Monday, June 15, 2015

Postpartum Depression, the Bible, & Discipleship

It's no wonder women struggle with postpartum depression. Considering hormonal changes, the sudden change of day-to-day life, the overwhelming responsibility that consumes mom's as they care for a child that's totally dependent on us for everything, sleep deprivation, &etc.etc. I'm surprised only 20% of new mommy's experience it (source). I know of at least four mommy's that experienced different levels of depression, one of them being me. I'd say my "case" was mild, but I know had I addressed my sadness, irritability, crying, and exhaustion with a doctor I would've been diagnosed with postpartum depression. If you've been hanging out with me here you'll have read Briella Bean's birth story, my hemorrhaging experience afterwards, my baby's colic, and my year long struggle with the outcome. All things considered, I'm not surprised I struggled!

I say "struggle" lightly. I had good days and I had bad days, but each day was met with the same effective "treatment". It was not simple, some days were not fun, but it was a learning process unlike any other. 

Let me start from the beginning: as I was checking out of the hospital one of the things they want to educate you on is postpartum depression. I declined with the explanation, "I have the Bible for that." Although I received strange looks galore, I was dead serious. I wasn't interested in the counseling hoopla that tries to empower young women in taking away feelings of guilt or sadness on their own, I wasn't interested in anti-depressants, and I definitely was not at all interested in the worldly advice on how to solve problems. 

I have the Bible for all of that.

The more I read the Bible the more I learn that it's the power of the Holy Spirit working in me that takes away those feelings of guilt or sadness; that because of my faith in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross I can give each feeling to Him and let Him do the work. The more I read the Bible the more I realize that self empowerment is not helpful, it's reliance on the Holy Spirit and the work He is constantly accomplishing within me that is. The more I read the Bible the more the Holy Spirit enlightened the eyes of my heart to HIS solutions on how to relieve anxiety, worry, and sadness. And replace it with hope, faith, and joy. 

Using the Bible as my source for encouragement (as I still do, hence the present tense explanation in the previous paragraph) was only the beginning of my healing. God has a specific design in mind for His church. One of the major components of my healing was discipleship. You have heard me talk endlessly about the effect of discipleship and God's Word in my life over the last few years, so I have two things I want to accomplish from here:
  1. I want to show you what the Bible says about worry, anxiety, and sadness and then how God's Word allows you to replace it with hope, faith and joy. 
  2. Share someone else's testimony who was directly affected by postpartum depression and the effectiveness of God's Word and discipleship in her life.
Over the next few days this will be the topic on my blog in hopes of helping other Christian mommy's wanting to fully rely on God and strengthen faith in His incredible healing power found only in His Word.

My Bible is tattered and torn as a result of that first year of motherhood. I've often heard it said that a Bible falling apart usually belongs to a person who isn't.

I couldn't agree more.

(Side note: sometimes anti-depressants are a necessary component to aid in healing. I know women who benefited from doctor prescribed medicine. I avoid medication if possible and I have two specific stories where it was avoided because we relied heavily on prayer and God. This post exists to give hope and encouragement to all mommy's who are struggling with postpartum depression and pointing them to the only true source of healing.)

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