Joy

God has been tugging at my heart for the last few weeks to write this post. After reading two friends post about very personal things going on in their lives currently, I decided to stop ignoring the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure what writing all of this out and making it public will do, but I’m almost positive it will lead to some healing for me. I desperately need that. I also pray that this will help glorify my God. I pray that so earnestly. I need to know that all of this can be turned around to bring praise to His name.

I’m suffering from Postpartum Depression.

I never really thought about PPD while I was pregnant. I knew that some woman had it. I knew that I might be slightly more susceptible to it because I’ve had depression in my past. I dismissed the idea of ever having it. At the time, I never really knew anyone who had ever had it. I assumed that since I was healthy, and happy that it would never be an issue. I mean, I was so excited to have this baby! I thought that postpartum depression was only for women who had serious issues going on, physically and/or emotionally.

I first thought that all I had were the “baby blues”, which I understood happened to most new mothers, and would pass in time. I was weepy, I was tired, I was scared of being a new mom. I missed the days before all of this new responsibility. I noticed that those feelings didn’t go away, but increased enormously. I started noticing a detachment to my newborn baby, my sweet little girl. I didn’t feel like she was mine. She didn’t look like my baby. I didn’t feel love for her. I didn’t feel anything for her. I was scared to be near her, scared to touch her. I cried constantly. I talked to my family about all of this, and they advised I visit my doctor, who diagnosed me and put me on antidepressants. I would have a few good times after that, but most of the time I felt the same, or worse.

One day I realized that I was having thoughts of suicide. Real thoughts. My mom asked me if I ever had thoughts of harming myself, and I lied and told her no. I felt ashamed. Thankfully God prompted me to tell my husband, and eventually my mother about these thoughts I was having. They were able to help me, and made sure that I was never alone, especially with my baby. I only had one moment where I had the fleeting thought of harming my sweet daughter. My husband was there at the time.

I have been through one of the darkest times in my life, but I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When Penelope was 6 weeks old, Rod was able to stay home during the week and help out with her. That Thursday I had a particularly good day with her, and I was able to take care of her by myself for the whole day, while Rod sat beside me. She decided to surprise us and roll over ( our little over achiever). We celebrated and I sat down next to her, just talking to her. I leaned over and told her ” I love you”. That was the first time since coming home from the hospital that I had told her that. That was the first time I felt it.  Penelope is 2 months old today. Last week, I was finally able to be by myself with her during the day. It took 8 weeks, but we made it. Since then I have been able to be with her on my own, and actually enjoy my time with her. She is beautiful. She is sweet and funny. Her smiles cheer me up in an instant. I love my daughter, my blessing from God. To be able to finally feel these things about her, words can’t describe how that feels to me. So I won’t even bother to try.

God has shown me a lot through all of this. I’m certain He is not finished yet using this experience. I have some amazing people in my life. Some amazing family.My mom, who has gone above and beyond to help me out. Including staying up for Pen’s late night feedings and still managing to get up early and go to work. She has also been my emotional support and has allowed me to lean on her when I needed it. My sisters ( including my sister-in-law Anna!), who have sacrificed their time to come help me during the day, so I had someone with me when mom and Rod had to work. My dad, who continues to call multiple times a day to check on me. My mother-in-law, who I don’t believe knows the extent of all this, still encouraged me by letting me know how much and how often she was praying for me. My neighbor, who was one of our nurses during our stay at the hospital ( Rod and I know God orchestrated that). She helped so much for the first few weeks of Penelope’s life, and  still offers to help. I know she means it. My sweet cousin who is always coming by to help lend a hand. A handful of friends who I have confided in, and are praying for me. Many more family members who I know would be over in a second if I asked them. Last but not least, my amazing husband, who I need to take time to brag on. He has been my rock and my supporter. He has seen me in my darkest moment, and still loves me. He encourages me, and cheers me on. He LOVES our daughter, and has taken over for both of us when I was unable to. He stays up for those late night feedings as well, even though he has to get up in the morning and drive an hour to work. He has cried with me, prayed for me, loved on me. He has helped save my life. Our marriage will never be the same, and for that I am thankful.

One of the reasons I feel compelled to write this, is to ask for prayer. Prayer for many things:

Guilt. There is so much guilt on me. I do not want Satan to have this foothold in my life. I have guilt over having to have a c-section and guilt over deciding not to breastfeed once my daughter started having too many problems with it. I have guilt over all of the thoughts I mentioned in this blog. Guilt over the fact that I used to lay awake at night listening to my daughters breathing, wishing that I would wake up in the morning and find that SIDS had occurred. Guilt over these very dark things. Friends, please pray for me on this.

Anxiety. I feel that the depression has been under control, but now I have severe anxiety. I’m anxious that the depression will return. I have different times where I come under panic attacks. Please pray for healing from all of this.

I’m scheduled to go talk to a counselor next week. Please pray that God speaks through her. Please  pray that my times with her are a blessing.

Lastly, please pray that God is glorified through all of this. Satan has been trying to harm my baby since I became pregnant. With the car accident in my 8th week, to my high blood pressure throughout my pregnancy, and now these attacks with the depression. Please pray that this is turned around for something good. God’s name will be praised. I’m praising Him now for pulling me from this pit. No one but God could have done that.

Joy has been a word that God has constantly brought to my mind for the last 2 years. He told me to give it to Pen as her middle name early on in my pregnancy. Even then God knew what I was going to need reminded of. Joy. Through this season of depression, that is the word that He is still using.

” You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” Psalm 30:11

Katie

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6 comments

  1. I have already told you this privately, but wanted to post it here as well 🙂

    I love you so much, Katie. You are such an amazing woman, and you have been an amazing mom to Penelope from the moment she was conceived, even through the very worst of the terror of this depression. You are so brave to be this open and honest, and you continue to have my full support and prayers. I admire you so very much and am SO proud of you for staying the course. You and your sweet little family are going to have quite the testimony about God’s faithfulness trough all of this! 

  2. Jay Richardson · · Reply

    Katie, I am ubersensitive to the pain of others because of what the Lord has brought me (and is bringing me) through. So reading your post really helped me to connect with you. Your bravery in mentioning what you struggle with is so far beyond anything I have ever seen with anybody. It is evidence of the Lord blessing you by bringing it into the light. He will receive so much glory in your humility as you allow us to watch Him heal you, Katie. What a testimony of God’s working in and through your family and Rod too!!! Praise God for putting them into your life! This kind of honesty and truth being revealed in such a way can only come from God. The Richardson’s will be praying for you and we love you and your precious family.

  3. Michelle Richardson · · Reply

    Oh, sweet Katie. Thank you for sharing this! You are very bold in writing this and it has removed the power of your struggle away from Satan and handed it over to God and to the saints here on earth who will now be able to pray more specifically for your struggle.

    I, too, had PPD with my first child. I never thought of suicide, but I definitely did not feel love for her. I didn’t want to touch her or be near her at all. It did not help matters that she turned out to be an extremely fussy baby. She would cry nonstop all the time, day and night. I thought I might hurt her, so I left her alone in her swing all day long. I remember distinctly one day in particular that shocked me completely. I all of a sudden noticed that she wasn’t crying anymore, which never happened. And it was so quiet in the house. My very first thought was, “She must be dead.”, and I felt RELIEF!!! Turned out, she was only sleeping, but that moment of feeling relieved that my daughter might be dead really shook me! I became scared of my own self, afraid of what those feelings could turn into. Unfortunately, I was too ashamed to tell anyone about it, so I suffered in silence. I did not have family or a support system around me like you did, and Jay was working all the time, so he didn’t really know either. So I suffered in silence.
    Thankfully, by the grace of God alone, He brought me out of that, and I was able to start really enjoying being a mom for the first time since she was born. Rebekah was about 4 months old by that time. And, of course, now I absolutely adore her; she is my amazing little helper and 2nd mommy to my other littles.
    I’ve never had the depression with my other kids like I did with Rebekah, but I would get the weepy “baby blues” after they were all born, and it would always scare me that it could become PPD. But I am more open to admitting my feelings now, so I can get extra help when needed.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing your struggle and allowing me to share mine. If you ever want to talk about our common enemy, let me know. I’m always here. Love you, sweet sister. 🙂

  4. Anelle Ballew · · Reply

    Sweet Katy; How I love you my dear. I am so glad you came forth with courage and pen in hand and shared your thoughts as well as your needs for support through the prayers of your fellow-saints. Honey, Jesus had that old guilt nailed to the cross with Him at Calvary! You can rejoice over that any and all the time!
    I suffered severe depression after each birth of a child, and especially when both my girls were little. My mom and dad had to take them home for 6 months and care for them, while I was pregnant with David.
    Depression, and the time it chooses to knock us down – is no respector of persons. Neither is the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit…He belongs to and ministers to those who know Jesus – every moment. Remember that when you cannot pray for yourself, others who know and love you are praying for you.
    I have shared your fear of depression returning. God has always been actively present when things in my life have overwhelmed me; when I’ve been about to “give up”, or when life has seemed to “give up on me”…
    Journaling is not only a way to express what needs to come out of you, but a wonderful blessing to your kids in later years.
    We don’t get “do overs” because God wants to take our times of weakness and our frailties and show who He is with the strong and able presence of His Holy Spirit at work to deliver us and bring us forth into JOY AND PRAISE! That same Holy Spirit will draw others to pray for you, and will always be in the Holy of Holies to intercede for you with your Heavenly Father.
    God bless you sweetheart, as only He can. G’ma Nell

  5. Dear, Sweet Katie,
    You are so brave to post this and I am SURE have helped someone else in your quest to purge and ask for prayer (you’ve got it from me all the way!). I had PPD with both of my children-with Josiah-TWICE. All the thoughts you mention were familiar, I also had psychosis with Savannah. Although I tried to breastfeed for a few weeks with each it seemed to make it worse.
    Just know that you will be fine. Your rock and support will always be there (God) no matter what your hormones tell you! It’s chemical and will subside.
    I am off to California in two weeks to live. If you need to talk-call me!
    All God’s Blessings,
    Sue

  6. Beckey Tibbets · · Reply

    Katie, no need to feel guilt. A woman’s body, anyone’s body really, that matures has countless chemicals surging through it.

    With pregnancy comes a whole ‘nuther level of chemicals washing back and forth like ocean waves washing over you at the beach. You can’t control the effects of these hormones anymore than you can control the ocean waves.

    You have who and what you need – God, family, knowlegable healthcare personnel, medications to try to level out the ebbs and flows, and you knowing yourself.

    Your positive days/hours will start to outnumber the negative ones. God may be preparing you for when your sweet baby girl comes to you for help before and after she has given birth. Is it too soon to congratulate you on being a grandma 🙂

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