Keeping It Real

Dealing with everything emotionally is tough. I never truly understood that a woman could go into complete emotional chaos until I gave birth to Michael. Each day is a challenge for me. Each day is focusing on going one step at a time, not because I’m tired (even though I am), but because I can easily slip into spiraling down into anxiety and some depression.

I never was prone to depression. There was once in my teenage years when I dealt with mild depression for about 6 weeks, but I snapped out of it when I realized that I could choose to be better. Since then I only battled against the typical roller coaster a woman calls her emotions, which frankly, I don’t feel were that bad.

During pregnancy, I read and heard that the emotions go through major changes due to the wonderful pregnancy hormones. It would be no surprise if I suddenly broke down and cried over a tv show (I did that when I was emotionally stable, so no change there) or cried over a silly little song. However, I wasn’t too much more emotional than I was before, and sailed on through my pregnancy without any major hiccups. (I did have my moments of reacting more strongly to things during pregnancy, but it wasn’t as often as I thought it’d be.)

Postpartum depression was something they warned us about. Women who remain as emotional as they are the first two weeks after giving birth are possible candidates for the depression. I thought I’d be fine. But that first week was horrendous. I feared with everything in me that I was on the road to postpartum depression, but exactly a week after Michael was born it let up.

Now, that being said, every night it hits me again. Well, almost every night. I’m starting to get breaks from it, depending on what’s going on. On a typical day — Adam comes home, Michael is trying to nap, I’m getting ready to start dinner — it starts to settle in. One would think that doing something that was routine before and getting back into it would actually help, but for some reason it doesn’t. During these moments I get stressed quickly, I tense up, and most of the time just want to start crying. And if I’m taking care of Michael at that time, he senses my stress levels rise and decides to help it rise even higher.

There are many causes to this that I can start working on. One: it’s the evening, the end of my day. The sun is setting making it darker in our house. My first idea is to keep the lights on. Though this isn’t so great for saving those pennies on electricity, it will aid in keeping me from feeling the darkness. (I used to not be affected by night, but in fact enjoyed it because of its intrigue.) Two: I am tired. I have to face it — I’m not superwoman and I won’t be supermom. A nap just might be mandatory if that is going to help ease my stress. Three: Accept the fact that healing from a 3rd degree tear will take a long time. It’s crazy how many times I get so frustrated over the healing process. It’s unhealthy. A wound is a wound. I can’t treat it like something that shouldn’t affect my daily life. I need to let my body heal from the tear and from the trauma of childbirth. Four: Where have I centered myself? How long has it been since I’ve totally relied on God to provide for me?

This last thing bears much consideration. To me, my life is in complete chaos; I can’t control it, I feel like a failure and a wuss, and it angers me so much that I feel that way. So what do I do to figure this out, to make sense of my emotions? I cry, go to Adam and cry, and look for things to make me feel better. But what is truly missing? My spiritual life has been put on hold. I see God’s hand in the birth of our child, and I see Him still working around me. But I’m not going to Him to find the strength I need, the patience to heal, and the endurance through the emotional evenings. I’m looking for something to fix it, but in reality, I need to go to God so He can give me what I need to get through it. And that is what I believe is the main cause for my “out of control” feeling. Once I rely and rest on God’s tools to get me through, I can let these things happen and pass in their time.

This morning I downloaded some devotional apps to my phone so that while I am feeding Michael — especially at night and when I’m feeling the blues again — I can read them, read some scripture, and get some encouragement. Already it’s working. This morning I read a devotional, listened to two broadcasts (one from Grace To You and one from HarborPointe), read out loud two chapters from the Bible to Michael, all the while snuggling with my little boy. Though it took up time this morning that could have been towards housework or college, it was relaxing and a first step towards feeling that peace I desperately need.

I need to keep my priorities in order. That is the main key. I didn’t realize until today that God and my relationship with Him had dropped to being less important than even housework and college. That is a sure way to send someone into chaos.

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