I have a theory about Post Partum Depression. I haven’t talked about it, because I’m kind of afraid I’m going to get stoned for this, but hear me out, ok? I have a theory that PPD is not really a thing as much as we think it is. I think what everyone thinks is PPD is really just a natural reaction to insane amounts of stress brought on by how completely our society neglects moms, especially at the beginning of motherhood.

Let me start this off by saying, I have said that I have PPD, and my counselor agreed. I am not saying this out of some suffering-free glass box. I am saying this out of the heart of someone who curled up on the floor in complete despair, more than once. I had to ask my husband to tell me that he wanted me alive and wanted me around, over and over again because I was so overwhelmed by it. I have been in the trenches, and they were bad.

As someone who has gone through it, I don’t know if I even believe in it. Not because I don’t believe in the suffering, but because I believe that IT IS NOT IN OUR HEADS! The problem is not women. The problem is that women are being put under insane amounts of pressure at the most vulnerable time of their lives, and then people are asking why they are having a hard time.

After birth, women have a wound NINE INCHES WIDE inside of them, and they have just gone through one of the most physically and emotionally taxing experiences in existence. I was lucky enough to have people to watch out for me for the first week after my first birth and a month after my second, and I still had a hard time. I was not feeling better by the time my family had to go back to work and daily life. They just had to go back to work and daily life.

For months after birth, women are enduring huge hormonal shifts, an adjustment to their new body, their new mind, their new life, their new child, and at the same time, most of them are dealing with working, and the ones who aren’t dealing with that are dealing with staying home with other kids, which comes with built in expectations of keeping the house clean, cooking all the meals, getting the errands done, being the best mom ever, and not worrying about money, which is no cake walk when you are dealing with all of these other things.

So moms are overwhelmed, physically and emotionally and mentally exhausted, their entire lives have changed, and everyone is telling them that everything is fine, and this is how it goes, and life is just hard. Then, we blame it on their minds that they are suffering.

My midwife gave me a list of things that would help with my feelings after birth. For a little while I had time to do them, and when I did, they helped a TON. Who has time to do anything extra with two under two though? And the people around me would ask why I wasn’t doing them, but sometimes you are barely holding your own head up, let alone able to follow all the things you are supposed to be doing.

If you are suffering PPD and you reading this, I am NOT in ANY way saying that you are not suffering, what I am saying it is possible that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU OR YOUR BODY.

Women are being neglected and wronged. We do not have a society that supports women who are just starting out, that is, unless they think about having an abortion, then we will help them, either to not have the baby or to “save” it.

Women need a community to rally around them, not for a week or two, but I would say for a year. While all these hormones and changes are happening, women need extra support. Their struggles and their suffering NEEDS to matter. They need to not be told it’s “just depression,” and “maybe they should go talk to someone.” They need HELP.

I’ll just clarify here, this is a symptom of a bigger problem. I am not saying moms need help and other people don’t. I am saying our entire society is built on rushing to keep up with everything going on in our lives, but people are not helping each other. I believe we have widespread issues we are experiencing because we are not taking care of each other. I believe men need to be supported too, I believe children need to be supported. I believe everyone needs more love.

Be the love that changes the world.

Embrace Your Cross

“Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabbactani
My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”

My God, My God, why did you abandon me?

I gave You everything. No matter how hard everything was.

I gave You my childhood. I gave you the feeling of being invincible that I never got to feel.

I gave You my obedience that destroyed my dreams, and my spirit for years.

I gave you myself, no matter how bad it got, and it got bad.

No matter how much I give, you always ask more.

How could you ask of me my child?

I was faithful.

I was strong.

I followed You.

What could I have done to deserve losing her?

I wrestle with any imperfection in my life before that moment.

Is this why He took her away? Was it this fight? Was it this day of work? Was it the juice I drank? Was it that I wasn’t healthy enough? Is it because I didn’t do something?

What did I do?

I thought I was following You.

What did I do? I never said I was perfect, but what did I do that was so bad that You would give me hopes and dreams I never thought I even had only to destroy them immediately after?

I can’t stand confession now, because I don’t know what my cardinal sin was.

My entire life I was afraid I was evil, and You hated me.

Do you?

Why?

What did I do?

Was it the moment that I was so afraid about the money that for a split second I wanted an abortion? I never meant to think that thought. I never wanted to lose her. I was just scared. I loved her.

Was I not motherly enough? Do I not have what it takes to be a good mother? If that’s why, am I good enough now? Please don’t take away the babies I have now. I love them. Please don’t take them away.

Why would you do this to me?

I was faithful through horrors that only You understand, and You gave me more.

“When will you make it end?”

I keep hearing you say, “when I am finished,” but God, finished with what? Is my suffering not over yet? Do you hate me so much that You created me only to hurt me?

Are some people just meant to be tortured by you, and some are just loved?

Do You know what it took me to stay alive because You said so? Because You would hate me if I didn’t? Do you know what it took me to cause pain to the most important person in my life, because my parents told me to, and you said to obey them? Do you know how much it hurt, and hurts, to have lost the life that I see in others, before mine even began? Do you know how much it hurts to hope when some dreams can never be fulfilled?

How do you even manage to grieve what is lost, when no one would understand?

I lost my wedding to the kindness I thought you asked of me. I lost my dreams to the curse of the ones you gave me. I lost my sense of self over and over and over and over and over to the One you entrusted me to. I lost my hope that You might love me.

I lost my dream of a mother who supports me and my dreams unconditionally because she believes in me and loves me, before I could even dream it. I lost my dream of a father I could trust to hold me when I cried. I lost my dream of even knowing my father at all, and the dream of having a better one too. I lost my dream of someone seeing me in pain and holding me. I even lost my dream of a husband who would hold me when I cried, what a cruel joke that is. He is amazing and healing and emotional, but I have to ask him to hold me when I cry.

I can’t bear this. It’s too much. It hurts too much for the human heart to bear. It is too much loss, too much pain, too much grief, just too much. I can’t breathe when I can feel the loss. The years and years of loss. The knowledge that I am not alone in the loss. I can’t breathe.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” CS Lewis

I had locked it up, God. You know how completely I had shut myself off.

I asked you for this. I asked you to heal my “dry bones.”

Don’t stop. Make me feel again. Make me ME again. Don’t let me close up again, I can feel my body trying to. I keep catching myself holding my breath and thrusting my tongue into the roof of my mouth to block whatever is happening in me. My body is terrified. My heart cries out to you, Oh God. Oh God, Oh God, why have you abandoned me? Oh God, Oh God, why have you abandoned me? Oh God, Oh God, why have you abandoned me?

The fear might be the worst part for me.

The fear that since You have done it before, You will do it again.

Mother Teresa felt abandoned by You for FIFTY years. How could you?

Would you do that to me?

If You did that to her, would you do that to me?

Would you abandon me for that long?

When you protect me, I am afraid You will stop, because You stopped.

When you lead me, I am afraid there is only worse pain ahead.

Miscarriage taught me how little I know of pain.

Childbirth taught me it can get even worse. Childbirth taught me pain can get so bad, that you think you are going to die, and you really don’t care anymore. It would be better than living this moment.

Motherhood has taught me to scream.

I am losing my joy to my attempts not to feel.

I am losing my joy to every moment I hold my breath so I can’t feel the hurt.

I am losing my joy to every moment I am so consumed by despair that I can’t convince myself to try anymore.

I am losing my joy to everything I already lost, and my fear of what I am going to lose.

 

“There are things we can do
But from the things that work there are only two
And from the two that we choose to do
Peace will win and fear will lose
It is faith and there’s sleep
We need to pick one please because
Faith is to be awake
And to be awake is for us to think
And for us to think is to be alive
And I will try with every rhyme
To come across like I am dying
To let you know you need to try to think”

God, it hurts so much to think. It hurts so much to be as me. I want to be me.

Redeem me here. Redeem me in the pain that goes so deep it never ends. Redeem me in this fear that You are not for me, You are against me.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

But if God is against us?

Post Partum Depression

A mama who I admire and respect posted a link about Post Partum Depression today. She commented above it about her own struggle with “raging hormones” and “stream of consciousness” thoughts. My stomach clenched in excitement and fear. Someone saw me. Someone knew whats been happening to me. Something that I have been trying to hide, even from myself.

The scariest thing about Post Partum Depression, for me, is feel so out of control of my thoughts and feelings. One second I am so happy and grateful to be a mom and overwhelmed with joy, less than an hour later I’m miserable and incapable, feeling like I never should have had kids, and all I’m doing is hurting them(I’m not actually abusing them by the way, just hurting them be being upset and not the best mom I can be.) I want to have the whole house clean, both girls happy, everyone fed well, but something is always falling behind, and once it does I feel like a complete mess. I start to doubt myself and I can’t encourage myself enough to keep up with the discouraging train of thought in head.

The other thing, that only happens when I’m really really exhausted, is the intrusive thoughts. The chorus of cruel voices shouting at me, “You’re not a good mom,” “what were you thinking?” “They’d be better off if you were dead.” “Maybe you should get a job, patrick(my husband) is better at this than you anyway.” “They are going to hate you forever.” “You should just kill your self.” “They will all be so much happier if you leave.”

Even just writing these now is terrifying. These are not actions that I plan on following through, these are thoughts that have a life of their own, that I am sometimes afraid I don’t have a choice.

All of this gets so much worse when I don’t get time alone, or don’t go to counseling, or don’t do yoga, so I try to be consistent. However, sometimes someone in the family is sick, the weather is bad, I don’t get enough sleep, we don’t have enough money. Then, I am just edging through each day trying to be enough and hating myself for everywhere I fail by the end of the day.

So for those of you who know someone struggling with post partum depression, give her a hug today. Tell her it’s all going to be ok. Give her a chance to eat something slowlyand calmly. Let her know you love her, and that she is doing a good job, even if you disagree with how she does things. She already has a thousand voices in her head telling her what she’s doing wrong, and what she needs more than anything is for you to tell her that they are lying, and it’s your voice against a thousand, so give her the strongest words you’ve got.

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