Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

After giving birth to my second child, feelings of hopelessness and despair struck me like never before. I didn’t ask for them. They arrived on my doorstep without my permission.

We were living in a tiny two-bedroom apartment while my husband was in seminary. A major construction project consumed our 10-story building, a complete resurfacing of the red bricks. A blue tarp hung over our windows for almost five months. We couldn’t see out. Constant banging and drilling woke us up at 7 a.m. every morning.

To top off the chaos, I just had a baby. I was trying to nurse her without the construction men seeing us when the tarp was lifted off the window while they worked.

I was sleep deprived, handling the emotions of my toddler boy’s jealousy, trying to figure out a nap schedule for both kids, and managing our home while my husband worked full-time and went to school.

One day I walked into my OB’s office in Dallas and recited the script I would tell him. I felt guilt and shame for how I felt. Would he look down on me? Would he be able to help me? Could I take medication as a Christian?

He walked in and even though my heart pounded, I got my brave on. We talked about the transition with two kids and he asked how I was doing. I had to be honest.

“I’m really struggling,” I said. “I feel like I’m stuck in a pit and can’t get out. I’ve prayed and nothing helps.”

I explained our situation at home, and even wanting to put my fist into a wall one day from being so overwhelmed.

To my surprise, he looked into my baggy, watery eyes with compassion. I should’ve known. He was always that way and this time wouldn’t be any different.

“Samantha, your serotonin levels are out of whack from the broken sleep. It’s a chemical imbalance. You’re having postpartum symptoms, too. It’s not about you not praying enough. I can prescribe something that will help you get through this season and we’ll reevaluate in four months to see how you’re doing.”

He assured me that many moms go through this. It’s actually quite normal after giving birth. He did nothing but encourage me. Relief filled my spirit. I looked out the window and noticed the sun peering in brightly. It was such a beautiful day.

He prescribed Zoloft – I’d never heard of it but I was desperate for anything. After weeks of taking it, I felt hope again and balanced. I began feeling the strength and energy to love my husband and kids again. I wanted to be around people and out in public. The world looked much different.

Our circumstances hadn’t changed with the construction, but God brought me the gift of medication to pull me through. Sure, I had depressed feelings at times, but it was nothing like it had been.

After about five months, I met with my doctor and we decided I was ready to go off of it. But I knew that if for some reason I needed it again in the future, it would be OK. God had used the tools of medication to help lift me out of despair and darkness. And I thank Him for it.

There’s such a stigma in our culture and in the church when it comes to antidepressants and medication. We care way too much about what people think. We don’t always know what is spiritual and what is chemical. We listen to thoughts and lies like:

You’re weak if you choose medication.

You can fix the problem on your own.

If people know, they won’t accept you.

Your friends may not understand, so why would you confuse them?

Don’t let anyone know that you’re on antidepressants.

It’s just a crutch.

This should not be, friends. I can’t imagine how different my life would be had I not walked into my doctor’s office seven years ago. I’m so thankful God intervened in my life for that season and gave me the gift of medication.

If you’re struggling silently, may I encourage you to take the next step for your health? For you, it might not mean medication right away, but seek out support and help from a professional. Explore different ways to get the help you need. Don’t listen to the lies and wallow in shame and guilt. Take action for your mental health so that you can be the best wife and mom to your family.

Don’t be afraid to allow God to do something great through your story—even if it seems a bit broken and fragile right now. He’s always in the business of making broken circumstances beautiful and helping you see the light again . . . as he did for me.

Being brave with you,

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Samantha Krieger

Samantha Krieger is wife to Jeremiah and mama to 2 boys & 2 girls- 13 and under. She loves iced coffee, TJ Maxx, and mascara. She's the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. Her work has been featured on the Today Show online, Love What Matters, and Cafe Mom. She writes from Florida’s gulf coast and enjoys connecting with readers on her personal blogFacebook and Instagram.

The Light of Adoption

In: Motherhood
Toddler boy, black-and-white photo

Light—it comes in many different forms. From the sun during the day and sometimes the moon at night. From a switch we flip on in the morning that makes us squint to the festive lights for almost any holiday. The glow of a lightning bug you want to catch or a child’s face when they are excited. It is something many of us take for granted.  We can all use the sun of course, but not everyone has the luxury of light. While most of us do, some go without. No lights also come with no heat. No way of...

Keep Reading

I Will Not Shame My Body the Way My Mother Did

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman standing in field wearing floral dress

The words we say about ourselves are powerful. Not only do they impact us, but they also influence the way others think about themselves and process their world. My mom always hated her body, and she made that very clear while I was growing up. Little did I know, I was soaking up those same thoughts and turning them to myself. As I got older, I started to have destructive thoughts about my own body. As a college student, I struggled with an eating disorder. I saw my body as the enemy. I saw food as something that couldn’t be...

Keep Reading

Don’t Call, Text (and Other Things You Need to Know about Me As Your Mom Friend)

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
3 moms holding babies on a couch

This is the kind of mom I am right now. Don’t talk to me during gymnastics class or swim class—this is my quiet time, and I am either getting a break from life or catching up on texts and emails or looking up the hours of the trampoline park for our next playdate. My Notes app is filled with grocery list upon grocery list. I have developed systems to stay sane. When grocery shopping, I get the one item I need first rather than last because too many times I forget the one thing I need and can’t make dinner....

Keep Reading

There’s No Hard like NICU Hard

In: Baby, Motherhood
Three women and two toddlers, color photo

To the mamas and daddies navigating the NICU: There’s no hard like NICU hard. Seeing your spanking-new beloved placed in a glass bassinet and rolled away from your aching breasts and empty arms—it’s the absolute hardest. No one who hasn’t been there can possibly understand. But many of us out here get it. We understand your emotions—the tangled and tied-up ones that unraveled in that bassinet’s wake. Fear, anger, frustration, helplessness, sorrow. You feel like a failure. You feel completely undone. Defeated.  But you’re not even one of those things. You are parents, and parents are practically superhuman. You have...

Keep Reading

I Am the Griever

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother kissing child's forehead

As I write this, my mother-in-law is in the ICU. We don’t expect her to leave.  She’s too young. Sixty-four. We got the call on Saturday.  “Get here this week,” they said. So we did. With a newborn, a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a soon-to-be 16-year-old. We managed ICU visits with my in-laws and juggled childcare so we could all take turns seeing the matriarch. For the last time? Maybe.  The logistics are all-consuming and don’t leave a lot of space for anything else. Also, I hate logistics. My son asks questions nobody knows how to answer: Will I die...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, It’s Okay If You Hate Me Right Now

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen girl looking up at mother

Dear daughter: I’ve heard it from you a thousand times when you don’t get your way. You yell it when your force of will doesn’t bend mine, thinking it will convince me to give in. But I’m here to tell you once and for all: I don’t care if you hate me right now. Last night you hated me because I made you take a bath before bed. This morning, it was because I made you wear pants. I’m the worst mom ever because I told you to eat a vegetable, and the whole day is ruined because I won’t...

Keep Reading

A Permission Slip for Creativity

In: Living, Motherhood
Create Anyway book in the middle of kids playing with building blocks on floor

The following is an excerpt from Create Anyway by Ashlee Gadd, available today wherever books are sold! In those first few weeks at home with a milk-drunk newborn in my arms, I Googled every little thing, hopping in and out of online parenting forums, desperate for an instruction manual. Is it normal for a baby to poop six times in one day? Does breastfeeding ever get easier? Underneath my nitty-gritty questions loomed the ultimate insecurity every first-time mom battles: Am I doing this whole motherhood thing right? Just a few months prior, I had quit my pencil-skirt-and-high-heels- wearing marketing job...

Keep Reading

Anxious Moms Need Friends Too

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Women hugging outside

When I was 32, my family and I decided to move out of state. The state I had lived in all my life, where almost all my family and friends lived. Most of my friendships were childhood friends or friends I made in college. I made very few new, adult friendships after college. Maybe I felt I didn’t really need to because there was always a friend I could call. Or maybe, I didn’t want to step outside my comfort zone, face possible rejection, and felt it was just easier not to talk to people (hint: it was definitely the...

Keep Reading

The Isolation of Motherhood

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Mom sitting beside stroller, black and white image

During my early years of having children, I can recall feeling like I needed more help with juggling—taking care of my little ones and our home. Although my mother-in-law was only a 10-minute drive away, she was preoccupied looking after my nephew and nieces. Awkwardly, I would only ask if it was really necessary—like a doctor’s appointment or the dentist. Even at church, it was difficult to ask for help—either we didn’t know certain members well enough to entrust our kids to their care or they were friends with children too and that hardly seemed fair to burden them. The...

Keep Reading

You’re Learning Life by Watching Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child touching mother's face as they lie on a bed

Every morning my daughter and I go outside for some fresh air. She feeds her chickens and plays and explores and walks around with her dog while I follow her around and have a cup of coffee.  This morning, my girl grabbed one of her coffee cups from her toy kitchen and brought it outside with her while she walked with her dog and pretended to take sips out of it.  Guys. I stood there watching her with her toy coffee cup, walking around with her animals, and I cried giant baby tears.  RELATED: I Wasn’t Counting On You Growing...

Keep Reading