I write today to share that after this pregnancy I have been struggling with post partum depression. I have written short Facebook posts on some of my struggles but haven't gone too far in depth because I've been ashamed to do so because of my history with pregnancy.
I've sat here so many days under attack and allowing the devil to say things to me such as:
All you did was pray for babies for years and now you aren't even happy after having this one?
People are going to judge you and resent you for going through this. You have no right to be anything but happy. Don't be so ungrateful.
God doesn't care about you. Why would he let you get pregnant just to struggle with depression after the baby?
I'm lucky that I'm not severely depressed at this point but I admit that I have been having extreme difficulty transitioning into our new normal. I get overwhelmed when I am with the boys. I get overwhelmed when I am not with the boys. I get stressed out at the thought of going back to work and sending the boys to daycare full time. I feel relieved at the thought of going back to work and sending the boys to daycare full time. I need someone to help me out just so I can get some things done. I don't want anyone to come help me out, I should be able to 'do it all'.
You see, being depressed can be tricky because there is no answer. There is no right way to fix things and there is no logic. There is no solution to this problem. I realized this back in high school when I went through severe depression and struggled with suicidal thoughts. At that time seeing a Christian counselor who led me back to the foundation of my faith, Jesus Christ, saved me. Thankfully, because of my personal history I know my slipping signs and I am speaking out before I get too deep in this.
As I write, my mother-in-law is downstairs entertaining the boys so I can just have some me time. Instead of addressing the piles of laundry sitting on my couch, I decided to make my bed and then the Lord called to me and said, "Dana, I'm waiting for you. Let's sit and visit. Pick up your bible. I see there is some dust on the top..."
I am reading about Samuel right now but in the annotations so many things spoke directly to my heart.
"It is difficult to pray in faith when we feel so ineffective. But, as Hannah discovered, prayer opens the way for God to work."
I haven't been praying for help because I've been in such a place of emotional indifference and difficulty. This note called me to pray.
"Tell God how you really feel and leave your problems with him. Then rely upon the support of good friends and counsellors."
It is ok for me to need to close my bedroom door and get some quiet time. It is ok for me to send my older son to daycare so I don't get too overwhelmed. It is ok for me to open up about this post partum difficulty even though I struggled and prayed and hoped for my babies. It doesn't make this any less difficult or easy but rather weighs on me that much more and helps me to remember how far God has brought our family.
Finally, "We should be confident of God's ultimate control over the events in our lives and thankful for the ways he has blessed us. By praising God for all good gifts, we acknowledge his ultimate control over all the affairs of life."
God brought this pregnancy and these post partum emotions into my life for a reason. I need to feel them, work through them and learn from this experience. I'm so afraid of getting depressed again that I deny when I am having a hard time but now I realize that my deep deep depression over 10 years ago helped me to learn more about my faith and myself than almost any other experience other than our infertility journey. It is ok for me to embrace this as I walk through it.
Post partum struggles are real, even for someone who knows exactly what a blessing and joy it is to finally have a baby and experience these miracles after infertility. I can't allow myself to be ashamed of this even though I feel like I don't have the right. Everyone has the right. Everyone faces the risk and everyone should know they are not alone.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out publicly and privately to share your experiences with me. For me, solidarity in struggle is so strong and helpful. I so appreciate you all.
Here's to transparency and keeping it real.