This is a very hard post for me to write. Because this is so personal... and I wasn't going to write anything about this but as I was vacuuming today I was thinking about everything that has happened and I felt compelled to write about my experiences and my thoughts on the whole thing.
I was told once that the feelings of self doubt and worthlessness was the adversary working hard against you. Satan is very real, and he wants so badly to cause us to fall. It's not his mission to make us fail so completely though, it is his goal to make us not as worthy as we could be. If we are worthy to enter the Celestial Kingdom, he will work so hard and be content if we enter a lesser kingdom. In a talk by Richard G. Scott in the April 2000 General Conference he issued this statement: "Satan has unleashed a seductive campaign to undermine the sanctity of
womanhood, to deceive the daughters of God and divert them from their
divine destiny. He well knows women are the compassionate,
self-sacrificing, loving power that binds together the human family."
The compassionate, self-sacrificing, loving power that binds together the human family. Think about that statement for a moment; my favorite part is the last bit, that mothers bind together the human family. Satan knows how important mothers are in the home, where fathers are the patriarch and leader of the home, mothers are the ones that make sure the rules of the patriarch are followed. We bind together the human family, so in a way, what I'm about to talk about makes sense.
85% of mothers experience baby blues after their baby is born, this can last one to three weeks after delivery. When a mother's baby blues last longer or start up after this amount of time and before six months it is considered post partum depression, which happens in about 25% of new mothers. I didn't get baby blues, but after I had to stop breastfeeding because of my school schedule, I developed post partum depression. It started off so inconspicuously, a day or two out of the week, I would wake up and not want to do anything that day. Then gradually it started getting worse, and I started gaining weight and getting more and more irritable; these symptoms I chalked up to the birth control I was put on. But then I would wake up and already be at a low-point, and I realized that something was wrong. I didn't want to say anything to anybody because we were studying depression in my Mental Health class, and so I thought that I could "fix" myself. I tried so hard to be ok, but I was feeling more and more worthless, and I felt like I wasn't a good mother, I wasn't a good wife, I wasn't a good daughter. Even when my own mother would tell me how proud she and my dad were of me, I wouldn't hear the good. The voice in my mind would remind me of all the things that I've done to make them disappointed, or remind me of what I've completely failed at. I would hear about the good, but all I could think about was the bad. I would play with my son, and take care of him, and I could see what a perfect little creature he is, and how he is such a blessing in our lives, but that voice in my head would tell me how I was a bad mom, and how I would never be able to take care of him fully, and how I wasn't good enough because I hadn't finished school and I couldn't stay home and take care of him properly, and how I wasn't doing the absolute best for him because I wasn't breastfeeding him anymore. And I would sit with Jon, and I started pushing him away because I hadn't lost my baby weight and I felt like I was completely unattractive, and how I was a horrible wife because I wasn't making sure the house was clean, or the dishes were done or my house was in order. I was waking up at a low point every day, I was going to bed at a low point every night, I was to the point where I would go to bed at night and I didn't want to wake up the next morning. I didn't care about my well-being. I started to have thoughts that the lives of every one around me would be better if I weren't in it. I knew that Liam would be taken care of by Jon and my mom, and so I wasn't concerned with myself. This has been my battle for the past four months. The anxiety in our home had gotten to an all time high and finally Jon and I had an argument that made me realize that I wasn't doing a very good job at hiding my depression and hiding my problem. So I finally went to the doctor and got help. Liam was never in danger because I wasn't far enough in my depression to cause him harm, but I was in danger of myself. And that scared me. This was the one thing that I was most terrified for, I knew that I could handle labor, delivery and recovery; I was just scared that I wouldn't have control over my mind and emotions.
It's been a week since I got help and I am doing better. My mother and I were talking and she told me about how in Relief Society they were talking about JOY and each letter of the word. J is for Jesus and how in him we find true joy. O is for Others, and by serving others we find joy. Y is yourself, because if you are not taken care of, you cannot take care of others. M. Russel Ballard said, "I surely know that there is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood". From what I know of depression from an academic view and personal view is that it affects your whole persona. It is a whole feeling of hopelessness, of self doubt, of worthlessness, and feeling as though you just are not worthy of anyone's love. From what I know of the adversary is that these are all tools that he uses to make a person feel less worthy of God's eternal love for us. A love that only a parent can truly understand, I didn't understand that love until I held my baby boy in my arms for the first time. Post Partum Depression to me is the adversaries way of trying to inch his way into a home. If he can break the mother, then he can break the home, because a mother's love is what binds the human family together. The number of women who get PPD has gone up dramatically in the past twenty years and I think it's just proof that the Saviour's coming is so close, because Satan is working so hard against families and he's working so hard to break the family up. I am so incredibly grateful that I have the knowledge that I have that families are forever and that we are sealed together. I don't know what I would do without my family. Every single member of my family has taught me something and has been an example to me. I am so grateful that I know the power and the completeness of the love of my Saviour, Jesus Christ and of my Heavenly Father and Mother. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a mother and to start my own little eternal family with my best friend. Jon is more than I could ever hope for in an eternal companion and I am so glad that he and I have been sealed together. I am thankful for my son, Liam is such a sweet spirit that fills our lives with pure joy. He is the perfect first child and I hope that he never loses the traits that I see in him already.
This post was difficult to write but I hope that someone out there who reads my words will be able to get help if they are struggling. Like I said earlier, I wasn't going to write about my experience, I wasn't really going to tell anybody about it. But I felt like I needed to write it down, and the thoughts and words that I've written have just flowed to me. So I'm praying that the person who needs this will read it and get the help that they need because I know that I wrote this partly for me and partly for them.