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Archive for December, 2013

The transition from one to two kids has grown me in ways I wasn’t expecting.

I write this post with complete vulnerability knowing that it could open up judgement or misunderstanding or (if you don’t read to the end) could cause you to feel as if I am ungrateful for my blessings. I pray that if you read this blog you understand its intentions and offer me grace as I extend part of my personal life to you.

I write this post because what I experienced was real, and not often talked about, and I want to be a voice for so many new parents I know who may come across the same feelings.

I write this post to share a story of depression that transformed into deliverance which has brought me such peace.

As I sit here today, I am so full of joy.

But it wasn’t always this way…

The past two and a half months have been an ebb and flow of emotions and I feel like they have settled into that sweet spot that eventually comes for parents. It’s a balance between loving where you are at, excited for what is ahead, and appreciative for what is behind.

When Brooklyn came into this world, I was nauseatingly in love with her. I couldn’t get enough of every moment with her – despite the fact that she was a terrible sleeper- I couldn’t make myself break away from her to sleep when she rested, I would just watch her sleep with the biggest smile on my face. I created some serious attachment issues on my end (thankfully she was resilient and really never hesitated to leave my side to go to a family member or friends arms). Her pregnancy was a complete surprise for us, I grew to be so protective of this being inside of me that I had trouble letting her out of my grasp when she finally made her entrance into this world.

As I passed through my pregnancy with Timothy I anticipated those same enamoring feelings to overtake me after he was born. I expected to never want to leave his side. I expected to want to watch his every move, awake or asleep. I expected to annoy everyone with how much I loved him!

But a few weeks after Timothy was born I became overcame with sadness. I cried and cried, and sometimes I didn’t even know why I was crying but the tears would fall none-the-less. I loved Timothy with a fierce, protective, motherly love but I didn’t feel the fluffy and warm love I felt with Brooklyn. Which confused me and frustrated me beyond belief.

Talking with Joseph, my mom, my sister…the same conversations…

“I feel so crazy…”

“I wish he would stop crying, I wish he would let someone, anyone, besides me hold him…just for five minutes!”

“Sometimes I know I love him but I feel like I can’t make myself like him”.

These are really scary things to think as a mother. These thoughts, they make you feel horrible. As I was adjusting to all that comes with a newborn and all that comes with a newborn while already having a toddler, I tucked the thoughts away but I knew they weren’t ‘normal’.

I tried so hard to bond with him. I held him so often, I told him how much I loved him, I told him how sorry I was that I was having these thoughts, I prayed over him, I prayed for myself, I rocked him when I didn’t feel like rocking him, I asked the Lord to quiet my mind and make loud the feelings of my heart.

Your heart as a mother is so much different than your mind as a mother.

I knew that my heart had such a deep love for him but my mind wouldn’t let it come to the surface. That’s the thing about depression – which I believe is straight from the devil – it shields your heart, it silences what is real and replaces it with noise of what is false.

False thoughts that I couldn’t like my son, false thoughts that I was a bad mother, false thoughts that I was responsible for feeling these things, false thoughts that it may always be this way.

I eventually talked to my doctor about how I was feeling, I broke down in tears while I was talking to her telling her how guilty I felt and that I had no idea how to fix it but I wanted to feel better.

Of course I had heard of post-partum depression, but never really considered it to be something that I was dealing with. That is the thing about lies the devil will try to get you to believe, you have all the evidence but can’t put it together so that it makes sense.

We talked over different ways to combat post-partum depression, we talked about the fact that this wasn’t my fault- I hadn’t set myself up for this in one way or another, it was just simply something that strikes certain people and stays away from others.

Whether you are for or against medicine, whether you are for or against counseling, whether you are for or against changing lifestyle habits …if you pass through feelings like this as a parent: be vocal with your family and doctor, be assured that this is not your fault, be hopeful that you will not always feel this way.

After I further understood what I was going through, I knew that God would lead me through these uncertain times just as soon as I was ready to give up trying to fix these feelings instead of living through them in appreciation for how they would stretch my relationship with the Lord.

The world offers a diagnosis to you and tells you “here is how to get your problem to go away”.

We live in a society that constantly feeds us crap that life is always supposed to reward us in some way.

As a Believer, if I looked at my depression the way that the world wants me to, I could feel very sorry for myself. I could feel like the world owes me. I could feel like God owes me. I am a “decent person” by the worlds standards, why do I have to have depression? Why does life get messy? Why me? Me. Me. Me. That is who the world teaches us to have in mind, ourselves.

As a Believer, if I take God’s word to be truth, I know that God’s plan for my life is for His glory and not mine, He will refine me through the process though (Isaiah 48). That’s how I began to choose to see the days I passed through this depression, as something that would benefit my spirit for His glory, though it may trouble my mind. Each moment of pain I felt mentally, was a moment God would (undeserved to me) offer grace to me and allow me to one day (this day) share with you not just about how He has taken me from a dark place (that’s what the world would want to hear about, how things have gotten better) but that He was IN the dark place with me. God is present though you may feel your troubles are undeserved, God tells us differently – our troubles are not for us to define as deserved or undeserved but for a greater purpose of looking beyond ourself. It’s not about me. It’s not about you.

When I began to think this way, I noticed my heart overtaking my mind.

I started smiling at my son.

When I laid him down to sleep at night, I started missing his face and would go back in for one last look before he wanted to eat next. I still have a text saved on my phone that I sent my older sister “I laid Timothy in his crib and I miss him :)”, it felt so good to feel that way.

I started finding everything he did nauseatingly cute [because it is :)…].

I began to process, even more so, this journey the Lord has taken me on, growing in appreciation for the Lord’s hand on my life from the very beginning in such specific ways capturing my heart at different moments knowing what I needed best in each stage of life.

From a surprise pregnancy allowing me to pass through such intense feelings for Brooklyn so that my heart would be captured from the first moments of motherhood, teaching me to love children and lay a burden on my heart for the unborn and born alike who have mothers that don’t love them enough to be selfless.

To the amount of time God allowed Joseph and I to wait before that positive pregnancy test where we found out I was pregnant with Timothy. Though it was not a long time in the scheme of things considering how long others wait for that positive to show, it was the time the Lord knew Joseph and I needed, to grow closer to Brooklyn while waiting for another, to lean on the Lord when my desire for another child was so strong, to grasp that God’s timing is not our own in another way than we learned with finding out I was pregnant with Brooklyn.

I began to appreciate the Lord’s hand on my life in the present state I was in, shattered and weak, allowing me to pass through such low feelings that I really only could rely on God to see me through. Dark places that gave me a clearer understanding of the Lord’s role in my life, that not a single second of motherhood can be done without a close grip to the Lord’s hand. Were it not for the Lord walking by my side, whispering at times and shouting at times that these thoughts are lies from satan and not a testament to my love for my baby or my ability to be a parent, but they were simply about learning to live each day…each second even, with the perspective that it is not about me and these trials are not for naught.

I hope to never take the dark days for granted.

These things I have come to understand about my relationship and reliance on the Lord are not for motherhood alone. You don’t have to be a parent to come into inches of the devil whispering fear into your soul, you simply have to be a person. My deliverance at this time in my life has been from depression in regards to motherhood, but there are countless other things you may need to be delivered from, and the Lord is ready to deliver you when you are ready to grasp His hand.

He may not deliver you in the way you expect, He may not deliver you from the actual hardship but He may deliver your mind to a new understanding of the hardship. There are days I may still pass through thoughts of depression, but that will not overtake the joy the Lord has graciously overflowed my heart with.

People love to say “God meets you where you are at…” but He truly, truly is already there – if you are just willing to acknowledge Him.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior” [Oceans by Hillsong United]

 

 

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