when it all gets a little rocky

When I look back on the week, I always try to reflect on the good. Because I'm a glass half full kind of person. I love linking up with my friend Blair because it's usually all about cute babies and the fun we've had in the past week. This week? My glass is low. It's about 3/4 empty. I have been walking through an absolutely unfathomable situation with one of my very best friends, and my postpartum anxiety is through the roof. Struggling would be an understatement. I'm broken. So very broken. I'm attempting daily to pick up the tiny pieces of me and find a shred of hope in between, but even that is difficult. It's one of those seasons where I catch myself crying out "God, where are you in this??" Thankfully, He is there to remind me every time where He is. 

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you." Isaiah 43:2

THIS MAY DEVASTATE ME, BUT IT CAN NOT DESTROY ME. Right now, I'm devastated. But I can place my hope in the fact that nothing can destroy me. I'm held in the palm of the hand of a loving God and He has written my name on his hand! He will never forget me, even when I feel so very forgotten.

hope

I sat tonight to try to write a note of encouragement to my precious friend, and my words were struggling. How do I tell her there is hope when I'm wondering where the hope is?

So I have to make a decision, do I cling to it or do I give it to Him?

I'm laying it at His feet.

"Surrender is the path to peace" - Rick Warren

relentless.

I believe that God speaks to us in many different ways. For me, I get a word in my head and I just cling to that word during specific seasons. God speaks to me a lot through a single word and through music, and the song Relentless by Hillsong United has been a favorite lately. When I first heard this song, I went and looked up the word "relentless" because I love reading about meanings. I saw it described this way in one place:

When you're relentless about something, you mean business. You're not stopping until you get what you want, and you're not taking "no" for an answer.

I just cannot get that word out of my head! Relentless. I was talking with a friend recently who was feeling attacked and they described the enemy as being relentless. Listening to her describe the evil one like that, God spoke to me and reminded me of what He had been putting in my heart for the last few months.

HIS LOVE IS RELENTLESS. He is never-ending. He will NEVER give up on us. He will chase after us without stopping. He will not take no for an answer!!! 

relentless

God showed me something very important this week. No matter how relentless satan may try to be, He will always fight harder. And when we speak the name of the evil one and give him recognition for the hard times we face, that just opens doors for him to kill, steal & destroy even more. When we focus on the name of Jesus and HIS relentless love, nothing but GOOD can come from that!!!

As I have walked through a tough 4 months, I'm at a better place that I have ever been in understanding God's love for me. He will never give up on pursuing me!

I encourage you to focus on Jesus this week and His RELENTLESS love. And chase relentlessly after Him.

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Click to hear "Relentless Pursuit" by Kim Walker

the battle is over & the journey begins

A lot of the reason I haven't blogged much lately is because I've been so focused on Thrive, but there's also another reason. As I was battling through post partum anxiety, depression crept up on me. It hit me HARD. I was in a deep valley. Struggling to read my bible, listen to worship music or even pray. I found myself angry with God. Angry that I was going through this season. Resenting my kids for "ruining" my life and being so needy. Desperately wanting to get in my car and drive to Canada. The funny part? I was in the middle of building a new ministry to encourage moms. Moms who were exactly in the place I was in at that very moment.

We launched Thrive last week. Last week, I became a new person. I was released from the bondage of anxiety & depression. I'm not going to say I won't still struggle from time to time, but I finally feel alive again. I am having a BLAST with my kids and loving my life. I'm filled with a joy I hadn't felt in months.

Ironic? Coincidence? I think not.

I know that God was using my pain to build Thrive. I had always dreamed of starting a ministry like that, but it wasn't until I fully suffered the deepest, darkest days of motherhood that I could understand. That I could really know how to meet moms right where they are.

And when I gave that over to Him, I was renewed as a mom. As a wife. As a daughter of the King.

I wrote this below while I was in one of my worst days. I really prayed about whether or not I should share it, but I feel like I want to be completely transparent about my battle. I hope that if you are battling like I was, you can find someone to walk through it with, and know that Thrive is here for you!

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The darkest of dark. 

My heart literally aches in my chest. My mind races. I fight off feelings of loneliness, anger and self doubt. I fight against the daylight each morning wishing the sun would just go away. I’m not me. I’m not okay. 

I smile and force myself through my routine. Instead of snuggling, I push away the tiny human that wants on my lap. I look at myself in the mirror and feel like an alien in this body. It’s so different, so ugly, so unknown.  I wish for that flat tummy and tiny waist, but shove another donut in my face because eating is an escape.

I am pushing away friends, family and God. I am angry that no one understand me and frustrated that God would allow me to hurt like this. I secretly wish something bad would happen to me just so I can feel pain.I’m numb. I brush off these ridiculous thoughts and try to focus on the beauty in my life, but it’s hard to see through the fog that overtakes my emotions.

I refuse to admit something is wrong with ME. I’m sunshine and rainbows and fields of wild flowers. I’m not dark and broken. I can’t be. Not me.

It seems like a never ending battle that I can’t win. A battle against dishes and runny noses and timeouts. Against diapers and crumbs and dust bunnies. It feels pointless. Worthless. A battle that can’t be won.

I want to escape. I want the pain to end. I desire to feel wanted, loved and special. I know what it takes to obtain this, but I’m too angry and tired to even care. I ache. I'm broken.

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on my heart: needing life

I have all these blog posts scheduled out and I'm not getting to any of them. I'm neglecting my plans because my emotions are holding me back. That is so true in my life right now too. I'm neglecting my LIFE because my emotions are holding me back. The last week and a half has been tough. I started feeling REALLY depressed. The PPA was wearing on me, and I was frustrated. I didn't leave the house for like 5 days, it's just too hard most of the time. It's too annoying to put on presentable clothes and actually go face the world. It's easier to stay in my husbands sweats and dig into my stash of chocolate.

Depressed.

That just made me angry. Oh great, I have postpartum anxiety, am I getting postpartum depression too? A girl can only handle so much.

I wasn't letting LIFE in. I forced myself out to have coffee with a friend and a playdate. It was good for me. It was life-giving. Life is the best medicine. Life-giving relationships. A husband who pours into me every day. Friends that let me cry on their shoulders. Life.

Life that reminds you how precious a baby is. How amazing it is making your child giggle uncontrollably. Life that gets you out of bed excited to face each day and each new adventure with your tiny blessings. Life.

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I will not believe the lies that Satan tries to tell me about myself. I will not let the hormones get the best of me. I will NOT miss out on these beautiful days with my babies because I can't pull myself out of bed.

It's hard. Every day is a new struggle, but every day is also new. A chance to have a second chance.

My heart may be weary and tired, my body may cry out that it's done. But I will press on, because I have been called to more.

Bring it on life, let's do this.

pass the prozac {understanding postpartum mental health}

There's those things that they don't tell you about when you look at that precious baby on the ultrasound machine. You are over the moon to carry a baby and stock your cabinets with oreos. Then, you go through hours of labor and push and push until you hold a tiny miracle in your arms. Then you go home and you're all on your own.

Most people can't understand why anyone would be less than thrilled to have this new person in their home. How could welcoming a new precious little baby cause such devastation to a mom?

Maybe your doctor tells you about postpartum depression and the signs to watch for, but most likely not. Most likely you read about it a little bit in a baby book or searched google for "why am I crying so much?". Most new moms suffer from the "baby blues", but it ends there. If that was the case for you, you are lucky.

You might not really understand the postpartum illnesses that a new mom can suffer from. I didn't until after having my THIRD baby! I have had three babies of my own, and watched so many of my friends have their babies. I'm just now fully understanding what hormones can really do to your body.

understanding

Let's take a minute to really understand the different postpartum illnesses.

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BABY BLUES Happens to over 80% of new moms. It's a stressful and exhausting time in your life, you may experience excessive crying and irritability. This will disappear on it's own in a few weeks.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION Happens to about 1 in 5 new moms. Symptoms can occur within days or delivery or any time in the first year.

Symptoms:

Frequent sadness or crying Changes in appetite Insomnia Intense fatigue or low mood Emotional numbness Feelings of helplessness and despair Irritability, surges of anger Feelings of inadequacy, guilt or shame Difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness Anxiety/Panic Over concern for your baby Lack of interest in sex Exaggerated high or low moods Dramatic changes in your feelings from sadness to thoughts of suicide

POSTPARTUM ANXIETY / PANIC DISORDER You may not feel depressed, but may feel very anxious. Happens to about 10% of new moms.

Symptoms:

Panic attacks Intense anxiety and/or fear Rapid heart rate Hot or cold flashes Chest pain Shaking Dizziness Insomnia

POSTPARTUM ANXIETY / OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER It is estimated that as many as 3-5% of new mothers will experience these symptoms. The most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of the disorders.

Symptoms:

Anxiety Depression Repetitive Behavior Excessive Cleaning Intrusive, repetitive thoughts

POSTPARTUM POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER About 1-6% of women stuffer from this disorder (PTSD) following birth. This is caused by a real or perceived trauma during delivery or postpartum.

Symptoms:

Prolapsed cord Unplanned c-section Use of vacuum extractor or forceps to deliver Baby in NICU Lack of support during delivery

POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS The most severe and the rarest postpartum reaction. It occurs in about 1 in 1000 women, usually within the first three weeks after the birth. The woman will experience a break with reality and symptoms are severe. Requires immediate medical care.

Symptoms:

Delusions  Hallucinations Irritations Hyperactivity Decreased need for sleep Paranoia Rapid mood swings Difficulty communicating

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I used to be one of those people that thought only the "crazy" moms had this stuff. The moms who weren't strong enough or didn't enjoy being a parent. Until I realized it can happen to anyone. It can happen to you and me. Perfectly normal, happy moms who love their lives can fall victim to hormones.

The most important thing to know? It's not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong.

Did you hear me? I'll say it again. IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT.

The first step: admitting something is wrong and asking for help. That's been the hardest part for me. People always tell me, "if anyone can handle three under three, its you!" And "you're supermom!". Although this encouragement is great, they are also what hurt me.

I believed in my head I was supermom and I could handle it all. So when I started feeling out of control, I had a hard time admitting I needed help. If I'm really as great of a mom as everyone says, then I can handle this and won't have any problems.

Thankfully someone was there to pick up the pieces of me and push me to seek guidance, advice and medicine. It's ok to take the crazy pills. I really struggled with this. Only nutty people take that stuff, and I'm normal! (That was my first mistake in actually thinking I'm "normal".)

It really is ok to take medicine to help. Jesus is our ultimate healer, and I truly believe I can be healed from this but I feel at peace with what modern medicine can offer me also. I first put my trust in Him as my healer, but still know that it's ok if he doesn't take it away. He's still on the throne whether I'm crazy or not.

And the best part? God can still use you. He can use your story. The reason I'm so open and honest about my journey, is to hopefully help someone else who is struggling. Just because you have a "mental illness" does not mean that God can't use you. There were tons of crazy people in the bible that He used in big ways!!!

I hope that you will take the time to understand how serious postpartum illness is. Be there for your friends, your sisters. We as moms should not be doing this alone. I pray that if you are a mom suffering in silence you will take that step to get help. Email me, reach out to a friend or just call your doctor.

But DO something. Please don't suffer alone.