Postpartum Depression: Who Me?

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“I missed God, but I could not seem to connect. I felt alone.”

By Daniela Schwartz | Twitter: @dannyschwartz

 This has been a year of feeling broken and weak. This year–the one I imagined would be one of my best years ever–has often left me saying, “What’s going on?”

Something dark has been sitting on the sidelines, chanting: “Give up!” “You’re not good enough!” “You won’t make it.”

That darkness, for me, turned out to be postpartum depression.

It began as what I passed off as the baby blues; then I labeled it PMS. Then I started to have weird thoughts. I’d be scared for my baby—extremely irrational, but the fear was there. I would fight off panic going into his nursery at night, sure I’d find something awful. But as I snuggled him in his chair, the feeling would dissipate.

Exposed

I felt like I was living under a spotlight—one that magnified my flaws and mistakes. I felt like the whole world had me under a microscope. It felt impossible to hide, no matter how many social situations I bowed out of, which is easy to do when you have a teething toddler.

I began to think my family would be better off without me, that I should leave and give them a chance—their father could find a better mother for them. I was losing my mind under that damn spotlight. Except: there was no spotlight. Only me.

I didn’t know how to verbalize what I was feeling, because I didn’t know how to put into words those dark thoughts without leaving someone either speechless, or dialing child services.

When I finally came up for air from my sea of pity, I took myself to the doctor. I was a little disoriented during the visit, feeling humiliated by my reason for being there. I kept telling myself: I have the mind of Christ; I shouldn’t be depressed. Where did I go wrong? Did I not pray enough? Did I not read my Bible enough?

I hadn’t even told my husband.

I left the doctor’s office that day with a white piece of paper in my hand. My only request had been that I didn’t get a pill that would make me fat. (I always have to go there).

I called my husband to tell him and he was surprised. He hadn’t realized anything was wrong.

I called my first friend. She knew something was up.

I called my next friend. She had no idea. I thought she was ready to lead an intervention.

I called my sister. She knows everything.

I felt fragile. Like I had been diagnosed with a body made of glass that would shatter at any moment; not depression.

I also felt empowered.

You see when I was swimming in self pity, I let go of God’s hand. I tried to hide, which is about as effective as covering my eyes in a crowded room. I missed God, but I couldn’t seem to connect. I felt alone.

Hope

So, here I was, with my small square of white paper. And hope.

No one really talks about this stuff, particularly in my Christian circles. “Mind of Christ,” remember? I don’t discredit that; I am simply pointing out the way the devil twisted the Truth in my darkest moments. I didn’t hear women talking about postpartum depression in the church nursery.

I did let go of God’s hand, but God never left my side. God saw my fear, my self-defeat. God watched me beat myself up, but God didn’t let me fall. God is my Heavenly Father; what kind of dad would He be to walk away in my darkest hour?

I am feeling better these days. Those little pills have corrected the imbalance of serotonin in my brain, allowing me to sleep again at night. They have quieted my anxiety—I feel set free.

I allowed pride to keep me from reaching out for help for months when the answer was right there. I thank God for doctors.

I wish I had reached out sooner. It makes me wonder how many women sit in church silently battling depression. My doctor told me twenty percent of the population is clinically depressed, but people rarely talk about it. I was resistant to share that I was one of them. I felt like a failure. After I had visited my doctor that day a friend said to me, “You know you haven’t done anything wrong, right?” I realized in that moment, I had been blaming myself.

 “You know you haven’t done anything wrong, right?”

I thank God for people who speak truth into my life.

Today in my weakness, in my brokenness, I know God can use me right where I am. There is nothing I can do on my own. God is my shelter, my refuge. This is my season to rebuild and discover God’s plans for my life.

______________________

Dear SheLoves friends:

  • Do you have a sister or a 4am friend who “knows everything?” That person you can call at any time of the day or night, knowing she’ll be right there for you?
  • What have you been afraid to share with her that she may already know?
  • Have you ever experienced a dark night of the soul? How did you deal with it? Or, if you’re in the midst of it, how are you dealing with it now?
  • Any other thoughts or comments for Danny?

______________________

About Daniela:
Daniela is stepping into the role of stay-at-home mom. She loves Jesus, her husband and kids and jumps feet first into opportunities to serve in her community. Daniela lives by this statement, “Preach the gospel always, use words when necessary.” She loves to live life big and laughs a lot. She blogs at DanielaSchwartz.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit: Rainy day, fotolia.com

 

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Daniela Schwartz
I am a happily married mother of two gorgeous boys ages 2 & 10. I write, create and decorate. I am passionate about all three. I also love naps and staying in my pyjama's all day. I haven't figured out if this is due to laziness or depression, possibly both. I think Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened. I have a twin sister so if you happen to run into me and I ignore you or seem rude, it is probably her. You can tell if it's me because I look a little younger and am slightly prettier (wink). I blog about life at danielaschwartz.com
Daniela Schwartz

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  • Rebecca Graham

    Thank you Daniela… You are so brave to share this!! I wish their wasn’t such a stigma when people need SSRIs or anti-depressants. I have a very strong feeling more people take them than we realize, i do btw, we are just too embarrassed to admit it. If we all stood up together we could take a huge first step in fighting that silly stigma! You are amazing!!

  • Daniela, so glad that you spoke the truth from your life. I am also glad you reached out for help and in return found empowerment, rest and relief. I hope now, as you share with sisters, you will also find solidarity.

    Side note – so well written, my friend. You are a lovely writer + truth-teller. Blessings to you, your sweet boys and your sister, too!

  • fiona lynne

    Daniela, thank you so much for sharing this today. It is one of those experiences that continues to be so misunderstood, and I am so grateful to learn a little more from your story. It seems that it’s those experiences which are just too difficult to communicate, too difficult to fin the words to express, that seem so overwhelming. Because no one is talking about them. But once we start talking, so many others come forward and say yes, you put words to what I felt, what I am feeling. And that is so powerful. You are so brave to share xx

  • I love your heart and your brave voice … Thank you for sharing some of your story.

  • Rae

    Stigma, yes. And why? Don’t know. I have no problem with you, or anybody else in the world being on anti-depressants. But do I want a label for the reasons I find it hard to cope in the midst of this baby-toddler craziness? Not if the label is depression.

  • Trinity

    Your MY know everything person and I love that we share that with each other. Your honesty and openess is something I admire so much. Love you. xo

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  • What a brave and honest piece. I love your acknowledgement of doctors, and the fact that God gave us doctors for a reason 🙂 Thank you for sharing.