This is what PTSD looks like at 13 weeks pregnant. New haircuts for my husband and myself, a new (to us) car, and a new house that we own.

Here we are 6 weeks prior to that in the second scariest event to-date in our marriage:

This Is What PTSD During Pregnancy Looks Like

I know we look all calm eating pizza in the ER, but I can promise you internally we were anything but that. You can see my now dilapidated Nissan Murano here, with the front bumper almost completely removed.

This Is What PTSD During Pregnancy Looks Like

We were headed to the grocery store after church, still riding a high being a mere 7 weeks pregnant. While we had a green light, another gentlemen had a blinking yellow light, didn’t see us, and proceeded to turn in front of us where he hit our front bumper and back passenger door and wheel. Fortunately, my husband was driving and the impact was on his side. I only say fortunately, and so does my husband, simply because there would have been a greater chance of us losing our precious baby girl had I been driving. Luckily, we walked away with me having a dislocated shoulder (from throwing my arm over my husband) and Micah with a re-injured back.

Within the next six weeks, we had STAAR testing (we both teach middle school), interviews for new jobs, buying a house, buying a car, dealing with lawyers, and beginning physical therapy. Oh and I was still growing a human inside me. At the beginning of June, right after school let out, things got odd. It was really hard for me to be in a car. REALLY hard. It was beyond emotional. I was so scared any car that pulled out was going to hit us and hurt Charlotte, Micah, or myself. I ended up being diagnosed with PTSD in July through a long, tearful conversation with my obgyn at the start of my third trimester. I was given the lowest dose of Zoloft for the remainder of my pregnancy and was reassured that a healthy mom will produce a healthy baby.

Here’s the truth, and I don’t think anyone knows this outside of Micah: I did not enjoy being pregnant – emotionally. I didn’t feel this overwhelming sense of joy and love for the baby inside me like all of these other mom’s talked about. And you know what? That’s okay. I barely felt an overwhelming sense of joy to be myself, nonetheless growing a life. Don’t get me wrong, I prayed and prayed for that joy to come, and it just didn’t. I finally got to a point where I was happy being pregnant, and I loved my daughter in my belly, but I felt like an outcast for not feeling what a ‘normal’ mom should feel.

Ladies who struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any mental illness: you are not alone in your struggle. You are not weird for not feeling that connection; you are not any less of a mom; you are not frowned upon by God. Now that my daughter is here, I do feel that overwhelming sense of love, joy, worry, and responsibility unlike any other and it’s a feeling that only comes with parenthood and remains unexplained otherwise.

It’s okay to admit that you don’t feel that joy. As I said above, you have to be healthy to produce a healthy, growing child. I still have my days where I look at my daughter knowing she was almost taken from me before ever having a chance in this world, days where I wonder why I was chosen to be her mom, when someone more ‘mentally stable’ could do it. But by the grace of God, support from family and friends and my wonderful husband, I’m able to see that God chose me with a purpose in mind.

If you’re worried the medicine will affect your child, talk to your doctor, but don’t try to fight this alone. Some people can talk it out, others need medicine, and overall we all just need time to heal, pray, and find peace. And that is okay. Mama, you’re doing great, and you need to take care of yourself. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed, it’s going to be alright. Pray to God for everyone’s hearts to be prepared (that’s exactly what I did the entire time I wrote this), and if you ever need encouragement, shoot me an email and I’ll do what I can… but you’re never alone. Remember that.

To my family who had no idea, who is shocked at reading this, I couldn’t find the words to tell you. Whether it was past experiences hearing that pills were a cop out, or depression isn’t real, or to go take a walk – I couldn’t bring myself to tell you. I was afraid of being judged, being looked down upon for having to rely on something. But I can tell you this, ever since that day in July when I finally asked for help, I’ve felt more myself than I have since the wreck. And that is a beautiful, freeing feeling to me that only God gave me the strength to face.

Need some verses for encouragement? These really get me through the tough days: Psalm 40:1-3; Deuteronomy 31:8; 1 Peter 5:6-7.

And take a listen to “It Is Well” by Kristene Dimarco

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

Elisabeth Brown

Elisabeth Brown hails from Tennessee but resides just outside of Austin, Texas. She likes to balance work and play, though doesn't mind when that line gets blurred. Her favorite things all live under the same roof where the residents may have two or four legs. Teamwork is the name of the game in her marriage and the kitchen is where she thrives, whether it's making a bottle or cooking for friends. Her heart and home always seems full.

Organized Sports Aren’t Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young girl with Alpaca, color photo

Today I watched my little girl walk an alpaca. His name is Captain. Captain is her favorite. He’s my favorite too. I met his owner on Instagram of all places. She thought I was in college; I thought she was a middle-aged woman. Turns out, she is in high school, and I am a middle-aged woman. This random meeting led to a blessing. We call it “llama lessons.” We take llama lessons every other week. It’s an hour away on the cutest hobby farm. Our “teacher” is Flora, who boards her llamas at the alpaca farm. She wants to teach...

Keep Reading

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading