I never expected this part of motherhood.
In the months it took leading up to my sweet daughter’s birth, I imagined so many scenarios. I imagined what she would like, how her voice would sound, how much she would weigh. Before that, I wondered who she would be – boy or girl. I had thought up so.many.names. I was excited! Terrified of all the responsibility motherhood would bring, but so excited. What a beautiful opportunity, an awesome opportunity, God was giving me. I was a mother. Even before she was here, I was changed. I had a child, living and growing inside of me, and I was so ready to meet her. Even more so as the “morning” sickness kicked into high gear (and lasted 21 weeks) and the acid reflux became so unbearable I couldn’t sleep. I could not wait until I could hold my sweet baby in my arms.
And then it happened.
She was born and I was holding her in my arms. That moment feels so very vivid and yet, like a blur. Those first few hours and moments and days were so much. They’re very clear, for the most part, but really they still feel like one big, long, exhausting day. I lost a lot of blood and I was very, very weak when I got home. I was so sore and…miserable. Why was I miserable??
I have always been very in touch with my feelings and thoughts. I am highly rational, and that is something that I feel has saved me in this last year. While many said that it’s common to have “blues” just after the baby is born, I knew that this wasn’t that. This wasn’t just blues. I was miserable. I was verge-of-panic-attack miserable. I didn’t want to hold my baby. And, when I would realize that, I would go deeper into this misery because, what mom doesn’t want to hold her precious, newborn baby?? Everyone, everyone was telling me how blessed and lucky and wonderful and amazing and exciting this was supposed to be. Everyone was warning me how quickly it would pass…how little time they’re really that tiny…and I was overwhelmed. Completely overcome with guilt and misery because I didn’t want any part of it.
It was just a few days after going home from the hospital that we ended up having to call my doctor’s emergency line and make an appointment. When we met with her that day, I was a wreck. I was shaking. Sobbing. Terrified. My rational side was still there, knowing this wasn’t normal, yet still able to “get there” in my mind about why you hear those stories about moms who kill their babies. What a terrifying thought, huh? That’s when I knew. This isn’t blues. This is worse. This is much, much worse.
So that’s how I came to this postpartum depression diagnosis. Now, it’s been over year, and I’m still very much in the midst of this trying time. Only now, I feel like I can talk about it. I can tell you I’m going through it without having a mental breakdown after telling you. That’s not to say mental breakdowns aren’t still a thing around here (remember two weeks ago, Robert?). But I’m getting there. I’m learning triggers and, most of all, I’m learning to let go of a lot of the guilt that has kept me deep in the trenches of this depression.
I imagined so many scenarios of motherhood, but I never, for one second, thought of being a PPD mom. It’s been awful. I have tried to get past it, to mask it, to move on from it. Sometimes, I can will myself to interact with others better than other times. Sometimes, I can go days or weeks seeming “fine” to most people, even to Robert. But mostly, I’m still a mess. A mess wrapped up in the goodness of God, embraced by His great love and faithfulness.
There have been moments of resentment. More than moments, really. Why did I have to go through this? Why didn’t I get to enjoy those first few days and weeks of motherhood? Why is it so hard do function normally? Why can’t I do all the things I used to, without having panic attacks? Why am I so angry all the time? But instead of continuing to question God, I have begun to praise Him. At least, that’s what I’m trying to do. Because this difficult journey I’m walking is, I’m just sure of it, another means of ministry. At least, maybe it can be. Or will be. It is my prayer that I will allow God to use my life and circumstances to glorify Him. After all, His “strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
So why tell you all of this? Mostly to explain why this website is going to be different. If you’re an avid follower of all things emilyhat (hi, Mom!), you’ll know that I haven’t posted regularly in a long time. It’s because I couldn’t. I wasn’t the same Emily who started this website, and really, I’m still not. I don’t know when or if she’ll come back. But, I am the Emily who is walking through a dark valley, but being led by God’s gracious hand. That’s probably going to translate into different types of posts. Maybe more intimate, vulnerable posts like this one. But, that’s where we are right now, and hopefully, that’s where I can be the most use in His kingdom right now.
Having postpartum depression has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. But, in all things, God is faithful. I am so thankful He has delivered me to this point and I am ready and willing to be used to glorify Him.
Here am I, send me.
*If you have questions about PPD, or you are struggling with it yourself, please reach out! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org*