I wanted to write a bit about how I have been doing lately, what I have been learning through my postpartum depression recovery, and what God has been teaching me. Mother's Day yesterday was a little emotional for me, but in a good way. I felt a little overwhelmed yesterday...I am so very grateful for my little girl, and so grateful to be a mommy. An imperfect mommy.
For so long, I have felt sad about my postpartum depression - angry that I missed out on those happy "new mommy" feelings that I expected to experience (okay, so I still get sad about that, but oh, well, right?), confused about why I had to go through this, struggling daily with my thoughts and feelings. Slowly, God is bringing me to a place of freedom in Christ that I never could have known without experiencing postpartum depression.
I've always been a perfectionist and a very emotional person. Somehow, I thought that God wanted me to be perfect. (As my counselor told me, "Do you want Christ to die every day or what?") When Clara was born, and I couldn't get her to stop crying, couldn't keep the house clean, couldn't even remember to eat...well, you can only imagine how I felt. Add to that a crazy chemical imbalance and improper brain functioning, and that has been my life for almost a year now. I'm quite sure it's been the hardest year of my life.
But, oh, the things I am learning! I am learning that I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to keep my house immaculate all the time. I'm learning that I don't have to make homemade baby food if I don't want to. I'm learning that if my kid watches TV, I'm not a bad mommy. I'm learning that when I make a mistake, I don't have to dwell on it for the next three days. I'm learning that I don't have to do what I think other people want me to do, only what God wants me to do. I'm learning that formula keeps a baby full, just like breast milk. :) I'm learning that what I do doesn't define who I am. I'm learning that I have a God who loves me, regardless of how I feel, what standards I do/don't measure up to, and what I accomplish in a day.
I am learning so much more than that, but those have been pretty big things for me. :) I am so grateful for my little girl and for all that God has been teaching me through my postpartum experience. This Mother's Day, I am overwhelmed by God's mercy over the past year. It has been (and will continue to be, I'm sure) a roller coaster, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I was singing this hymn this morning, and realized that it kind of expresses my feelings lately.
May the mind of Christ my Savior Live in me from day to day,
By His love and pow'r controlling All I do and say.
May the Word of God dwell richly In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph Only thru His pow'r.
May the peace of God my Father Rule my life in ev'rything,
That I may be calm to comfort Sick and sorrowing.
May the love of Jesus fill me As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing -- This is victory.
May I run the race before me, Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus As I onward go.
- Kate B. Wilkinson