Postpartum Depression: My Walk Into Darkness

dark alley

I remember on one of my darkest days asking God to swaddle me. I had swaddled the babies so many times by then. It was, at the time, my greatest need. I could feel the need physically to be held so tightly by someone greater and stronger than me. This was the only time during that year that I felt the presence of God come down and warm me while I lay there.

Other than that moment, I had been in the dark. The hole seemed to go deeper by day. I never could have imagined, nor can anyone I believe, the weight of the cross of affliction God would allow or call me to carry. I never knew depression before. Suicidal thoughts had never been so real. Satan was on full attack, and only now can I try to share my story. This is my story. Others have had it harder… much harder. Some have never walked into the dark night of the soul. You cannot understand how comfortable you have it until you take that walk. I do not pretend to understand the journey of others. This is mine.

I gave everything I had and every part of my own strength to the babies God gave me. I should not have tried to nurse them both for so long, but I did. The physical exhaustion was extreme. I lost thirty pounds in two weeks and with very little sleep and very little food, I lived for those two little lives by the hour. It went on for months. It seemed so hard. It was hard. And the more we speak to ourselves about how hard it is, it just gets harder. So down I went into a pit.

By the time the twins were one month old, I had my hardest night with them. It was Christmas Eve. My husband was doing church services. They were crying all day. I couldn’t seem to feed them at the same time, and they seemed very unforgiving. My exhaustion hit its mark, and I was angry. I did nothing wrong, but I feared I would. I yelled at Ann to stop crying. And I wanted, for a moment, to shake it out of her. Then I cursed into the space of the room, knowing deep down I was yelling at God. It only made the babies cry harder. The guilt about that night set in my heart as a mother. That night the fears begin to grip me. And the nightmares started. So the pit got deeper. Fear gives way to a bounding chain that will hold you in place and try to steal every possible ray of hope you have ever had.

The first time it came, I saw a picture. Like Satan plants an idea. It was a cutting…of the wrist. And a part of you wants to do it. For different reasons, but mostly to escape. And this is the level of torment evil wants us all to reach.

Because death is the goal of true evil.

Then came the lies. I was not a good mother. I could do nothing right. I was mad at God for not answering the thousand prayers for help. I had not heard from Him, and it seemed I was not going to. So the lies began to move into my belief system. It was the danger zone.

We tend to act on what we truly believe.

And more than anything else, I came to believe that God was no longer for me.

I got angrier and believed more and more every day any negative thing I said to myself in my own mind. I have no purpose. This is my life now – just taking care of babies and serving my husband. I have no gifts. The dreams I’d had all my life to serve God were just selfish dreams that God never intended to fulfill. And I had no way of fulfilling them myself – I had no ability to even do what I had dreamed of doing. This life was hard and it would last forever. I could not accept that God would leave me like this.

The worst parts of me came to the surface. That happens in the pit. So I started to believe I was not at all the person I previously thought I was. Identity is everything here. Who you are…and Who He is.

I struggled with believing in God’s goodness. Why would He not answer me? How can I minister to others about God’s compassion when I feel that He has left me to roam this dark place alone? Was my frustration and growing anger who I really was? Did it define my person? If so, I don’t even belong in the Christian circle.

I doubted my salvation – very much. Because fruit? Was dead on the vine. I had nothing to offer. And Scripture? Only seemed to tell me I would be uprooted and thrown into the fire.

I could no longer pick up the Bible.

I absolutely could not pray any more.

The cries and the needs of the twins went on. During my own personal beating, I still cared for them. So as I deteriorated inside, my outward strength was sapped. From late night and daily feedings on the clock to constant supervision, rocking, holding and comforting, I lived for them. While doing so, I had very little time outside of my small living room. I lived in there for almost two years with two needy little babes. Isolation is a door to this alley.

One day I got to go out for lunch with my husband. I told him I was just surviving. I can remember how heavy my chest felt as I said that. I thought I might drown. My whole body felt as though it might literally give out. I ate my meal slowly anyway, and just kept going. I knew David would solve the problem if he could, but it seemed we had very little choice but to keep moving forward. We asked for help often, and many wonderful people from our church stepped up. Ultimately, though, we carried the weight.

God has been shining a light into the dark places of this season. The spotlight first largely focused on the schemes of Satan to destroy me. But now, He is leading me through Scripture into truths we may not talk enough about in the church. As God is walking me into the different rooms of teaching, I’m listening.

For me, for others, for the church, I’m inviting you into each room.

And may we “pay attention {to His WORD}, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”2 Peter 1:19

Dawn is coming.

He is the Morning Star rising in your heart.

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I’m linking up today for #TestimonyTuesday to share the truth of my struggle with all the other brave souls joining Holly Barrett.

I’m SO THANKFUL God was faithful even during the hardest season. I’ve since written about how very present He was in a post titled The Cloud of Unknowing: When God is Nearer Than you Think. As God infused hope into me, and I replaced the lies of Satan with the truth of God’s Word, I’ve experienced a new kind of authentic joy, a new kind of faith. Praise Him!

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11 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing such a raw, honest post. I too suffered from PPD, althugh it was only for a few months. I pray God’s strength will continue to find you, and you will feel some relief. It’s true what you said about the doorway being opened by isolation. Blessings to you!

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  2. You touched into similar emotions that I have felt on some level and how Satan creeps in and can make you believe almost anything. Your story will touch others and I hope you continue to share it. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs but also one of the most rewarding jobs. Today I pray for all moms who feel like today is their most difficult. May God’s voice be louder and heard above the noise of the distracters in our lives. Blessed to be visiting you from Testimony Tuesday! Mary

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    • Amen and Amen to that prayer! Our stories can offer hope to those still in the dark today. May we push through the dark with the Word of truth. Blessings…

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  3. Ginger, thanks so much for sharing your story at Testimony Tuesday. I’ve never suffered from PPD but have met the dark side in other areas of my life. It is amazing what the enemy can make you think sometimes. So grateful for the light of our Father and how He is ministering to your soul in this time.

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