There has been a LONG hiatus on Grit & Grace. For a variety of reasons, but mostly…I’ve been struggling to find that happy place of writing again. After Daxton’s birth, my emotional and mental state took a beating. I just couldn’t find a way to put into words the heavy darkness I was feeling. Below is something I started writing back in December, so needless to say it’s been sitting in my drafts for quite some time. I think I’m ready to share it with you. You should know, it’s the ramblings of an overtired, depressed & exhausted new mom. I can’t read this back without crying…that dark place feels like an entire different lifetime but at the same time, it still feels very fresh.
It’s so funny…becoming a mom for the second time. You still have the same nerves & worries as the first time around, but you feel more confident in your mothering abilities. At least, I felt that way.
I had survived the newborn stage before, I could do it again.
I had managed to make it through all the sleepless nights, seemingly unscathed (or so I remember).
I made it through my maternity leave with Quincy with MOST of my sanity intact & I remember dreading going back to work & leaving my tiny little baby with anyone other than myself. (It should be noted, my sister, my own flesh & blood, is who I was leaving her with & I’ll never forget bawling the entire way to work the first day I left Quincy).
So needless to say, I felt much more prepared & ready to take on motherhood again. What I was NOT prepared for; the non-stop anxiety. The constant worry & fear that this incredibly sweet & simple life would be taken from me. It’s the devil, I know it is. He is constantly attacking my heart & my peace of mind. The amount of physical pain it’s caused me in these few weeks since Daxton has arrived has been debilitating, to say the least.
I know people who have experienced post-partum depression & post-partum anxiety, but I did not experience it with Quincy. In fact, I was so unsure of what was causing the pain in my chest, that for a day or two, I thought I was having mild heart attacks. One night while I was walking downstairs to feed Daxton in the middle of the night, I remember feeling such a tightness in my chest & I knew I needed to tell Jordan, just in case anything happened to me. I legit thought that I might keel over & die at any moment and I didn’t want Jordan or my family to be left saying, “We had no idea…we had no idea she was in pain!”
It was this constant, underlying tightness & physical pain in my chest. As if the entire world was sitting on top of me & I wasn’t able to take a full breath. I felt as if I might crack at any moment, that my life would just start to fall apart at the seams.
I think it was the evening before Thanksgiving that I was sitting in my parent’s room, feeding Daxton & talking to my mom. I started to tell her about this tightness in my chest & almost immediately I started crying. I couldn’t stop the tears from pouring down my face. I felt so helpless, so alone & so confused as to why I was feeling this way. I had just given birth to my son, my baby boy & I should be feeling so much joy & adoration. Instead, I was feeling constant dread & panic.
She encouraged me to continue to pray to the Lord for the kind of peace that only HE can provide & assured me she would have her prayer warrior friends praying for me as well.
The other day, I was home with Daxton & he was refusing to nap & I was so exhausted from fighting him. I sat with him in Quincy’s room, trying to feed him & rock him to sleep & I was sobbing. Out loud, sobbing. All I wanted was to go home. Which made no sense, since I was already home. But it wasn’t so much a physical place I longed for, but a mental & emotional “home” I desperately wanted. I feel so guilty even saying this, but the “home” I wanted to go back to, was before Daxton was born. When it was just Jordan, Quincy and I. We had our routine, we were the three musketeers & while Quincy tested our patience, it paled in comparison to the sleepless nights & endless newborn cries.
As soon as I felt that longing for “home” – I looked down at my baby boy & felt so much shame for wanting something that didn’t involve him. After all, I am HIS home. I am his comfort. He finds rest & peace when he’s with me. And how could I have this feeling, this horrible & selfish feeling of wanting to be somewhere he was not.
I sat down with Jordan that night & sobbed a lot more. I explained to him what I had been feeling & how awful it made me feel. How horrible of a mother must I be, if I was feeling this way? That’s when I knew I needed to take action. That’s when I knew these emotions I was experiencing were not your typical, post-partum blues. I was having serious anxiety and experiencing depressive episodes. What terrified me even more than the anxiety itself, was that this constant pain & nagging was going to rob me of sweet moments with my son. I did not & I do not want to lose out on enjoying my time at home with him. I do not want this pain, this fear and anxiety to steal the joy I have found in being Daxton’s mom.
It’s all very confusing & I’m not sure if I’m explaining this well or not, but it’s real & it’s what I’m experiencing. I started this blog to be real & honest. To share my experiences, the highs & the lows of life. This my friends is very very low for me. I absolutely hate feeling this way, this does not feel like me at all. I get so incredibly frustrated with myself for not being able to think logically, but this is what post-partum anxiety looks like for me. But I won’t let it define me & I won’t let it ruin this time I have with Daxton.
Wow, so so hard for me to relive such a hard time. But I know that if this is something I experienced, then other moms have felt the same way. What I learned, is that it’s okay to feel these feelings, it’s okay to worry and to feel overwhelmed. And it’s definitely okay to feel anxious or depressed BUT I cannot let those feelings take root in my soul. I need to feel them, acknowledge them & then immediately hand them over to God. They are his burden to carry.
“Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you.”