i don't claim to know it all. i don't claim to be perfect. i just claim to love jesus.

Friday, January 21, 2011

the secret behind this mom

i'll be honest. as i usually am on here. i've thought LONG and hard about writing this post for awhile now. i've written it a thousand and three and a half times in my head. i've thought about what to title it. how to start it. and nothing 'perfect' has come to me. so it's going to be a 'throw it out there and go with it' sort of post. and also i'll throw in this disclaimer...it's probably going to be a long one.

get with it already right? okay...here goes...

for the past two months i've been taking a medicine each night with supper. the medicine is helping me to combat my post partum depression.

there. i've said it. i have/had/am dealing with post partum depression.

it's my little secret i've been 'hiding'. it's my little secret that for months...ruined a lot of my life. brutal honesty remember? it's my little secret that i'm hoping by me sharing will help someone else. it's my little secret that really isn't so little at all...it's huge.

now where to start? what to share? that's the rambling part in me.

i knew something was different at WINGS one day when i was talking to my friend,erin, and saying how i was dealing with baby blues. she said, still? how old is evaleigh. i looked at evaleigh and said 2 1/2 months. she looked at me with concern for her new friend and said, you shouldn't be having baby blues anymore.

honestly, i shrugged it off. and didn't want to admit to her, or myself, or ANYONE that it could be something MORE then just the blues. two weeks later my sweet new friend asked how i was feeling. i said alright. she said any better? i said. hmmm. depends on the day. and that was pretty much that. but i didn't shrug it off as much. mainly because she took the time to care again. and ask how i was doing. so i googled 'baby blues' and realized...those 'blue' feelings *should* go away within a few weeks...WEEKS?! really? it had been MONTHS and i was still feeling blue-ish. ack. i thought. i can handle it.

and 'handle' it i did. ha. about a month later it was just me and one other mom,donna, at our kindergarten play group. and somehow i came unravled and spilled to her just how yucky i had been feeling. she looked at me and said...you need to call your doctor. what? i thought. no i don't. and then i admitted to her, i didn't 'want' to because my doctor always said how 'great' she thought i was at handling my kids. i didn't want to let my doctor down. she smiled at me. and said sister, that's pride talkin'. eeek. it was pride talkin'. so after kindergarten play group, i took the plunge. i made the call.

it wasn't an easy call to make. but i did. it's so weird to say it outloud "i think i have post partum depression". i made the appointment for the next week. it was so surreal, but at the same time, felt so good. i instantly felt like something was going to change.

i'll be honest. i didn't tell shaun i was going. he was good for the first few weeks asking me how i felt, but then of course i was just a jumble of new mom emotions and didn't even KNOW how i felt. and again PRIDE taking over me. and i didn't know how to do it. how do you just say 'dude, i feel like crap'. it's not a conversation we could have over supper. so i didn't tell him. my sweet friend melissa, watched my kiddos for me. ((you see it was much easier to tell her then my own husband, i don't know!)) my doctor, i've said it before, is great. she treated me like a person. and talked to me about things.

it was SO nice to just talk to her. to admit to her how yucky i truly had been. to let out some tears. and admittedly, some laughs. it honestly felt like i was talking to a long time friend. not just my doctor. for THAT i'm grateful. we talked over options. we talked about exercise. meds. nothing. i knew i didn't want to do nothing. i KNEW i was not myself. so my RX was to exercise twice a week if i could. and i took a perscription for meds. the best part about it, she told me, i can give you this and if you don't want to take it, don't. i liked that it wasn't ohhh you're 'depressed' here...take some meds. bye. she sat with me for over a half hour. talking and making me feel like i mattered.

so i took the perscription. and have been taking my meds. and as they have helped me to feel more like myself again...i realized just how much i wasn't myself for MONTHS. maybe longer.

i truly think that i was battling and never fully got over my depression from the two miscarriage in 2009. (one in may and one in august for anyone who doesn't know that story) i've fully admitted here that i was in a DAAAAARRRRK place. i fully admitted that had it not been for my precious son in the car with me, i would've driven head on into a semi's path. but then i thought i got over all that. things were looking good. God blessed us with another healthy pregnancy. a pretty uneventful pregnancy. and a crazy labor and birth, but in the end a beautiful daughter. it was all good.

til a week after i had evaleigh. i remember finding out that a friend of mine had gone to the hospital to have her baby boy...only to find out when they got there...there was not a heart beat. she had to give birth to her precious son...stillborn. i bawled. i more then bawled. i broke down more then one time about it. how unfair to have someone deal with that. how unfair that i had a healthy baby and she didn't. how unfair that she got to hold her baby and 'say' goodbye to him and i never got that chance with mine. it just broke my heart knowing the emotions she probably was feeling. and yet...i found myself jealous of her. that she at least got to see her baby. here i had my precious baby girl...and i was missing my other babies. was i crazy?! i got mad at myself for being so selfish. i got irritated at myself because i wasn't happy with what i had been given.

i worked through those feelings. yet i didn't. i know that doesn't make much sense. but i was dealing and grieving the loses of my babies all over again. it took me awhile. but i fully grieved them. do i miss them yet. oh of course. but i have 'accepted' their deaths with a much different heart. i can't explain it. and it's interesting because i really can't even explain how i was feeling.

i pulled away a ton from my blog during the past few months. mainly because i didn't want to accidentally 'spill my secret'. i didn't want to read many blogs either. i didn't want to find out anything bad. i didn't want to know anything more bad. i already felt bad enough...i didn't want to feel bad about anything more. and unless you've been in a place like that, you may not even understand that. and i don't have the words to explain it. because i don't even know why i did some of the things i did.

not only did i pull away from most of my blog friends, i pulled away from my in person friends too. one that was dealing with a 'bad thing' especially. looking back now, i know it wasn't a very good 'friend' thing to do at all. but i can't change what i did. and i wasn't myself. i hate what happened, and i've pretty much all but ruined the friendship because of it. BUT i can't change things that happened. i can only move forward. and that has been my goal. to move forward. to let things happen and not to feel bad about what did happen anymore. i can't pull myself down. i can only keep gaining the strength to stand tall.

on top of my friendships being pretty minimal...my marriage was too. i pulled away from shaun. talked when i needed to, but other then that just left it be. thankfully we didn't fight much. but we didn't grow much either.

my kids. wow. if kids could fire their moms. i would've been tossed out to the wolves. i yelled more then i should've. i was a parent. not a mom. i did what i needed. and all but ignored being fun and exciting. i hate it admitting that. but it's the disgusting truth behind my depression.

my house. ha. thankfully i don't have many people over to my house. because i would've needed days to get it cleaned up for their arrival. laundry was piled (higher then normal). dishes were not done by me, thankfully i have a very helpful husband. papers, magazines, etc. littered the table. the cupboards the floors. basically i didn't do much of anything. i lived. and that was that. ((my house is never usually spic and span, but this was truly my worst of my worst of my absolute worst in housekeeping skills))

we also had a lot going on within our marriage and family with our church. and because i don't think it needs to be shared, in the end, after MUCH prayer we left our church. but it also had me dealing with a lot of emotions that come along with doing something like that. and even more so the things that were or were not said and done because of our obedience to the calling God placed on us. for that reason is the only reason we left the church we were attending.

and then God. i wasn't mad at God. i wasn't thinking to pull away from God. if nothing else on most days it was Him that i clung to. that i begged to change me. in the same sense i never wanted to admit my depression. because as a Christian i think there is this stigma that goes along with it, that you 'always' have to be happy. that you can NOT feel depressed. i had pretty much heard that preached a few times. and if nothing else it made me feel worse. i can feel depressed. i was feeling depressed. but i *shouldn't* be. i should pray and it will be all better.

except it's not. it wasn't. things didn't get better with only prayer. and i fully believe that sometimes it can and does work that way. but for me it didn't. it wasn't that i didn't think God could do it. it wasn't that He didn't want to do it. it wasn't because i didn't have 'strong enough faith', it was because God had a different plan for me. He wanted me to admit outloud. to work through things that needed working through. to be able to have more of a story to share.

and sharing i am. as a Christian i was depressed. because you are a Christian it doesn't make your life all roses and chocolate. life is still life. i just have God to cling to through those weeds and garbage. it doesn't make it any 'easier' as a Christian, but it gave me something to hope for. you can feel 'bad' as a Christian. you can be depressed as a Christian. and guess what?! the bestest part...is that it is 100% completely FINE! you won't go to hell feeling that way. you won't get disowned by God feeling that way. because He STILL loves you. He still holds you. He gets you through it with His ever loving grace.

i remember sitting in the car the day after thanksgiving with my mom and sister nursing evaleigh. we were talking and all of a sudden i realized that i was sharing too much. and said. fine okay. the other week i went to my doctor and i'm taking medicine. guess what? they didn't stare at me like i had five heads. they didn't bash me for being 'real' and doing something about my depression. they cared about me. and even though they didn't say much, it said more to me then anything else words could've said. ((my sister did say one thing, she said she *thought* something was wrong, and that she felt bad she didn't ask/say anything. so my advice to anyone...even if you only *think* it...it doesn't hurt to ask or say anything)) it felt good to tell them. and really up until now, only a few close friends know 'the truth'.

and of course shaun. this is a sort of humorous story...the day i went to the dr. the kids told shaun how they played at melissa's house. then i said...i went to the doctor. ((enter in shaun pale faced. stuttering...in shock...)) he asked why? i looked at him and said because i was sick of feeling like crap. ((a brief moment of relief passed over his face)) oh. he said...with a ton of concern...but then he said...i thought you were going to tell me you were pregnant! i busted up laughing. i pretty much gave the guy a heart attack. here we had an almost 4 month old...and he thought i was pregnant already. afterwards it opened up the door for us to talk. for me to apologize for not telling him sooner. but it was a nice talk. i'm more open with him about things.

and the meds are working. i care again. i'm myself again. i'm a mom again. i'm a friend again. i'm the person i need to be again. i'm the blogger i want to be again. and gosh darn...it feels so good.

i'm sharing this to not get sympathy. but to share it with you to not feel ashamed. to know it's okay to feel yucky. but when that yucky feeling lasts too long...to do something about it. my only regret is that i took so long to do something. but yet i know that it was God's work in my heart through things to 'wait'.

this is a journey that i never intended on taking. but one i'm so very thankful for. i pray that you can be spoken to by this. and pray that if you need someone to talk to you...that you know i'd love to talk to you.
thanks for being here. i love you guys more then you'll ever know. and only in a way you know. all those non-bloggers have no idea how people who have never met, and most likely never will, can feel so much love for each other.

thanks for reading.

36 loving words from you.:

Jen said...

You're amazing. What a courageous post. Thanks for sharing. (((Hugs)))

Kelli @ RTSM said...

Amanda, I really wish I could express myself as eloquently as you always do! I love that you are so honest and real, and it truly comes through in ever single word you type! Thanks you so much for sharing this with us! I went through a little bit of the baby blues after I had Grant and I even took meds for a few months, so I can totally relate to this:) I'm so glad that you are feeling back to normal...I have missed reading your always inspiring posts! And thanks for the little chuckle at the end, because I totally knew when you said you told Shaun you went to the doctor that he thought you were pregnant again:)

Stephanie said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...hearing you share your story with me made ME realize it was OK to admit I am depressed. It made me realize I'm not alone...and that there is hope. I am so, so thankful for you, for your honesty, for your friendship, because you have blessed me so much. That talk we had at your house the last time was one of the best conversations ever, because we were both honest about our struggles...but, even more, we were able to share the God who loves us even though we are messes, and who can make something beautiful out of these messes. I love you, Amanda, and I am so glad you shared this, because depression needs to be talked about so people know it's ok to ask for help. Also, we need to get together soon, really soon. I miss you! When is your next free day?

Emily said...

You are an amazing, woman for sharing your story. Many women facing the same problem wouldn't have come clear... you are beautiful and God is and will continue blessing you! I will be praying for you!

Jennifer said...

You are an amazing, amazing woman for sharing this. So many go through PPD - let alone just regular depression - alone, feeling shame and guilt. You are opening that door just a little to allow us to not feel alone.

To admit that and to admit that you got help is amazing.

I applaud you! God bless!

Lindy said...

All I can say is good for you. I have been there and done that and I think more women have but are scared to admit it. Thanks for stepping up to the plate and being honest!

The Beaver Bunch said...

You are awesome. And, I've MISSED YOU.

Glad you're back to you.

~*Michelle*~ said...

Beautifully written my friend...

"To all who mourn in Israel,[a]
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair........."

~Isaiah 61:3

miss you.

Sarah MP said...

Thanks for sharing Amanda. PPD is a lot more common than anyone thinks. It takes more courage to get help than to try to handle it on your own.

Verna said...

It takes courage to admit when we have a problem. And it is not the end of the world to let our spouse and family and friends know how we feel.
Praying the meds will continue to work and you will soon feel much better.
Jesus loves you and so do we!

P.S. I bet Shaun's face was priceless when he thought you were going to tell him you were pregnant.

{:miss v:} said...

I loved this post. Loved.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It's funny how you can be going through a million different horrible things and you feel all alone, like no one else in the world is going through something and their lives are all happy and joyful. But the truth is, while they may seem happy on the outside, they could be crumbling on the inside.

I suffered with postpartum OCD which was absolutely horrible. Luckily I knew exactly what it was and I went to my dr. within a week or so of Evan's birth. It does feel good to talk about it and it IS okay to feel that way. We just don't HAVE to keep feeling that way.

I'd love to chat with you about this sometime.

I'll be praying for you.

Megan said...

Bravo Amanda, I'm so proud of you. This was a great post and I hope you feel great after putting this out to the universe. You should! Seriously, excellent post.

Erin said...

you r so courageous & awesome for sharing the truth. you have nothing but support from your blog community friends!

Veronica said...

Well you know that none of this is a shocker to me since we've talked about this already. :) I just want to say that I love you tons for putting yourself out there and sharing this with everyone. I know you are blessing someone out there who needed to hear this and know they're not alone.

I'm so proud of you for taking steps in the right direction to get some help. I pray that you'll continue on the road to wellness and you can feel better for the long haul!

Love you and you know what? I'm sorry that when you were here I didn't really hug you much. I really meant to but it just never happened. So here...{{{HUGS}}}!

ACW said...

Thank you for being so honest. I absolutely love seeing that cheerful, spiritual people struggle with depression. Because I do too! but I HATE people knowing about it. And my number one thing to is withdrawal from people. It's normal! I'm not brave enough to share it with the world, so I'm glad you are.

Alicia said...

Oh, Amanda..it was so brave of you to be so open and real. I have heard from women who felt more discouraged after sharing about depression because as Christians we should have the joy of the Lord. I think after my 4th child I was feeling that way too, but I didn't even realize it. Looking back now, I totally just went through the motions of things, and I still remember not really wanting to hold him. But, I never connected the two. Anyway...I'll be praying for you, and I have missed you! I figured you were too busy to blog. But, I understand the not blogging when you are not emotionally up to it!!

Emily B said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I don't even know you but I am so proud of you.
*hugs*

Kristin said...

I was reading this earlier on my iphone at dance and I just had to come back by so I could leave you a comment.

I just love your heart and your willingness to share. That takes the power away from the secret and really does lead to recovery. I was so scared to talk about and ask for prayer on my blog about my anxiety issues, but it really did change my life when I did! I am so sorry that you have to go through this. But, it is so true that just because we are Christians, does not mean life is easy or all perfect. Thank you so much for being so open to share what you're going through. I know it will help so many to know they are not alone!

Love you and I'll be praying for you!!! :)

Heather said...

a beautifully written account of what you've been going through. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to so many things you said and are the better for you having said it. thank you for sharing.

Heather (bggb)

Christy said...

(hugs) Thanks for sharing!

Lara said...

Hi there- Thank you for sharing this. I know it took some guts--but hey, that's what HE'S for, right! HE gives you the strength! I'm glad you decided not to listen to the preaching about how Christians shouldn't be depressed. Sometimes, there are tings that are chemically imbalanced and usually need to be fixed with meds. On top of that, how would anybody know that God didn't want you to go through this path so you can share it. I think HE had a great plan there.

After my firstborn, I didn't realize it at the time, but in hindsight I realized I was suffering from some kind of PPD. Then, when I got pregnant after four months, it went away. I am a little worried that I'll go through something like that this time around since this will probably be our last baby and I'll probably be pretty sad about that. However, God SHOCKED us with our third pregnancy (that we tried to prevent and even had some issues that she survived before we knew about her)that we never intended. So, I figure I never really know when we're "done!"

I'm sure glad you're back to better. And I really hope this means your posts will be more frequent. I noticed they were dropping off, but I had no clue something was wrong. I know for me, that life just gets in a new cycle sometimes. And until you adjust, all "extras" cease-- like blogging. Anyway, welcome back :-)

Stephanie said...

I am so happy and proud of you for sharing this. I know that it will do so many people a lot of good. I take medication as well. I never really got post-partum depression but I started having small panic attacks and anxiety a few months after Camryn was born, which caused me to feel like a different person. I eventually felt like I wasn't able to be the mom I needed to be and I went to see my doctor. I have never been more glad of a decision.. I felt like ME again, just like you said. I hope that your friends will understand what you have been dealing with and your friendships with them can heal. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

Stephanie said...

Oh Amanda I love this post! I had post partum after my oldest was born and it was so incredibly difficult. Add in the fact that I was 19 and by myself and that made things even more interesting!

I'm so happy you realized what was going on and got help for it - I think that is what is so hard - we think there is shame in it initially. I'm glad you're feeling better and things are getting back to normal around your place!

Hugs to you!!!!

-stephanie- said...

Loved this brave and honest post. I pray it helps someone else going through this. Happy to know you got help and are getting back to the person that you are supposed to be.

Kristin said...

What a story of God's grace! I'm so glad you were able to share your heart.

Anonymous said...

Normally I just read and don't post. I couldn't let this one go by without a reply. You are so brave to share this info. I hope your friend forgives you and if she doesn't all you can do is move on. Glad you're getting help and getting better.

Lynn

Karen said...

Bless your heart!!
I hope you feel better.
never be ashamed of needing meds.

Jennifer W. said...

Brave girl...thanks for sharing. The closest I've ever come to PPD was after Jacob when I had the emergency C-section. I was miserable, but felt like because I had my beautiful baby boy, I had no right to be depressed-even though the recovery from the surgery took me longer than I expected. I hated how I felt, and didn't admit it to anyone but Paul. He was there for me, and I was thankful for how much he helped me. I don't know if I actually did have PPD, I just know that for a long time after he was born, I didn't feel like me. Pride kept me from admitting it to others, I suppose. I'm proud that you were able to realize that you might need help and get it!!
Jen

Amber said...

Amanda,
I love you! There I said it, I probably broke all sorts of "new friend" rules, but I really do. I love your honesty, I love how brave you are and I love what kind of a woman you are.
I'm so glad that we have our blogs to get to know each other better, but I'm even happier about the fact that I get to know you in "real life".
I'll be praying for you and I want to reemphasize what you already said in your post that having postpartum depression (or any kind of depression) does NOT make you less of a child of God!! I recommend reading some Charles Spurgeon, he too was a great man of God who suffered with depression throughout times of his life.
I'm so proud of you, and I really hope that I will get to see you tomorrow, and if not then, soon?!!?

JAK said...

Amanda,
I am so proud of you for sharing your story. I felt a lot of what you did-embarrassed and ashamed to let others know that I was falling apart. Big mistake! Asking for help is a strength and NEVER a weakness.

I was "distant" to God as well. I didn't feel his presence- instead only Satan lurking around me. I prayed for angels and he sent angels to protect me. My family, my friends, so many people praying for me.
One day in church the pastor admitted his recent battle with depression. It cleared up a lot of feelings I had about it all.
Why would God allow this to happen?
Well it was simple- to allow my faith to grow and to speak openly about PPD. We will suffer and we will have challenges. We are not immune to them. We will also have smooth sailings and be grateful for those as well. Some of the most devout Christians have had some of the hardest challenges and yet they turned to our father and they can have peace.

I am praying for you Amanda- you are an amazing woman and a fantastic mother!

One website I like is postpartumprogress.com
I look at it weekly- we are sooo not alone!
Take care and God Bless
Jodie Klamm

Jessi said...

I went through depression in college and oh, it is so very real! I think it's one of satan's biggest weapons against us as Christians...especially because we aren't "supposed" to have THAT.
Thank you for sharing your story and your heart. I'm so glad you are doing better and feeling more like yourself.
I'll be praying for you, friend.

Blessings.

Jenny said...

What a very brave post :) I too went thru Post Partum Depression after my son was born and it was one of the hardest times in my life. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This post basically could have been written by me almost word for word. I really needed to read this and appreciate you putting yourself out there.
Thank you.~Mandy

~The Bargain Babe said...

Many of us find ourselves on journeys we didn't intend. ;-) I am glad you got help, there is no shame or condemnation in that!

Holly said...

Thanks for being so honest, Amanda. I'm glad that with meds you are feeling better. That is what is most important - that you can get back to being the person you want to be.

Linda said...

Wow Amanda...you said this all so well. You really bared your soul! I just know it is going to help others who read this.

This blog post was so honest. And yes, people who aren't bloggers don't know how close we all feel to each other!

I love you and I will pray for you Amanda

Linda @ Truthful Tidbits