Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jesus Love Me, THIS I know!

A little over a year ago, I delivered my third child (my second live birth), and fell almost instantly into the abyss of post partum depression. I'd hear of this horrible, dark, emotional valley where women were "emotionally unstable," and even some couldn't stand to be around the precious baby that they had just delivered. I couldn't fathom not whole-heartedly loving that precious little life and feeling giddy over the baby's presence. But then, one day, I woke up in that same dark valley...only I didn't realize it until months later.

I brought my second daughter home from the hospital ready to take on the challenge of parenting a toddler and caring for my newborn babe. However, this emotional high seemed to catch the tail wind of a storm, and was blown far, far away from me. Two days after I was released from the hospital, my mother (who had been at my house for three weeks because my stubborn little girl didn't want to come out) had to return home. My husband had already returned to work, and I found myself home alone with a four day old baby and a almost two-year-old who went from being Madame Independence to Madame Dependence. An my new baby was not as easy going as her big sister had been! On top of this, I had four absessed wisdom teeth that were causing extreme pain, and all I could focus on was my own misery. I hated changing diapers, I hated fixing meals, I hated caring for my family, and the one thing I would have never believe possible--I felt I hated my children. I almost cringe just thinking those words. At my two week check up with my midwife I shared with her the truth of how I was feeling, hoping that by confessing these emotions, they would go away. She "lectured" me on finding time for myself (something mommies definitely don't get, especially mommies of such young children!), and she told me to find time alone for just me and my husband. Following this appointment, I went over to the dentist to have all four wisdom teeth extracted (kids in tow!). Now I had even more reason to be miserable.
I praise the Lord that I have always been a level-headed person who has been able to act outside of my emotions. Not to say that I always do. But through this time of depression, I was able to talk to myself with logic and keep myself going. Otherwise, I'm afraid I would have caused myself or my children harm just by being neglectful.
My eldest longed for Mommy to be the same, attentive Mommy that she'd always known, and my youngest nursed and cried all the time. Neither one of them were good sleepers. It didn't help here, that I didn't care to make meals for myself, so I was eating a proper diet for breastfeeding around the clock. So that just added to my exhaustion.
There were many days, during nap times and even at bed time, that I would be holding both of my girls in my arms, each screaming because she did not want to go to sleep, and me crying because I was SO tired and stressed, and I just wanted someone to care for me. (Not that my husband didn't, but remember I was in a well of self-pity, I didn't think he cared.) As I had always done, I one day started to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to comfort and calm my girls. But this time it was different. This time I couldn't finish the song. How could I sing these words when I felt so unloved and abandoned. My thoughts and emotions ran the gamut. "Jesus doesn't love me. If He cared even a little, He wouldn't make me go through this torture. He'd help them go to sleep. He'd let me go to sleep. He'd keep the baby from being so fussy all the time. Jesus doesn't love me!" And thus started a long road of anger and bitterness.
The postpartum depression phase subsided somewhere between 12 and 14 weeks postpartum. I remember thinking how thankful I was that I didn't have to go back to work like so many around me since I was just starting to find my footing and settle in to my new phase of motherhood. But I still struggled, and every time I felt tension between me and my kids, or between me and my husband, I blamed God. Through this, I felt SO alone. No one knew except my mother. I had no friends to talk it out with. The few adults that I did talk to, I wasn't comfortable enough with to tell them the truth. There were a few times where, in desperation for someone to help me, I dropped hints to people hoping they would catch on, but no one ever did. I know it's my fault for not just asking out right.
Well, a few months ago, I started getting my spiritual life back on track. I'm definitely still not where I should be, but I'm not angry and bitter anymore either.
God has been SO good to our family over the last year. He's taught us some hard lessons, but I think we're learning from them. The other night I was singing "Jesus Loves Me" to my youngest daughter just before laying her down for the night. As I sang, she rubbed my face with her tiny little hands, cuddled herself up against me, and kissed me about ever five seconds. My heart was ready to burst with love for her and how precious she is. She definitely wasn't an easy baby, but she is such an easy-going and joyous baby now. I was overwhelmed with emotion as I sang to her and thought, "Just her sweetness, and the two beautiful blessings I have is proof that Jesus loves me." As I thought that, I remembered back to the wretched thoughts I had a year ago while singing the same song. What a wonderful, and forgiving God I have! Jesus DOES love me, and the Bible tells me so. That should have been enough to comfort me last year, but I chose to ignore that fact. But God, in His graciousness, has shown me His love through my children. I can now sing, "Jesus me, this I know." My prayer is that, should I ever experience again the same emotional roller coaster that I did last year, that I will remember this lesson, and remember that no matter what, Jesus loves me!


Clueless_Mama said...

This was a very beautiful post. I know first hand that it can sometimes be hard to keep positive and remember that Jesus loves us no matter what. I am so glad that you are in a good place. I will pray that you continue to have joy in your life. Have a terrific week.

1 comment:

  1. After my second was born, I had some of those same thoughts about God. I would pray for the baby to let me sleep, and, when she didn't would think, "God is not merciful." Thankfully, my theologian husband did not lecture me for such sacrilegious thoughts but patiently reminded me that sleep deprivation has powerful effects.

    After my first was born, one night when she was keeping me up (she was not a good sleeper as a newborn), I looked at her and thought "I hate you." Thankfully, I had read that that kind of thought is not uncommon and is often part of normal baby blues.

    I really wish more women would be honest about how difficult those first few week/months are. I think most of us are too afraid to admit we are struggling emotionally and physically because we don't know if we are normal. "What if I'm the only one who isn't handling this with ease? I don't want anyone else to think I'm a bad mother," we think. The sad fact is, I think most people probably feel that way, so, we all need each other, but no one wants to make the first move of honesty. (I have a feeling many young brides feel that a particular marital activity doesn't quite meet up to their expectations either, but who wants to be the first to admit that? :P )