Saturday, September 29, 2012

Overcoming PPD and the Refreshing Feeling to be "Normal" Again

Awhile ago, I wrote a post and in it, I referred to my struggle with postpartum depression. I only recently began to experience some freedom from the "dark cloud" that seemed to hover over my head constantly. I am thankful that the Lord is delivering me from it. 

My struggle with PPD deserves an explanation that goes back before I even got married. If you knew me in high school, you probably heard me say many times, "I don't ever want to have children." I would have been sincerely and totally fulfilled if I hadn't ever had a child. Part of it was selfishness. Part of it was just a desire to do "what I wanted" with my life (which I guess is selfishness.) When I got pregnant with Maggie, Matthew and I were not trying and it was honestly a big surprise. 

We got excited, though, and made new plans for our life with a child in view. I had a rough pregnancy and was eager to meet this new little person (or really, just be done being pregnant!) When she was born 3 weeks early (again, surprisingly) I realized quickly that I was not emotionally prepared for a child. I had ridiculous expectations of myself and of her. Life was emotional (for longer than the normal 6 weeks) and sometimes seemed unbearable. Matthew absolutely couldn't relate to any feelings that I was experiencing. It was a very dark time and I felt very alone. 

Eventually, when I had exhausted various options, I turned to Scripture. Ha! Isn't it ridiculous that the place that we could have found rest and comfort in the first place is the last place that we turn to? The Lord graciously revealed to me some dark and ugly things in my heart. Things like the long-harbored and mostly unrecognized (up until that point) thought that I had that children were NOT a gift from the Lord, but a burden. Things like believing (subconsciously) that I was in control of my life and I could do as I pleased. Things like insecurities that I had harbored in my heart and never dealt with before. 

I never expected having a child to be so painful emotionally. (Let's be honest, I never planned on having a child in the first place!) The Lord knew that I needed this as a part of my sanctification. :) He knew that I needed this little nugget in my life so that I would end up flat on my face before the Lord, telling Him that I didn't KNOW how to DO THIS! He used her to reveal things in my heart about my disbelief of God and His Word, like the fact that the Word tells us specifically that children are a GIFT from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). I needed to chose to believe God's Word. Even when I didn't "feel" like it. Even when I didn't want to believe it. Even when I thought I couldn't believe it. I needed to chose to believe what God said was true. *I need to add a disclaimer here and say that I know all PPD is different and what helps someone may not help someone else. I don't believe that medication is a bad thing if you need it. My PPD was just deeper than what any medicine could fix. I needed to do so serious soul-searching too, to overcome it.*

Dealing with this issue of whether or not I actually believe what God says and dealing with the insecurities in my heart have given me a great deal of freedom. I feel free for the first time in a LONG time (long as in even before I got pregnant with Maggie.) A burden has been lifted because the Lord showed me these dark spots on my heart and helped me overcome them. Isn't He good? He doesn't just show us our darkness and leave us there to wallow in it. He shows us a way out, too. 

Lest you think that this is a dreary post, I will leave you with some pictures of Maggie. This kid is the light of my life. I thank the Lord for her every day and I think she is extra special to me because of the ways that I've already seen Him use Maggie as part of my sanctification. I can't believe that I get to enjoy her grow up and that God trusted me enough to care for her and teach her about Him on the earth. It really is incredible. 

The Lord is good and faithful. I can't wait to tell her the story of how He used her in my life. 




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