I remember being a new mom with two small children–a 3 year old and a newborn–way back when. Like in the 70’s. We were in a new home away from friends we’d lived with and worked with or 7 years (it was the days of Christian community living) and I felt particularly alone.
We had found a church to be part of. A couple of families reached out and embraced us, but I did not have my moorings yet in this new world of parenting and relationships. I found myself experiencing anxiety attacks and fighting bouts of depression. I took a few trips to the ER when my heartbeat raced, only to be declared ‘fine’ and told to go home and not worry (after I was given a Valium.)
I felt isolated even on Sunday mornings in a crowd of 600 people in church. The aloneness is hard to describe….I remember standing at my kitchen sink with 4 small children at my feet (2 were visiting), arguing over toys and I just lost it. It was like my mind left the room.
None of the women and new moms I knew talked about things like that then; it was a very lonely time. We were too busy pretending to be okay–super Christians.
My own battle came in telling myself, “Christians don’t get depressed. What’s the matter with you?”
Looking back on it I know I was experiencing a tremendous amount of grief at the loss of my support system and friends whom I had been so close to for so many years. I was probably also dealing with a hormonal imbalance as well, but doctors didn’t talk about things like that then.
And besides, Christians don’t get depressed. (Clearly none of us were reading the Psalms very carefully at the time.)
Some things never change. Moms still have babies and moms still get depressed, even tho’ they should be overcome with joy.
Fast forward to the present day. The stigma of post partum depression has lessened considerably, but it many Christian circles it may still be frowned on.
These thoughts could be unspoken or voiced, but I sense in many circles the judgment still remains.
Thank God for brave writers, people like my friend Kimberlee Conway Ireton, who decided to write
|Kimberlee & I, laughing in her backyard|
It’s about time.
There is such a need for us to speak to this struggle of the reality of depression and anxiety after women have children. Some things just get out of whack. And sometimes the only way to fix them is with medical help and maybe a pill.
There’s nothing wrong with that–in fact there’s everything right about that.
People who walk with Jesus can bring freedom to others when they talk about their real struggles with real life. And how Jesus is there in the middle of it all. Even when you have 4 children and live in an 800 sq. foot house. And home school. Like Kimberlee.
Please look for ‘Cracking Up’ soon locally and via Amazon. Recommend it to your friends–new moms, second time moms, pastors, counselors. Order a copy for yourself (or two–give one away).
Please help get the word out. Moms like Kimberlee will thank you.
We’ve a little underground marketing going on and we’d like to get the word out. Thank you.
Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee for Tell His Story
who agrees this story was one worth telling. 🙂