In the weeks after my daughter was born the anxiety, mood swings, and exhaustion were different than the mild “baby blues” I’d had with my first child. I didn’t know what to call it at the time, I just knew I was sinking into a very dark place and normal activities became so hard that sometimes I had to remind myself just to breathe. I started having panic attacks and I cried often. I was experiencing Postpartum Depression.
Those first depressing weeks turned into months of overwhelming hopelessness. I love my children so much and I never had thoughts of harming them, but I did have occasional thoughts of running away. The thing about PPD is that you don’t always think rationally. I felt like I was drowning and didn’t know how to come up for air.
My husband tried to help but he was in school at the time so when he was home he was studying. That meant much of the care-giving for both an infant and a toddler fell to me. I didn’t have much of a support system in the way of friends or family where we were living.
Back then, Postpartum Depression wasn’t talked about much, so I didn’t know why it was so hard to function. I carried a heavy weight of guilt over not being able to “handle” being a mom. I thought it was just something wrong with me. I was ashamed to ask for help and I was afraid I might feel like that forever.
Thankfully it didn’t last forever, though. When my daughter was almost a year old we moved to a place close to family and friends. With a combination of support from others, counseling and medication, I finally began to feel “normal” again. Hope and joy slowly returned and…the rest is history as they say.
Help for a friend with Postpartum Depression
If someone you are close to is suffering from Postpartum Depression, here are a few ways to help:
- Sit and listen to her. Just validating her feelings can make her feel better.
- Ask her how you can help. If she doesn’t know, be ready with suggestions.
- Offer to watch the child(ren) so she can can go somewhere alone, or just take a long nap or bath.
- Suggest that she visit her doctor or counselor for help.
- Take a meal. She (and her family) will appreciate it.
- Encourage her husband to be as understanding and helpful as possible.
- Remind her that with some support, in time she will feel better.
- Pray for her consistently. Text encouragement frequently.
Postpartum Depression Articles
A Christian’s Journey Through Postpartum Depression, GracetoSoar.com
In The Valley of Postpartum Depression, Christianity Today
Postpartum Depression and the Christian, The Gospel Coalition
Help for Your Postpartum Depression
If you are experiencing PPD, I want to encourage you. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help from a friend or family member. If you have thoughts about hurting yourself or your children, seek professional help right away. If you want to connect with someone who has walked through this season, feel free to email me at [email protected]. I’d be glad to listen.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10