“So, how are you feeling?” my husband cautiously asked me, probably expecting me to bite his head off for asking. Our fourth baby had been born one week earlier and I was neck-deep in postpartum hormones and emotions.
I stared out the window of the car, trying not to burst into tears. “I don’t . . . I don’t feel like myself yet.” This tumult of feelings and emotions inside was not me. I normally feel like a strong, confident person, not someone who could break down by being asked a simple question.
I had forgotten how lost one can feel after having a baby. By the time I was eight months pregnant with this baby, almost all I could think about was NOT being pregnant anymore. It had been a rough pregnancy for me, with more nausea, fatigue, and pain than I had experienced with my others. I tried to be thankful for each moment, each baby kick I felt, each time I heard the baby’s heartbeat. I tried to remind myself that this was the easy part (soon we would have four kids to raise!) but often it was easier to focus on wishing this baby would come soon.
Just days after giving birth, I was sitting in bed late at night, propped up on pillows and holding our newest baby who apparently could not sleep unless I was holding her. I was feeling so tired and ready to cry, when the words of an old hymn came into my mind:
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!
I prayed those lyrics. God, please, drive this darkness away. This is not who I am. Fill me with light and gladness.
My experiences with postpartum depression have been short-lived. It has never lasted more than a few weeks and I didn’t even realize I had it with my second baby until months later. I came across a blog post that mirrored all of the emotions I had felt after he was born, and realized I had been in a fog of PPD.
Just 12 hours before going into labor this time, I had the opportunity to hear Lauren Eberspacher of From Blacktop to Dirt Road share about her own experience with postpartum depression. I told her later that I believe the Lord wanted me to hear what she had to say before our baby could come. Her words have been encouraging to me during these first days after bringing home a new baby.
Will it get better? Yes, I believe it will. I have the support of a loving husband and our family and friends. I have a wonderful midwife who cares about my health. I have the truth of God’s Word. I have the ability to talk to Him at anytime and know that He hears. For now, I will savor the moments I can laugh and enjoy my family and new baby. There will still be moments that I don’t feel like myself but, Lord willing, they will pass.
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