There is nothing like the first time you see your newborn baby in your arms, nothing. There is also nothing like the grief you experience when you are pregnant one day and then not pregnant the next, nothing. And lastly, there is nothing more fearful than postpartum depression that doesn’t go away, or nothing more upsetting than a persistent sadness that doesn’t leave with postpartum depression, nothing.
These are incredibly heavy topics that I am covering in this article. I am aware they are hard to cover, but I have had a nudge from God for three years to write this because somewhere, somehow, it could help heal someone else who is really struggling. I know, because at one point I was also one of those women, in each of these categories.
I never knew what unconditional love and complete adoration felt like until I held my first-born, newborn baby girl. Of course, my husband loves me, and I love him, but the love you have for your child is in a different category and unless you are a parent, you wouldn’t understand.
I never knew grief like this, real and raw, in the depths of my soul, crying like part of me had died (because it felt like it did), unyielding sadness, until I lost our second baby, through a miscarriage a few months into my second pregnancy.
My daughter was 2 ½ years old at the time and although I was grateful for her and adored her, at the same time I was also devastated at the loss of a life that I would never get the privilege of knowing. I know this may be hard for some people to read, because trust me, as I write this, it’s hard not to cry when I bring myself back to these intense, emotional, real moments of my life.
After I experienced that miscarriage, I also experienced postpartum depression/anxiety that slowly crept into my body and mind. I wasn’t aware of this, however, and I wasn’t working at the time so when my daughter was sleeping at nap time, I had a lot of time to think – too much time, looking back on it. And I avoided, stuffed, suppressed my sadness, thinking that if I didn’t think or talk about it that it would go away.
Remember that I’m a counselor, so if I did this when something tragic happened, imagine how many women without my education in this field are doing the same thing? This is real life and I am here to tell you that postpartum depression /anxiety is a real thing, not made up.
I think many people get uncomfortable talking about their struggles, and always want to appear that they have it all together. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there, done that. And I will tell you that after that miscarriage, my life began to unravel. I eventually went to see a counselor/mentor whom I knew and trusted to work through my grief.
I also had to go on an anti-depressant/anxiety medication for the postpartum depression that one year later, had not gone away. That’s when I decided that I needed to go on a medication to help my brain get back to normal. I knew it wouldn’t be a forever thing, but I had to do what I needed to do, to get myself back to being the person that God knew I could and would be.
In the past three years since that miscarriage happened to me, I have talked to so many women who have experienced miscarriages plus postpartum depression/anxiety, and even after giving birth experienced anxiety or depression that wouldn’t go away, and every story I hear is heart-breaking. Some women just like me had to go to counseling, get on medication, etc.
I truly believe that you cannot lose a baby and just go on with your life like nothing happened. Yet sadly, that’s what a lot of people said to me when it happened and what they expected me to do. I’m sorry but, I fall under the HSP category, which stands for ‘highly sensitive personality.’ I have always known I was highly sensitive, but until I became an adult, did not understand the depths of it.
Sadly, HSP’s are more susceptible to anxiety and depression due to their sensitive nature. I have always told my husband that it’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s a blessing because I can deeply empathize with others, feel their pain, and usually connect/sit with them and help them to feel like they are not alone in their grief/sadness/pain.
Usually, this is because I have been there myself, but even when I was young, I was able to do this. I know this is a gift from God but if not taken care of properly, can be a curse.
This is where I feel the postpartum depression came in my case. I felt that loss so deeply, and I was so sad, ashamed, and guilty, and I wondered, what I had done wrong to deserve this happening to me.
Instead of turning to God when I lost that second baby, I turned away from him. I did not handle that season of my life well, and so my life became unbalanced. I focused all my energy, 24/7 on my daughter, and as most of you moms know, eventually you crash and burn.
The beauty of all of this is quite amazing, so if you’ve been sad reading this so far, know that it gets better! This turn of events sparked me to realize that as my daughter was turning four that year in the fall, I wanted to go back to work part-time. I knew after doing my own healing/recovery that helping others again was what God was asking me to do.
I was reading, writing, researching, praying, and everything I came to told me that He wanted me back counseling others again. He knew then what I didn’t know, that helping others is my calling, and his calling on my life. He knew that once I went back to work not only would I be healing and helping people live better lives, but I would begin to heal myself as well.
He used that pain, that deep, utter, awful dark time in my life, and turned it into purpose. He literally turned ashes into beauty by also helping us make the big move into a new home in an old area where I grew up, again bringing me back full circle to a new life of healing and recovery.
I have now been back at work for two years this coming fall, my anxiety and depression struggles are mostly gone (we all deal with stress/anxiety and depression on some level in everyday life), my daughter will be turning 6 yrs old and going to Kindergarten in the fall, and we are now trying again for another baby.
If we aren’t able to have another baby, my husband and I are open to and want to adopt. Either way, we want more children and know that God is faithful and it will be his timing. It has been the longest process of my life to get here, but I can tell you, that every step was worth it to get to where I am now. God has never failed me so far and I know that he never will.
He made a way when I believed there was no way, and he continues to bless me and my family every day. I am amazed that He loves me this much, this unconditionally, in a way that my own dad never loved me.
It’s probably why I’ve always had such a hard time understanding God’s love for me, but now I know. I asked on my knees daily, to help me move on from my grief, and he answered me in so many amazing ways I didn’t know were possible.
I will leave you with some inspiring quotes from the Bible, that deal with anxiety, depression, grief, and love…which I believe are all intertwined together.
God bless all of you reading this and if you need counseling for anything mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to contact me for an appointment.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. – Genesis 50:20
This is what the Lord says, “Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. But I will restore you to health, and heal your wounds,” declared the Lord, “because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.” – Jeremiah 30:12, 17
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. – Philippians 4:8.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. – 2 Corinthians 10:4
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
“Mother Daughter Love”, Courtesy of VaniaRaposo, Pixabay.com; CC0 License; “Family Newborn Baby”, Courtesy of smpratt90, Pixabay.com; CC0 License; “Russian Family Mom and Daughter”, Courtesy of nastya_gepp, Pixabay.com; CC0 License; “Mother Child Family”, Courtesy of thedanw, Pixabay.com; CC0 License