MOTHER’S DAY + POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
On Mother’s Day there are a lot of reminders to be sensitive toward those who long to be mothers, have lost children, or lost their own moms. I want to add one more category: those who are struggling in their role as a mom. That can look a lot of different ways. But one I know all too well is the battle with postpartum depression.
I was excited to be a mom. I have loved my baby from the moment I found out about her existence. I loved being pregnant and I had the most amazing natural birth. The moment I met Andrie was euphoric. That whole day was.
But PPD hit all too soon. Everything became dark. The tears wouldn’t stop no matter how hard I tried to hold them back. I didn’t want to leave the hospital. And when we did go home, I felt like a stranger there. I didn’t know who I was.
And the guilt...the shame...the heaviest weight of all. The well-meaning comments from others... “Enjoy every minute!” When I wasn’t enjoying much of any minute. I was struggling to get through one minute and get to the next, quite honestly. I would smile and act like motherhood was everything I dreamed of. I captioned pictures on social media how I felt they “should” be captioned - with what I “should” have been feeling. But inside I was sad and terrified and unable to see any light at all. I loved Andrie. But I also felt weighed down by the responsibility of caring for her.
I had done everything in my power to prevent PPD and yet there I was. Drowning in it.
It was around this time last year that I finally accepted that I was not just experiencing the baby blues. It wasn’t just hormonal. I was intensely struggling with PPD and doing the bare minimum because it was all I was capable of doing. I accepted that this darkness wasn’t going away. In fact, it was taking over more and more. I wanted to be more for my baby. My beautiful little girl deserved to have me at my best.
This day last year, my first Mother’s Day - the Lord came through for me and I had a good day with Joe and Andrie. But that season was still so dark. This year, it is full of light! I am obsessed with my daughter, and she is obsessed with me. 😍 I love mothering her!
I still deal with the guilt and shame from that season. I worry about being judged by others when I talk about it because unless you’ve experienced PPD, you can’t possibly imagine just how hard it is. It’s not the “normal” depression many, including myself, know. I can’t even put words to it.
If you are experiencing PPD, you are not alone and I want you to know that even though it feels impossible, the sun WILL come out.
Last year I dreamed of being in the place we are now. And this place - it is good. It is so good, that I would do it all over again. This place is worth it. Recently to celebrate this years Mother’s Day, Joe and I made a little film to represent how far Andrie and I have come in the last year. It plays to The Beatles song “Here Comes The Sun” (Andrie and I’s song) because we got through the long, cold, lonely “winter” and the sun came out. ☀️ I have decided not to share it publicly for now, but the images below come from it. I love playing this song in the house or the car - Andrie gets so excited and starts dancing! She is a ray of sunshine.
I want to say thank you to those who were there for me through that season, pointed me to the Lord, and encouraged me to take the steps I needed to take, including talking with my midwife and getting on medication. You know who you are!
And especially Joe, who filled in all the gaps. He was to Andrie all the things I just couldn’t be some days, while also being there for me.
And to my sweet Andrie Jo. I pray that you never feel at fault for those dark days but that you are reminded that even the best things in life are tainted by the fall, by sin, and that we all desperately need a Savior. We are not capable of saving ourselves but Jesus, who experienced darkness but yet lived the perfect life you and I could never live, gave himself up for us so that we could be reconciled to God and experience perfect unity with Him as He intended. He defeated death and darkness and rose from grave, giving us life and light. ☀️