Monday, September 17, 2012

after

I think the word depression must be, maybe, the worst word in the world. Ever. Followed closely by moist and mucus. I've written this post, oh, about a thousand times. Seriously. Never pressing publish, never getting below about 25 paragraphs give or take, and never actually writing the word "depression". Because, man, to a happy and positive and seriously my glass is so overflowing, the table is not only soaked, but the wooden floors are probably warped at this point as well, the word "depression" just doesn't go. Doesn't fit. Only, in the hours and days following the arrival of our sweet little Sarah June, it did go. Fit like a glove made just for me...out of barbed wire or scratchy wool or something awful. Sweet Sarah June was born at 12:46pm on a Tuesday afternoon. By 6:00pm that very night, I knew that my nightmare "after" had begun.

In that time, I learned the true terror behind the word depression. The true darkness. And the true inability to believe that you will ever, ever, ever return to yourself. That you will ever walk beyond your front door step without having a panic attack. That you will ever grocery shop again. Or cope. Or go to the gym. Or love your sweet little angel-faced baby in that complete and total way that all of the "unbroken" moms talk about. Or want to be here on this earth ever again. Or stop wanting to punch a wall. Or stop looking at a dark corner in a hidden closet and think that might be a perfectly acceptable place to curl up and stay for the rest of your life. Or not dread the sun fading into night because that's when the really, really bad stuff would start to swirl and choke you until the only breathing you can get out is through sobs. Or ever feel anything happy again. So you stare at the razor and try to build up the courage. Or you look at the pills and think "I think that's how they do this in the movies, right...?" It all just feels so...so real. And so very permanent. You don't see that it's your hormones and you're experiencing something that people don't just cope with by being "better" or "stronger". You don't see that things will get better. You don't see because nothing is clear. You don't see because your mind is so completely taken over, you can hardly finish a complete thought let alone process something visual. You don't see because you don't want to believe that nothing in your line of vision is the same anymore. Everything had changed and I couldn't see the beauty of it because I couldn't see beyond the huge cloud surrounding me and pushing me down. I couldn't see how perfect and peaceful and wonderful and amazing our sweet little girl was. I couldn't see that she was literally every single thing we've prayed for in the past two years of trying to get pregnant.

I read an article on goop.com during one of my many late-night feedings with Sarah June where actress Bryce Howard talks about her postpartum depression. She says, "If I had been able to truthfully convey my ordeal with post-partum depression under the glare of those lights, I most likely would have said no words at all. I simply would have stared at the interviewer with an expression of deep, deep loss." I think that nothing can describe it better than that. It's empty. It's both everything and huge and all-consuming and completely and totally drained and empty and void at the same exact time. Everything and nothing. Blank. Indescribable. A huge, empty, and extremely deep loss.

But...and I don't know how to segway into this in an eloquent way...it just...it did get better. I did fill up again. I read Psalm 143 over and over and over again, I prayed to be surrounded by the Lord's peace and protection in order to sleep, I had a husband brave and graceful enough to call my doctor and help me get the right medicine, a husband brave and graceful enough to wrap me in his arms and stay there all day if he needed to be, I had a doctor who took me seriously, I had tremendous family support, I had friends that called and texted and wrote me letters without the expectation of me getting back to them ever, I had faith and a God who continued to hold my hand through all of this. It was the darkest time of my life...followed closely with the brightest and happiest. Because once you have again after you haven't had, once you can feel again after you haven't been able to, everything is filled with joy. Everything is happiness. My darkest time, my scariest time in life, was because I couldn't feel me. I couldn't feel anything. So when I could feel me again? Lord, was that a gift. To see how happy I am just being simple me. To see how happy I am with a little baby girl who smiles at me and snuggles with me and loves me so completely. To be able to love her back. To be able to truly see her. It's all just such a gift. And without the postpartum depression (there, I wrote the word again), maybe I would never know what a gift it all truly is.

I guess I'm finally pushing publish on this because I want people to know...I want some mama out there to be able to google "ppd" and maybe land on my blog and maybe find some comfort. To know that I felt the same things she might be feeling right then. To know that it did get better. To know that telling someone, anyone, is the smartest and bravest and most courageous thing they will ever do. They aren't broken. They aren't permanently damaged. I want them to know that they've been taken over, but they will and can take over again. That they will recognize themselves again and they will feel that complete and totally and gripping love for their baby that everyone talks about. They will. They can.

So maybe your opinion of me as the gal who makes the happy and uplifting jewelry has changed. Maybe you won't like that I had to take medicine to get better. Maybe you'll think I'm a bad mom. Maybe...but maybe you won't. I hope you won't. It just matters so much to me for people to know that everyone can be affected by this, that it's not just a normal part of pregnancy that you have to live with, but that it's something really serious that can be fought. That they can and should be brave and talk about it to someone. I know that talking to my Cute Husband and having him talk to my doctor, that praying earnestly and constantly to my amazing Lord and receiving His perfect grace made me, just me, the very best mom I could ever be.

So...here goes nothing. Publish.


40 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for writing this post. You are so honest. I have written a post like this about 50 times in my head and never actually did it. The funny thing is that for the past week I've been meaning to sit down and write one too because I finally feel ready to. Now yours gave me the extra push to write mine...so that moms know it's ok if the "after" isn't the amazing glow you thought it would be, but maybe a terrible darkness. Thanks for helping me feel bold enough to write about this myself. You are an awesome lady, friend, and mama. Love you Lol :)

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    1. love you, sweet mich. thanks so much for your constant support, friendship, and support!

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  2. sweet friend, i admire your courage and strength to share what you went through. i know that it will help someone. what an amazing Lord and Savior we serve :)
    xoxo,
    becky

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    1. sweet darlin, thank you so very much. and, yes, what an amazing Lord and Savior we serve! love you!

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  3. Lolly, this is such a brave post! I'm sorry that you had to go through such a thought time, but I'm glad to see that not only were you able to come out of it but alone strong enough to share your experience. Depression is tough, and it's easy to feel alone in your emotions. I hope at others fine comfort and hope in your post.

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    1. thank you so much, karen! i really appreciate your comment and support!

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  4. SO MUCH LOVE, hunny! I know exactly what you're talking about (although I didn't have the pp part to my d). It's almost impossible to describe to someone who hasn't been through the complete nothingness, but you did an amazing job! And God never turned us loose, even when I (maybe we) couldn't find Him. I'm so glad you're back and that you have the courage and grace to share this with everyone. Sarah June will be so proud to have such a brave and loving mom who did whatever it took to be there for her.

    I'd also like to completely agree with and add "groin" to the list of grossest words ever. Ew. ;)

    Mad love to you and your beautiful family. <3

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    1. thank you so much, carrie. i'm so sorry to hear that you've suffered as well. it's such a hard thing to go through, but so wonderful to know that no one is alone. you're so right - God never ever turned us loose! what a beautiful gift.

      holy cow - groin is definitely going on the worst words list!!!! such a good call.

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  5. Thank you for your courage to share this. May God give you renewed grace and joy with every passing day.

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  6. *tears* (of course). you are amazing friend. the Lord is so good. and thank you for sharing your story so openly and honestly. love you so much lol. you are SUCH a wonderful mama to that beautiful girl of yours.

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    1. thank you oh so much, sweet tiff. love you!!

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  7. Thank you for sharing. I haven't experienced ppd, but I have experienced depression and anxiety throughout my life and I have taken medicine to help. You are very correct that talking to someone about it is probably the best first step you can take. Congrats on your beautiful baby and good luck with overcoming the ppd and finding the joy in life. Please remember there is always someone out there to listen and to help.

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  8. Thank you so much, Leslie! I am, thank goodness, doing much much better and feel 100% again. I'm so thankful to have gotten through such a hard time in one piece. I'm so sorry to hear you've suffered from depression and anxiety in your life - I also hope you continue to seek out the joy in life and can overcome! Thanks again for your support!

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  9. wow...beautiful and touching...so brave of you to share <3

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  10. UGHHHHHHH I'm weeping. Weeping. I'm so proud of you, Lol. I know this was hard to write. Look how many people you're connecting with. You're brave. And I love you. And you're the first person who isn't my mom or my husband that I feel comfortable leaving my son with. That's how much trust and faith I have in you and your amazing mom-ness and your instincts and your awesomeness. Still crying.

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    1. aw, brett...thank you so much, sweetest friend. thank you for your encouragement and friendship. i can't wait to snuggle on and learn more about your adorable little simon today. thank you for trusting me with your heart treasure. love you!

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  11. Oh Lolly, I'm so sorry you had to go through this and so glad to hear that you have come out the other side. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Recently I thought that I was having a delayed onset PPD which ultimately turned out to be a side effect of a new birth control. Luckily it was short lived and was cured almost immediately by stopping the medication, but I now know what it means to have your hormones lie to you and make you feel like a different person. Being a mother isn't an easy job under the best of circumstances, let alone when your mind and emotions betray you. Thank you for being brave enough to share this. Sarah June is lucky to have you as her mama :)

    Remember that you don't have to be perfect, you just have to be you, real, wonderful, sweet, amazing you.

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet Carrie. So glad your sadness was short lived and was cured almost immediately! xoxo!!

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  12. Incredible testimony, lol. Your Father is surely saying, "well done, good and faithful servant." You're a wonderful mama & a beautiful daughter of the King! Thankful to call you a friend. Eager to see how He uses your hurt & healing for His kingdom. Love you!

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    1. Thanks so much, Marcy. Love you so much!

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  13. I'm so very sorry you had to go through that, Lolly. Writing and publishing this post took a lot of courage and strength and I applaud you for it. I'm so happy to hear that you have come out on the other side and you have so much support from family and friends. Sending lots of love and prayers your way. XOXO

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    1. Oh, Renee, so great to hear from you! And thank you so much for your love and prayers!! xoxo

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  14. Lolly! Tears reading this blog post. I admire your candid honesty and your ability to wholly put into words what you must have gone through, and I'm sure that's not even the half of it.

    I'm so happy you're stronger and happier everyday and able to enjoy your sweet baby girl. You are very blessed.

    Hugs and Prayers,
    Jessy

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    1. Thank you so much, Jessy!! Love you! xoxo, Lol

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  15. SO proud of you, girl. I know we talked at length about this, and I'm so glad you're on the mend. It's a terrible, terrible time for so many of us, and I know what it took to publish this. I'm positive just reading this has already helped someone who thought she was alone. Love you.

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    1. Thanks, sweet friend. And thank you for all of the chats and comfort you gave and continue to give! Love you.

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  16. Thank you so much for your honesty. It's hard with heavy things like this. It will be appreciated by all mama's who experience this. Glad you are on the other side!

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    1. Thank you, Stacy! I'm so embarrassed by how much time has passed between your comment and my response. Forgive me! I really do appreciate your encouragement.

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  17. While I've never had pp (as I've never had a child), I have had depression. It never ceases to amaze me how a tiny pill has saved my life.

    Don't know how you're feeling today, but just wanted to send you some encouragement, prayer, and good vibes. You're loved and needed, even if your mind can't take that in just now.

    Grace and peace...

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    1. How have I never responded to this? Thank you for your comment and encouragement.

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  18. So, I just now came across this and just want to say thank you. Thank you for saying what many can not, for making it real, and for your honesty. When one finds themself in the dark it can be so hard to see the light again but you have a done a amazing job and are an even better mommy for getting there.

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment. I'm not sure how I haven't responded until now - I'm terribly sorry! I really appreciate you encouragement and mama love.

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  19. very. well. said. Your words are spot on.
    Thank you

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to write those two simple words! I didn't realize.

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  20. I'm reading this again (as I clean out all my saved articles in Google Reader - sniff sniff), and I just want to reach through the computer and hug you right now. I'm so so so glad you wrote this.

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    1. xoxo, sweet Nole. I can't believe I haven't replied to this yet. I guess this is one of the many reasons I couldn't make it in the blogging world!

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  21. Thank you so much for sharing. I am terrified every day that I might never get back to myself. I have been lost for so long. I am so glad you found your way back.

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    1. Sweet mama, you WILL get back. It might take longer than you think (I know it did for me) and darkness might creep closer than you'd like from time-to-time, but I promise you'll come back and this isn't your fault and you're not a bad mommy.

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