Evalyn’s first birthday is fast approaching (October 11th)! I know that every Mom says this but it really is true: I can’t believe how quickly it went by. I never thought I would be able to say that because when she was first born time seemed to be a burden to me: I was ill and miserable and I didn’t want to deal with anything. But now that I am not ill/miserable, I can honestly say that it was one of the best years of my life. Having a child is like no other experience; once healing comes, once you are healthy, and once you are able to enjoy your days I firmly believe you will feel this way too. I actually have a lot of things on my mind today that I want to share so I am going to try to limit myself on what I share so that I don’t get long winded.
1) Don’t let anyone (ANYONE) tell you that what you are doing is not enough. Let me just be honest: there is always going to be someone who does more than you and handles more on their plate than you. Everyone has different tolerances for the things going on in their lives and it’s the way that God meant us to be; if we were all constantly on the go it would be a chaotic mess! If we were all laid-back people then nothing would ever get done (because “hey, it can get done tomorrow!” am-i-right?). But I know for my life as a woman who is a wife, a mother, a daughter, a student, and many other things it can feel like what you’re doing is not up to par and it has a way of making us feeling inferior. My friend, I want to tell you this from the deepest part of my heart: you are amazing. It doesn’t matter if you have a billion things on your plate or if you have just a few: what you do is amazing! If you are content with your life, if you are happy with the way things are, then don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Post-partum depression can make us feel less valuable, less purposeful because we are dealing with our own health– but that is not the case. We are dealing with our health; but we are dealing with the health of our families! Mothers are the heart of the family. You are invaluable. So get healthy, be healthy, stay healthy– whatever you have to do for your family and know that post-partum depression and anxiety doesn’t define you, in the midst of the storm and afterwards.
2)Mental illness is a touche topic. The cold hard truth is that there will be some people who no matter how much you express what you went through or how much it changed you, will never understand. You and I can argue, defend, and explain things until we are blue in the face but mental illness is one of those things that until it touches someone personally, is just not understandable. I’m learning and have learned through my healing process that it’s okay to just let go. Someone might say something hurtful or even uneducated regarding post-partum depression… But don’t let that dig into your soul. You know you. You know your Heavenly Father. You know what you went through and they never will– they aren’t you! So just let it be, remember to thank God for your experiences, your healing, and your life because walking through the waters of mental illness is something not everyone will experience. It changes you… If you allow it, it can change you for the better.
3) I want to really stress how important I believe it is to find someone or many people who do understand what you went through. Even if it’s just a phone friendship or email or an online community. Mental illness is isolating– something people don’t grasp– and even the most good intention-ed person can make you feel awful without meaning to. But being able to vent and express your experiences is a vital part of healing. To be able to hear “Oh honey, it’s okay. I felt that way too!” or “Just ignore it, you and I both know that’s not true” can really make all the difference. I really encourage you to find a safe place to just be you. (Note: I am available anytime through my Contact Me page if you would like to get in touch with me)
I just want to share that I wish I could be there with you right now– I wish I could hug you and make you a cup of hot chocolate and tell you all of the things that are still in my heart about my experiences. Sometimes I feel alone– I feel like I am standing in an empty cave shouting and no one hears me. But I know you’re out there and I know that God gave me these tools and experiences for a purpose: to be here for you. I may never see your face or talk to you in person or even chat online, but if you are reading this and it is helping you walk through your post-partum depression then you should know that it many ways, I feel that you and I are in a special sisterhood. A sisterhood based on Christ, on love, and on grace. I hope that this week finds you well, and if you are still walking through the waters of post-partum depression and anxiety I hope that you have some moments of heavenly peace and rest.