It is no secret that being a mom is a ton of work. For all the blessings of raising a family, there are just as many sleepless nights, challenging days, and anxious thoughts.
Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing moms’ stories about a phenomenon that affects at least one in four women. Rather than tout statistics and spoon feed advice here, I am going to present their stories about living through something that is common to so many.
Let’s talk about DEPRESSION. We’ll start with my story.
Oh, the joys of being a new mom– sleepless nights, wide-awake days, plus having an active toddler to keep up with. In addition to that – trying to keep on that plastic smile and everything. I was exhausted.
Probably three to four months into my baby’s life I had this rude awakening that I was not enjoying my time on this earth as a mom.
I remember vacuuming around the house – which I never do! My husband is the official vacuum cleaner around our house. But I would vacuum while my newborn baby sat up crying in the crib. Because I could not bear it. I did not know how to take care of my child. It got to where I was really letting her kind of take care of herself, but who does that with a newborn child?
I had been raised in the church, and when I was 15 I got a Bible. I usually kept it somewhere near my bed. In recent years, and when I had this baby, this Bible had been collecting dust bunnies underneath my side of the bed. I remember one night thinking about that Bible and wondering if I should pull it out… but I didn’t.
I had a newborn baby, I was struggling to take care of her. I couldn’t take care of myself. I was nursing her but I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t take care of her needs. And she was losing weight, I was losing weight.
One night, I remember going to bed, and I pulled out my Bible. Because it had been so long since I had read it and I had been so depressed, I didn’t know where to turn. So I opened it to the center –it was probably Psalms since Psalms is the center of the Bible. I laid my head face down onto the Bible – and said, “God… God… Help me.” I remember the pages covered with my sweat and my tears.
The next morning I had scheduled my daughter’s four-month wellness check-up. Everything checked out fine with my little girl, although there were some concerns about her weight. And then the doctor asked about me. I said, “Well – her mom is depressed, and she needs help.”
I got on a medical treatment plan that day.
Depression goes back four generations in my family. I can trace it back to a great-grandpa, to my grandma who died because she would not take care of herself. My sister, who passed away suddenly at age 29, struggled with depression most of her life.
At the doctor’s office, I thought, ‘I am a mom, I have children who depend on me, I am depressed and I have this long family history of depression. Can I even be helped?’
I received a care package from a friend of mine who had been praying for me for years. Our friendship is as old as my childhood Bible. She had sent me a box of baby clothes, and inside were things for my daughter. Down in the bottom of the box was a book. I pulled it out, and it was a children’s book with illustrations. The title of the book was “Psalm 91.” Every page was illustrated for me –each verse – for me, like a child.
Around that time, I started attending a moms group. I sat with the moms at that table, struggling. But I knew they were there.
As soon as I started opening up about my postpartum depression, more moms started coming forward and saying, “Yes, I have dealt with that, too.”
“She will call upon me and I will answer her, I will be with her in trouble. I will deliver her…” -Psalm 91:15
If you are struggling with depression, speak with your physician, a close family member, or friend about what you are experiencing. These Web sites may also provide insight and support:
Mental Health America – Depression Screening
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Firstly well done for being honest about your depression and seeking help as soon as you realised that how you were feeling was not “normal”. I agree that motherhood is difficult and quite isolating, you give up your former life for your kids, and it is difficult when you have kids to make a new life for yourself that involves your children. It is particularly hard for those who suffer from depression, as in their view they are not likeable, fun, human beings because they assume that the negative view they have of themselves is shared by everyone around them. I have been there! Most of my friends have been very supportive, the ones who haven’t I figure aren’t true friends anyway so I have kind of let them go. Unfortunately, the one person in my life who should have been firmly by side during this battle is the one who says he doesn’t believe in depression, treats me as if I am malingering or avoiding work (I left my job due to no longer being able to cope as I was so depressed), and he is having to support me. I know now that unless you have been there you cannot truly understand what depression is. Thank you for sharing your story.
@Searching – Thank you for coming forward with your story as well. We are not alone. Please keep in touch to let me know how you are doing. Blessings to you…