When my husband and I started trying to have our first child, I had dreams of being the best mom in the entire world to our imaginary little bundle of joy. I’d take him or her on play dates, the baby would never cry, and we would just be one big happy family. Or so I thought. 

Then, after two-and-a-half years of trying for our highly anticipated, much wanted firstborn baby, I gave birth to the most beautiful little boy I’d ever laid eyes on. He was perfect—six pounds, 15 ounces; 20 inches long; a head full of dark hair with his daddy’s eyes and my nose. I had to have a C-section because he’d stayed breech the entire time, so I only got to see him for a brief moment before he was whisked away to the nursery with his daddy in tow.

From the moment I was wheeled into the room where I’d spend the next few days, things went downhill fast. My nurses weren’t right on top of my pain meds so I felt like a train had hit me because of the debilitating pain from my procedure. I wasn’t able to hold my son very much that first day. Between being sick from the meds, being exhausted, in horrible pain, and visitors coming and going I felt robbed of those first moments with him.

That first night my husband and I got a taste of what our life would be like for the foreseeable future. Our precious, sweet little baby boy started crying and he literally didn’t stop for the next four hours. It continued when we got home and all of the elders in our family diagnosed him with colic. That’s when the crying started. Not from him, but from me. I’d cry for no reason. Sure, my life had changed but this was what I had wanted for so long—to be a mom. The weeks following were filled with no sleep, fights with my husband and a little baby who cried all of the time. All of the time. Only parents who have had a baby with colic, real colic, will understand the hell I am talking about.

I felt hopeless, lost and like a failure as a mom. On top of trying to find a way to calm my ever-crying baby, I was sinking deeper and deeper into a depression like I had never known before. It happened gradually and suddenly at the same time. Within two weeks of my son’s birth I lost 25 pounds. All of my baby weight, 9 months of weight gain to grow that tiny human—gone! Sure, it sounds good to some, but it is not healthy to lose that much weight in that amount of time. 

It didn’t take long for those closest to me to realize I was dealing with postpartum depression and a bad case of it.

I struggled to bond with my new son. I didn’t have awful thoughts of harming him that sometimes accompanies postpartum depression, but I honestly wanted nothing to do with him. I knew deep down that I loved him, but my mind and heart could not come together. I had thoughts of suicide or running away and never coming back. It was horrible. It was only compounded by the fact that my son continued to suffer from colic. His pediatrician offered little help other than, “Sometimes these things happen and we aren’t sure why.” My husband’s depression matched mine and our marriage was circling the toilet bowl in what should have been our happiest of times. We were constantly at each other’s throats because of the depression, the colic, the exhaustion and the back seat our marriage had taken since our baby arrived.

That’s when an unlikely angel save my life. 

Seeing how much we were struggling with life as new parents, my husband’s mother came to the rescue. She came to stay with us. She got up early every morning to relieve me of the night shift, and sent me up to bed. She did the laundry, made us dinner, fed the baby, and sent my husband and me out for dinner and a movie. It was Valentine’s Day, I remember having no appetite while trying to eat my burger at the restaurant. But, I did appreciate the time out of the house with my husband. 

My husband was a full-time college student at the time, so when he left for his classes in the morning I was left at home with the baby and his mom kept me company most days. She and I hadn’t had the best relationship in the past. We were friendly with each other, but had very different views on life and what was best for her son. But, maybe because I had provided her with her highly desired first grandchild, things shifted between us. We bonded over him. She talked to me. She just listened as I vented and told her how I felt. She relayed her own struggles with depression after her own son was born. She understood. She made me feel better about it. But, most of all, she showed me it was OK to ask for help. She showed me patience and grace. She took care of all three of us when we needed it most.

Having her there gave me the time I needed to conquer my postpartum depression and adjust to my new life as a mom. She took some of the burden off of our shoulders. She seemed to know when we wanted her to step in and when we needed the time with the just the three of us. She was rooting for us and helping us. 

I know some will say that I was weak and what kind of mother was I to have another woman take care of my baby? But, I was taking care of my baby. I was there, every day, doing everything I could to help him and when he wasn’t with me, he was being taken care of by his daddy or his grandma, who both loved him more than anything else. Unless you’ve suffered the emotional and physical rollercoaster that is PPD or you’ve had to live the nightmare that is a colicky baby I ask you to please understand why I accepted the help.

Eventually, with the help of those around me and my doctor, I came out of the fog that was my depression and became the mom I always knew I would be. My son continued to struggle with colic right up until nine months and was eventually diagnosed with autism. The two may have been linked but there’s no real way of knowing. But, to this day, even when she drives me bonkers by giving my boys too much sugar and giving unsolicited advice, I will say until my dying day that my mother-in-law saved my life. I’m not 100 percent sure if I mean that metaphorically or literally. Probably a bit of both. 

It just goes to show you never know where help might come from. You never know when you will need it or really how to ask for it. You may have a hard time accepting it at first, but take that extended hand. When you are drowning, grab hold of that life preserver and hang on for dear life until you are back in safe waters. Mine came from someone I hardly expected, but boy, I’m sure glad it did.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Britt LeBoeuf

Britt is a married mother of two from northern New York. She has an undergraduate degree in Human Services. When she's not chasing down her two young children, she writes for sites such as Her View From Home, Scary Mommy, Filter Free Parents and Sammiches and Psych Meds. Check out her first published book, "Promises of Pineford" on Amazon too. On her blog, These Boys of Mine, she talks about parenting only boys, special needs parenting, mental health advocacy, being a miscarriage survivor and life as a crazy cat lady. 

Children Don’t Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

In: Inspiration, Mental Health, Motherhood
Children Don't Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger www.herviewfromhome.com

“This too shall pass.” As mothers, we cling to these words as we desperately hope to make it past whichever parenting stage currently holds us in its clutches. In the thick of newborn motherhood, through night wakings, constant nursing and finding our place in an unfamiliar world, we long for a future filled with more sleep and less crying. We can’t imagine any child or time being more difficult than right now. Then, a toddler bursts forth, a tornado of energy destroying everything in his wake. We hold our breath as he tests every possible limit and every inch of...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Have Anxiety—But My Husband Does

In: Health, Mental Health, Relationships
I Don't Have Anxiety—But My Husband Does www.herviewfromhome.com

I don’t have anxiety but my husband does.  We should have realized this years ago but we missed it. The realization came suddenly and as soon as it popped in my mind, it came out of my mouth. “You have anxiety.” I said. He looked at me trying to determine if I was joking or serious. “I am serious, you have anxiety.” His eyes left mine and found his phone. He picked it up and said, “Hey Siri, give me the definition of anxiety.” As the virtual assistant read off the definition she may as well have been reading my man’s personality...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Sure How Long I’ll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal…and That’s OK

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Grief, Mental Health
I'm Not Sure How Long I'll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal...and That's OK www.herviewfromhome.com

I tried to wean off of Zoloft and couldn’t. And that’s OK. I had never really been aware of the world of antidepressants. My life has been relatively uneventful—with the normal ups and downs that most of us go through. I knew people on medication for depression but never understood. How can you be THAT sad that you can’t just be positive and make the best of your circumstances? How can someone be THAT unhappy ALL the time to need medication? I didn’t get it. I felt bad for people going through it. Then my 2-year-old was diagnosed with Stage...

Keep Reading

To the Mom With the Anxious Soul

In: Journal, Mental Health, Motherhood
To the Mom With the Anxious Soul www.herviewfromhome.com

I see you, mama. You’re the one sitting alone at the family party. You’re the one hovering a little too close to your sweet babies at the park. You’re the one standing in the bathroom at work for just a moment of quiet. Your thoughts are swirling constantly, faster and more fearful that a “regular” mama. You find yourself spaced out at times, and hyper aware at others. You’ve heard the words “just relax” and “everything is fine” more times than you care to count. Sometimes you wish you could make everyone understand why you are the way you are...

Keep Reading

I Know You’re Exhausted, Mama—But Experts Say You NEED That Momcation

In: Mental Health, Motherhood
I Know You're Exhausted, Mama—But Experts Say You NEED That Momcation www.herviewfromhome.com

I waved as our old blue truck rolled down the road away from where I stood, planted on the sidewalk alone. There I was staring down my first solo stay away from my husband and sons, and the only thought I could muster up was what on Earth was I thinking planning a weekend to myself in the city?  Would my kids be okay without me? More like, would I be OK without them? The answer to both questions was of course, yes, but in that moment I couldn’t help but have doubt because, well, you know—”time off” doesn’t exactly...

Keep Reading

A Morning in the Life of a Mom With Anxiety

In: Child, Journal, Mental Health, Motherhood
A Morning in the Life of a Mom With Anxiety www.herviewfromhome.com

I wake up to the sound of my kids in the kitchen, the morning sun peeping through my window. I immediately cringe at the thought of having to parent today. And why? Because my anxiety and depression is so strong that I want to curl up in a ball and cry. I start thinking about all the things I need to get done, and then I remember that one child has baseball practice for two hours tonight. The other child won’t want to go and will pitch a fit. I roll over to get the sun out of my eyes....

Keep Reading

Our Daughter Hated School; We Finally Discovered Why (and How to Help)

In: Child, Mental Health, School
Our Daughter Hated School; We Finally Discovered Why (and How to Help) www.herviewfromhome.com

I wish we had clued in to our daughter’s generalized anxiety disorder a lot earlier then we did. It’s not for a lack of information available, it’s just that you don’t research it when you believe your child simply hates school. I mean our generation struggled with complicated friendships, PE class, and strict teachers too. Even our great-grandmothers had to survive the “mean girls”. So, our children will make it through, too, right? The problem is sometimes it’s more than just struggling to fit in; it’s a debilitating anxiety that leaves them feeling like they are treading in water over...

Keep Reading

What It Feels Like to Parent With Anxiety

In: Child, Mental Health, Motherhood
What It Feels Like to Parent With Anxiety www.herviewfromhome.com

When my second child was born he wasn’t crying. I immediately sat up in the hospital bed and asked the nurses what was wrong. “He’s fine. Everything’s fine.” But I knew they were lying. A mother knows, and my anxiety-ridden heart was in full-blown panic until I knew my boy was OK. He had swallowed some meconium and turned blue as he struggled to breathe. He had a rough start, but in the end he really was fine. My heart, however, was not. Having anxiety is hard. Having anxiety when you are a mom can be crippling. When you are a mom with...

Keep Reading

To the Husband Whose Wife Has Depression

In: Mental Health, Relationships
To the Husband Whose Wife Has Depression www.herviewfromhome.com

To the husband whose wife has depression,  First of all, it’s already a blessing to your wife that you have chosen her to spend the rest of your life, even eternity, with. Depression is never a battle you’d want to face alone. So having you as her companion, either standing next to her or carrying her in your arms and being that support to her (sometimes, even literally), is a gift she may not always be vocally appreciative of. But trust me, she is deeply and unequivocally grateful for it.  It’s no question that she has her “off” days when...

Keep Reading

Divorce is Not God’s Plan A

In: Faith, Mental Health, Relationships
Divorce is Not God's Plan A www.herviewfromhome.com

Divorce is not God’s Plan A. How can it be? It violently tears apart two people God himself knit together. It rips to shreds the hearts of those who once stared into each other’s eyes and said “I love you”; it makes meaningless the words and promises of lifelong love, commitment and “death alone can part us”. One day there is love. Then, something deeper and stronger takes hold of that love and crushes it until it is dead. For me, that “something” was mental illness. It stole my husband. It destroyed my marriage. He was attending seminary to become...

Keep Reading