains this time put on friendships, wondering if those closest truly understand what it was like during that time.

We trucked along day by day and pushed HARD through the months of January through to June. And God was the driving force behind us, hard at work during this time. We had no choice but for Jesus to take the wheel, and yes, I still cry when I hear this song. For when we were at {our} weakest, we were at {our} strongest...together, as one. We made changes and sacrifices that made us better people. Our marriage had (and still has) never been stronger. Our household has never been more firmly led by God. We finally began attending a church that actually FED our spiritual needs versus just going to church and hearing stories about our pastor's life with a few scriptures thrown in for good measure. We felt a new church home growing around us. Our joy now is something like we've never experienced. It's a fullness in knowing that the more spiritually poor we are, the more we yearn to be at God's right hand.

In our BSF lesson this week, we were taken out of the Book of Acts for a moment to read about Paul's trials and his response to those trials. Take a look:

{Paul while talking about his trials}
2 Corinthians 11:23-27

"...I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.[c] 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm."

Clearly, Paul suffered. He had trials that were of the unimaginable. But his response is the greatest sense of encouragement. Full of humility, grace, and love. After Paul had suffered so many trials, he was called near to heaven to God. He was granted miraculous visions of God which made him prideful. After all he suffered, he yearned to boast about these events. To prevent him from boasting, God placed a thorn in his flesh in which Paul begged to have removed when he received this response from God (2 Corinthians 12: 8-10):

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

I had previously came to the realization that my trials were blessings in disguise, but I failed to recognize my own testament. As I was reading 2 Corinthians 11-12 this past week, God opened my eyes to how my struggles with postpartum depression is just one of my many testimonies. He gave me his relentless grace this past winter. He guided me through the darkness, revealing His light--even if it seemed only like a single ray of sunshine a day. He showed me that when I am weak, I am actually strong. He proved to me that His power works best in my times of weakness. While I was weak, my life became better. My relationship with God intensified. I was blessed with new God-loving families in my life, leaning on unexpected shoulders. I grew to be a better person, confident mom, supportive wife, and God-fearing woman.

If you leave with nothing else from my story, leave with these few reminders:

"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness...
...For when I am weak, then I am strong."
-2 Corinthians 12:9-10

When you are in times of troubles, find the JOY in it and be at peace knowing that our God has a plan in all that He does whether we see it or not. He is in control, so don't be afraid to let Jesus take the wheel. You will not be able to do it without Him.

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