I hate postpartum depression. I hate that I’ve had it, I hate how it characterizes my memories of both of the girls’ early days, and even more, I hate that me having had it puts them at higher risk for it in the future.
I am thankful for the easy pregnancies and labors I can “pass on” to them as much as it gets passed on, but wish I could change the negative blood type, and even more, the PPD. I wish we could just ignore it, but I know that as they get older it’s a conversation we’ll have at some point, probably even before they would be getting married, because the risk of PPD can affect other hormonal fluctuations as well.
As I think about those conversations, even though they are years off, a few things come to mind.
I want them to know about my experience. I won’t share many details of exactly what I felt because I don’t think that would be healthy for me to relive or for them to know, especially because while it was what was going through my head, the depression wasn’t an accurate picture of how I felt about THEM.
I want them to know it’s not their fault at all. It may have come after they were born, but they didn’t do anything bad. They didn’t do anything to make me depressed. It’s a part of the fall, just like all the increased toil of motherhood.
I want them to know I don’t blame them and am not bitter towards them that I went through the darkness after they were born. It brought me closer to them and closer to Ezra and closer to God and even though it’s not a path I would ever choose, on the other side, God has used it and it was worth it – for them, and for how much closer I am to God because of it and how He has been glorified.
I want them to know that I love them MORE because of it. When I look at them and remember the heartache of PPD, I am filled with gratitude that it’s gone, with joy at how today is so different, and the Mama Bear in me holds them closer because I went through the darkness to have them, one of the ways I get to show my love for them by putting myself aside for them. They are much more precious to me because of PPD.
I want them to know that they are more at risk for PPD because I had it. That doesn’t mean they will have it, just that they are more likely to have it. I want to prepare them for that as much as possible in how I talk about my struggles, in helping them learn to ride their emotions, and in encouraging them to turn to and rely on God in every difficulty.
I want them to know that they don’t have to tell me their struggles but that I am always there for them if they want to share.
I want them to know that I will always love them no matter how they transition to motherhood.
I want them to know that God can redeem and bring light even in the darkest times, and that PPD or any other struggle is not the end, even if it sometimes feels like it. He may be silent at times, but He is always faithful.