I don’t recall having always been an extremely anxious person. Nervous at times, sure, and all the normal anxieties following a scary movie.
But then, motherhood.
I’ve read so many blogs about this “postpartum anxiety” (PPA) subject, and quite frankly, I’m disappointed with the fact that until a few months ago, I had never even heard it brought up in conversation. Like, guys, this is a big deal. Why aren’t we talking about it?!
Some things that I’ve learned:
I’m not the only one.
Anyone can empathize with you, but moms who don’t deal with PPA don’t get it.
I struggle with being envious of moms who don’t deal with PPA.
I would be completely and utterly LOST without the HOPE I have in Jesus Christ.
God’s power is made perfect in my weakness. I HAVE to trust Him or I will literally go crazy.
Maybe you get it. Maybe you don’t. But here’s how it is.
It’s been a long day, and you’re spent, and just so done. You’re struggling to get the kids in bed. The big one is tucked in and drifting to sleep. You nurse the baby to sleep and all of a sudden the cares of the day are gone. The only thing that feels right is to sit there with your sleeping baby keeping them safe. You hug, kiss, pray, whisper “I love you” eight thousand times, and you stand at the door and all of a sudden it’s heavy. So heavy. Like, you muster all your strength to just close that door, and you catch your breath as a lump forms in your throat and you try not to cry. You cry out to God (again) to protect them and give you peace because you can’t do it. You can’t leave. Something is going to happen. You don’t know what, but something will. And you take another breath and walk away, because they are in His hands and you know he loves both you and them more than you could possibly imagine. Trust. 2 hours later, you get ready to head to bed yourself and after checking each lock on the doors twice and making sure no windows are open, you sneak in the kids’ room. Are they breathing? No one got sick? Maybe a picture, because you can’t remember the last time you took one and you literally just have to do it. Shoot, the baby is stirring…quick, one more look at these beautiful little people who you’re slightly terrified you might never see alive again, and you rush out. You sink into bed with a sigh, praying and working to keep your mind off the “what ifs” and on Jesus, and meditate on your favorite verse, Isaiah 26:3. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” And you try so hard to turn off the anxious thoughts to spend a little time with your husband who doesn’t understand. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t. But every time you can, it’s a little victory, and there’s no one to cheer you on, because no one knows. And all of a sudden the baby wakes up and you’re a little annoyed because you’d really like to sleep, but you’re a little relieved because that means he’s with you all night long, and you know he’s ok.
It’s Sunday. You convince yourself that it’s worth it to go to church. Victory. You get there 10 minutes late and find a seat, and you don’t judge others for being late anymore. Victory. You join in with the singing and you’re glad you are there. You sit down for the sermon and 5 minutes later regret it because your preschooler is sitting next to you being noisy and dropping pens and asking for snacks, but you can’t send her to Sunday school because you can’t let her be away from you. And the baby. You can’t keep them both quiet and learn anything. It’s Mother’s Day and you feel like the worst of all when you’re so fed up with it all that you actually take her to Sunday school for the first time ever. Huge victory. But no one knows what a victory that is. She has a great time, and goes every week and all of a sudden she’s been going to Sunday school for a year. Victory. The baby is another story, but I know I’ll get there eventually.
It’s Wednesday and you want to serve at Youth Group like you’ve committed to. You take a deep, deep breath (or 12) and let your preschooler under someone else’s care. One time you have a panic attack knowing that person is going to drive her somewhere, because you know she might not be buckled correctly and the “what ifs” take you down a terrible path. Now you have the baby, too, and while it’s gotten easier to be away from your oldest, your list of “trustworthy” people to watch him is short. You can’t leave him, but you can’t take him, because that’s just not worth it anymore, and no one understands.
It’s every single day of the week. Many moments of every day. The struggle is real. It’s all consuming. Every single time I can leave my children in someone else’s care (even my husband’s, sometimes) is huge. Not for me, but for God. Through His strength alone, am I able to walk away. I am so thankful for his timely reminders that I don’t need to carry this anxiety when it’s just too much. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ my rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
And that is why I needed to share this today. I am learning to share my weaknesses to share Christ’s power.
SO thankful for that power. May He receive all the glory in my weakness!
[What A Beautiful Name]