As millennial women and mothers, we have been making waves in the sea of mental health. We have unashamedly and unapologetically shared our postpartum depression and anxiety stories so that future generations won’t feel as though they’re drowning in the weight of it all.
I remember sitting in my living room, staring at my newborn, crying in frustration and fear that I was already failing him.
I remember the pain of trying to use the bathroom for the first time after labor, to have family suddenly stop by, and feeling so embarrassed I screamed and they left, ultimately leaving me feeling even more ashamed and emotional.
I remember yelling at my toddler for being a toddler when I had just gotten the newborn to sleep. Then feeling terrible for breaking his heart and ultimately crying with him.
I remember feeling like I was failing my son for having another child. And then feeling like I was failing them both when we had our third.
I remember seeing them all snuggled up and playing together this week and thinking I couldn’t have given them a greater gift than the gift of each other.
I remember these things so well, and yet, I so often forget them. It’s hard to remember how short the years are when the days drag on so slowly. When the toddler is crying because there’s not enough ice in his water. When your daughter demands cereal that isn’t in your house. When your son refuses breakfast then cries for a snack because he’s starving.
These little mundane currents can ripple into overwhelming feelings of frustration and anger and annoyance. And, I don’t know about you, but it leaves me feeling like a failure, like it’s only me who can’t seem to catch my breath.
So, while we have set the sail for the next generation to open up about the postpartum process, I think it’s time to start talking about how to stay anchored in hope amidst the little years.
I’ll start, confident that other mamas will follow, that we will seek to inspire and encourage one another to continually nurture our family and faith and home with intention and grace.
We will not allow the currents to move us away from where we are. We have fought too hard to catch our breath to be drowned by the waves of fear and doubt. These little years are filled with long and exhausting days. But they are also where the magic is.
These are the years of make-believe. These are the years of good morning kisses and bedtime blessings. These are the years of learning and growing in grace and knowledge. These are the years we will never forget.
When depression and anxiety threaten to drown you, remember, Mama, this is only a season. Drop the anchor and hold onto the One who holds the world in His hands. We’ve got this.