A Christian’s Journey through Postpartum Depression

If you are a regular reader here, I usually serve up encouragement for your Christian walk. Today, I feel led to share my story about postpartum depression which may not interest you. Next week’s post will be more like you expect. If you know me and Noah beyond this blog, I pray that reading this does not impact your relationship with us.

If you’re not a regular reader, I’m glad you’re here. I believe you found this post for a reason.

Overcoming postpartum depression is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. If you think you may be experiencing postpartum depression, know that you are not alone and there is help available. God has not turned His back on you and He is holding your hand through it. There is victory on the other side. You will beat this in Jesus’ name.

A Christian's Journey through Postpartum Depression: You're not alone!

How It Started

It started for me while we were still in the hospital. Noah was crying, wanting to be fed. Despite the pain from my c-section, I walked out to the nurses area holding back tears. “He’s crying and I just can’t feed him,” I said. They helpfully sent the lactation consultant to help me with breastfeeding which actually wasn’t the issue. The real issue was that I didn’t love my baby. He didn’t feel mine.

The real issue was that I didn’t love my baby. He didn’t feel mine.

When we came home, It was the perfect storm really. My husband was working nights. I was sleep-deprived and weary, like new mamas are. And me and Noah were often alone.

I prayed desperately. I wanted God’s help, but I didn’t really feel Him near. And I felt guilty. After all, God had just blessed me with a beautiful healthy boy and all I could do was cry.

One day a couple of friends came over to visit. As they were beginning to leave, the husband asked how I was doing. Specifically he said something like, “Do you think you have any postpartum depression?” My tears welled up as I said yes. His wife shared her story with me and gave me encouragement.

That’s what I want this post to do for you.

How It Feels

From what I’ve read every woman with postpartum depression experiences it differently. Some women have suicidal or homicidal thoughts. I’m thankful that wasn’t the case for me.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a free, 24-hour hotline, at 1.800.273.TALK (8255). Your call will be connected to the crisis center nearest to you. 

For me, my most significant symptom was crushing sadness. I call it the black hole. I cried a lot, sometimes uncontrollably. Sometimes I cried and begged my husband not to go to work. Other times, I was able to hold it back until he left.

I didn’t feel like I was supposed to. I had a strong awareness of that. Everyone was happy for me and gushing over my sweet boy. And I just felt numb. Like darkness had swallowed me up.

Life felt hopeless. There was nothing to look forward to except another day of darkness.

Home was the epicenter of the sadness. So sometimes I would put Noah in the car seat and just drive around. But other times the anxiety would cripple me and I was too fearful to leave the house. Most days it felt like too much to be around people anyway.

Everything felt too much.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, take this screening test.

Getting Help

I had a checkup scheduled with my OB soon, so I purposed that I would talk to her about my feelings. During the appointment, she asked if I was having any issues. I sobbed and squeaked out, “I’m just really sad. Something’s not right.” She gently said, “We’re gonna get you some help, sweetie.”

My doctor asked me a series of questions (very similar to the screener above). In spite of my guilt and shame, I answered honestly.

She prescribed the anti-depressant that was the safest for breastfeeding. She made other recommendations too, like getting outside, exercising, eating healthy, and counseling.

Christians Journey through Postpartum Depression. Don't fall for lies from the devil.

I’ve heard it said that Christian women should just pray their way out of depression. I believe that’s a lie from the devil designed to keep us in the shadows of shame. Within three weeks of beginning treatment, I felt more like myself and bonded deeply with Noah. I was able to be around people again and even braved going back to church.

I continued to fight postpartum depression for 18 months. Like many others, I experienced anxiety along with it. Medicine does help, but I also had to cling to God and force myself to keep trudging through.

Effects on Others

My depression was very isolating. It changed my personality completely. I went from a goal-oriented, optimistic, bubbly wife to an overwhelmed, sobbing, fearful mama. My husband couldn’t understand and I don’t blame him for that. He was figuring out how to be a dad and at the same time watching his wife slip away.

We grew distant. I didn’t trust him with my heart or my struggle.

I hurt my friends too. I tried to put on a happy face and push through, because I didn’t believe anyone would understand. I began declining invitations or canceling at the last moment when the act was too much to keep up. Essentially, I withdrew from those who could have supported me.

Clinging to God

As a Christian, you have access to God’s power and comfort; don’t push Him away. Surround yourself with praise music. Recite His promises from the Bible. Cling to His truth. He loves you and He is near to the brokenhearted, even if your heart doesn’t feel like it. He is holding your hand through all of this and He will give you the next bit of strength you need.

This is an excerpt from my journal at the time:

“I’m praying for God’s strength just to change the next dirty diaper, just to prepare the next meal, just to brush my teeth before bed. Everything is such a challenge. I long for life to be easy and natural. I force myself to get through just the next task. One thing at a time- what is the very next thing I need to do?

‘God is near to the broken-hearted,’ I remind myself. He says ‘Come to me all who are heavy-laden.’ He wants to rescue me and help me and take hold of my right hand.

Father, I’m holding on to your hand. I don’t understand this journey. I don’t understand why you partnered my beautiful blue-eyed, giggling, holder of my heart with this dark cloud of depression. I’ll never understand this nauseating rollercoaster of emotions- love so great my heart could burst followed by a deep well of empty sadness. I may never know what glory you brought to yourself through this. But I’m here. I’m coming to you for help. And I trust You to get me through it.”

If you’re struggling now, let this song speak deep to your soul:

You’re Gonna Be Okay

You’ll be even more than okay. You’re gonna be great! Life will eventually be fun again and you will enjoy your child. You’re going to come out on the other side stronger. Your faith will have grown and you’ll have a story of God’s faithfulness to use to help others. Believe me.

You will be okay after postpartum depression.
Me and Noah

What Can I Do?

If you’re fighting this now, hold fast to God’s word. Seek professional help through medicine and/or counseling. Reach out to your friends. I’d love to be a friend that walks with you through this. Know that having PPD means you are likely to continue having bouts of depression; be aware of this fact but not afraid of it. God will get you through this season of depression and the next one too.

If you have survived this, share your story. Keep an eye out on new mamas you know. Pray for them and ask them plainly how they are doing emotionally.

If postpartum depression has never touched your life, be thankful. Be a safe place for new mamas to be real. Not everyone is joyful after they have a baby, even if they really want to be. You may be the one that breaks through their darkness.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

To my precious Noah,

One day you will know this story. I pray this story doesn’t cause you to question my love for you. Indeed, it was my fierce love for you that carried me through the darkest days. I did things for you that I never would have done for myself. You are a beloved gift from God, born to do great things for His kingdom.

Has depression ever impacted you or someone you love? Do you have any advice or encouragement to share? Leave a comment to share your story.

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15 thoughts on “A Christian’s Journey through Postpartum Depression

  1. What a selfless & heartfelt story you have offered others. I pray that many in need will be led to your caring & therapeutic words. I already felt that Noah had a great mom …… I just didn’t realize how special she really was. ❤️🙏

  2. Thank-you for sharing your story despite your fear of what others may think! I didn’t have to deal with PPD, but I have had to deal with other depression/anxiety issues and I know how helpful it is to hear how others got through it. It is my prayer along with you that God will use your story to help many other women! I am praying He will do the same with mine some day!

  3. Selfless, heart-breakingly honest, compelling – well written. Some people believe that ‘real Christians’ never suffer sadness, depression or mental disorders. It’s not true. We are human, living in a world bombarded by arrows of fear, shame and regret. You are reaching out here; exactly what God would have you do.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I think of that saying – We go through what we go through to help others get through what we went through.

      You’re right, mental health issues can be taboo in some Christian communities but I’m determined to turn it into something we talk about. Even God talked about it in the Bible when he included Jeremiah’s story. And He tenderly took care of him, not punished him. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Hi Beka,
    Thanks for sharing so open and honestly about your struggled with postpartum depression. I remember growing up my mom said, “It’s very difficult, because you’re looking at this beautiful child and you feel so much love and joy…but you also feel so depressed and emotional!”

    Katie has struggled with it too, and we know some people who – like you said – act as though all medication is evil, all medication is failing to trust God, etc. While Katie hasn’t taken any meds, we have met some people who we thought could’ve benefited from them; God can work through the medical advances we have.

    1. Agreed! It’s interesting that your mom shared that with you and I’m glad.

      I’ve made a goal of mine to check in on new moms and to let expectant moms (with whom I’m close) know what to watch out for.

  5. I cried through reading your post. I went through that darkness with my little man, almost two years ago. It was excruciating and isolating and one of the hardest things I’ve been through. I’ve written numerous posts on it and I totally agree that it is taboo in Christian circles. Some even believe (and preach) that the root of all depression is a sin issue!

    I don’t believe that all medication is evil, but as I’ve learned about nutrition and how the body works, I do believe, however, that it (for the vast majority) covers up your body’s natural way of telling you something is wrong. Depression is often related to nutritional/hormonal imbalances (and when are we more on a hormonal roller coaster than pregnancy and postpartum?) and when you go through a traumatic situation, your body uses up minerals that the frontal lobe of the brain desperately needs. Medication can’t replace that, but it does cover up your body’s response to missing what it needs. 🙁 I was on antidepressants after a traumatic experience in 2010, and they made my depression so much worse. That warning they put on them about causing suicidal thoughts? I had them. It was terrible. And with two different ones! I’m so glad they helped you, but I just want others to know there are other ways to get better. Replacing the minerals I needed helped me immensely!

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I hope it didn’t cause you anything difficult in your personal life! <3 I'm sure your little man will understand and not think anything less of the supermom he loves. 😉

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m so glad you added that piece to the conversation! I honestly didn’t look into many options, I was just desperate.

    1. I’m so sorry, Nikki! You’re gonna get through this! Wishing all the best for you. I’d love to connect more if you’re interested- beka{at}gracetosoar.com.

  6. Yes, I did experience PPD too! I didn’t know that depression of any kind was real until I went through it myself. I’m coming across other moms who are facing it too and would really like to be able to help them in some way. I’ve been given some book recommendations by my Pastor’s wife and plan to read through them. Thank you for sharing your story in a very encouraging way!

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