I sat down. I dug in.

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Several of you have asked for an update to this post and this one, and I figured Hadassah Lee’s turning one just might call for one. I’m grateful for you women who have spoken up and made sharing this piece of my story absolutely worth it.

I wept a lot as her birthday neared. I felt a frustration rise up, a sort of indignation, when people asked me why I was sad about my baby turning one. She’s it, y’all. She’s the last. And she’s the first baby I’ve ever looked at with confidence. Staring at her face got me through a lot of hard days and sleepless nights. I can do this. I’m doing this. I’m having a good time doing this.

I haven’t shared a lot of the daily dirt on my postpartum struggles, mostly because it sounds like a lot of defensive babbling. I still stand by my claim that I never suffered from depression. To this day, I haven’t felt anything remotely like hopelessness or despair. I’ve been there before, and I remember what it felt like. But this was different than that. Different from the baby blues, too. This was like, anxiety on steroids. Rage that made me feel other-worldly. Never in my life have I felt so out of control as I did during those long weeks last winter. There was a lot of calm calm BOOM happening. I’d go from folding laundry to slamming a door and screaming into my pillow. I found it difficult to enjoy my family, difficult to enjoy being home at all. I felt like a stranger, like something was wrong with me. Everyone else in my house seemed to know the secret recipe for contentment. Meanwhile, I was running sweaty, panicky laps around the house trying to find it. I saw a counselor a few times, which helped. I gave in to the joy when it overtook me, which helped too.

But what helped even more? I dug in. I didn’t run from it, or smile it away, or convince myself that it would pass. I didn’t even fully understand what it was, but I knew I had to deal with it head-on. There is no muscling our way out of seasons like these. So I quit fighting and I sat down. I dug in.

I dug into the Word. I read verses that spoke of hope and eternal perspective, and the fog began to clear. I dug into my marriage. I reached out to my husband each time I felt myself slipping into a rage. He asked good questions and volunteered sound advice, and the fog began to clear. I dug into my role as a mother, as shaky as it felt. I frenzy-cleaned less and snuggled more, and I tried to celebrate the chaos. I allowed myself to love them with the little oomph I had left, and the fog began to clear.

Things are still hazy around here. I’m not “back to normal” by a long shot. But I’m not sure there is some old version of normal to which I need to aspire. Because those things I listed above? Apparently, they’re all part of what we call healthy living. So maybe it’s time to sit down and dig in, on the regular.

10 thoughts on “I sat down. I dug in.”

  1. Thank you. What a beautiful, heartfelt, encouraging piece. Just 7 weeks into my sweet third and last baby, the anxiety and rage are making their way to the surface. Thank you for the glimpse of hope!

    1. If it’s your last, try to soak that up! I know how that feels, for sure. Proud of you for speaking up, too.

  2. I have been following your blog for awhile now, and just want to thank you for being so honest in your writing. I’m not a mother nor do I have my own family, but I struggle with some of the same things you do. Accepting different seasons in life and the “regular” has been difficult for me recently. It is encouraging and overwhelmingly reassuring to hear that I’m not alone even though our seasons are different. Thank you.

    1. I absolutely love hearing from women like you. I love it when I meet someone in a completely different life stage and yet, we walk the same roads. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I love your blog and your insights on life. I did want to offer up one cautionary word…I have suffered from situational depression twice in my life (not related to postpartum, but that doesn’t really matter here). The first time, it was hopelessness and despair. The second time, however, it presented as anger and anxiety — I was so short tempered!!. And I fought it for awhile before I finally gave in and admitted that I was depressed — I kept saying “but I’m not sad. I’ve been depressed before, and this is not how it felt” But once I got a proper diagnosis and treatment, I was able to beat it very quickly. I’m not saying this to criticize your approach by digging in…but I saw myself in your words, and just wanted to share my story.

    1. No caution needed… I’m fully embracing this is PPD. It’s why I use the label! Just wanted to engage women on the idea that sometimes it takes on other forms and looks a little different than what we might expect!

  4. I am so in this right now. My little one is just about 5 months and I am oh so in this place. Thanks for sharing a little about it.

    1. Hang on, mama! Or get help. Whatever you need. Just know that you’re doing a great work!

  5. Hi….
    I randomly found your blog… And find myself also wanting to note that PPD does in fact portray in MANY women as anxiety and or rage!!! For some women it can get out of control to the point of hurting oneself or their baby. We have this preconceived idea that Post Partum Depression is the same as other depressions…. It’s Not! You are indeed dealing with PPD!!!
    I have been dealing with it in the same ways as you for 5 years on and off now.. After babies #2, #3 and #4. It manifests in me as RAGE and then anxiety. Slamming doors, yelling, screaming, banging walls, completely feeling out if control! I needed to go on medication for it. Being a Christian or not it didn’t matter. My body needed the medications to balance itself out again. I just hope that women who read this blog and read that you can dig deep and deal with it yourself don’t feel bad about themselves if they need help!!!! It’s ok to need counselling or
    medication!
    I hope and pray you feel like you are on top of the rage and can feel free of the haze soon!!

    1. Again, I don’t want to sound defensive here. I totally agree with you. This is a form of PPD. It’s why I tag it as such and speak of it that way. I’m just clarifying that for some women, it doesn’t manifest in sadness and our typical views of depression. I think it’s important to discuss all of the aspects of it, for women who might experience other forms and feel confused by it or deny it entirely! Thanks for your story. It’s super encouraging!

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