“Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
By: Jennifer Mullen
In my research, I have learned that “at least 33% of women who have had postpartum depression have a recurrence of symptoms after a subsequent delivery.” (*1) So if you read my post from last month, More Than Baby Blues, you could see why I would be more than a little concerned about the birth of my second child. Of course this time I would not only have an infant to care for, I would have to care for a three-year old as well. We weighed the consequences. Knowing that we had been through the fire before and that God was faithful, our faith was strengthened to trust Him to do it again.
A few weeks before my son was born, I received a word from the LORD. I was trying to get ahead in bible study as I knew I would miss a few weeks during my recovery. We were studying A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place by Beth Moore. One of the lessons was about God’s provision through the use of manna. Each day the Israelites were to go out and collect what they needed for that day. What is important to realize is that God provided, but there was responsibility on behalf of the Israelites to do the gathering.
I remember, a few days after studying this lesson, crying to my husband, anxious over how I would have enough energy to deal with my three-year-old and a newborn. WHAT IF I had PPD again. WHAT IF I couldn’t hold it together emotionally and take care of my family? God spoke to me as if I my mind was opening up in understanding, reminding me of this lesson. He would provide for me the energy I need for each day. I may not feel fully rested, just as the Israelites may not have felt stuffed, but I would have what I need to get through THAT day. Also, that he would provide support for me to endure each situation emotionally. And what is amazing is that His mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-24)
Just as the Israelites had a responsibility to gather, so did I.
Gathering Sleep: God provided the hours; I needed to be disciplined. (Psalm 127:2)
I mentioned in my last post that the amount of sleep I get affects my anxiety level. So, I had a set bedtime, and I stuck to it. The days I did this I was able to get through the day. When I stopped focusing on how much energy I didn’t have and start focusing on the fact that I had enough energy to get me through, it seemed more manageable.
Gathering by Making a Plan: God had provided me with a great support network; I just needed to know how to utilize it.
My husband and I, together, discussed the various triggers that made me more anxious. Then we talked about how to avoid those triggers. Although at the time, this plan may have hurt some feelings, my husband and I knew the importance of it and made the best decision for our family unit.
The biggest trigger for my anxiety was all the visitors. We have been blessed with a large family, a large church who loves us, a supportive MOPS group, and many friends who wanted to share in this joyous occasion. With my first child, we had so many visitors the first week that just popped in that I could no more wind down before the doorbell rang. So we communicated to our family, church, and friends that we respectfully asked that only family visit us the first week. After that, when I was ready, I began to set visiting hours for my friends to come by. This helped me immensely with knowing when I could count on getting some rest.
Also, I had my MOPS group and Sunday school class all bring meals all one the same date in freezable containers. That way I did not have to worry at 5:00 what time dinner would arrive.
Another thing, I would send my daughter to close friends on playdates for a few hours so that I could get rest when the baby rested. (If somebody offers to do this accept it as the LORD’s provision.)
Gathering by Being Truthful with My Spouse: God had provided me with a helpmate; I needed to communicate with him my needs.
I found that I needed to be truthful with my spouse about how I was feeling and telling him what I needed him to do in response. (If your perception is that your spouse is ignoring your needs, my guess is that he doesn’t react to your needs because he doesn’t know what your needs are and how you want him to respond.) My husband knows that I was (and still am) prone to anxiety attacks. The first few times he witnessed them he was immobilized. After discussing with him what I need, all I had to do was look across the room at him with that look of desperation, and he would jump into action. When my son was born, I remember many times tag-teaming it by handing my son to my husband and taking a time-out.
Gathering by Seeking Help: God had provided the doctors; I just needed to access them.
My depression slump really hit me hard when my son was about 8 and 1/2 months old. Due to the negative side effects of my anti-depressant, my doctor and I decided to taper off of them around 6 months. I stopped nursing around 8 months. I was doing great up until them, but I was unprepared for the hormone imbalance that came with weaning my child. I finally told my husband, “If I don’t get some help, I am going to be like one of those moms who are on Nancy Grace. They just disappear without a trace, and everyone says that they must have been abducted because they love their children so much. But in reality, I will be hanging out at the beach in Mexico.” So we have sought professional help once again, and I finally feel as though I am starting to reach an equilibrium. If I had not been truthful with my husband and sought help, I would not be on the road to recovery again. An ironic detail that I am sure the LORD orchestrated, is that my doctors are apart of Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA)…I AM NOT JOKING! Isn’t He so thorough in bringing glory to Himself and teaching us the lessons we need to learn?
Beth Moore says of the Israelites: “What do you think would have happened to the Israelites if they had stayed inside their tents with their stomachs growing? They would have starved to death with the provision right outside the tent!”
Be proactive in accepting the LORD’s provision for you. God will be faithful to you too. He will provide for your needs for TODAY. His name is Jehovah Jireh: “The LORD WILL Provide”! The manna is waiting outside your tent!
- Introduction to a Three-Part Series on Postpartum Depression– Published February 1, 2012.
- More Than Baby Blues– Published February 6, 2012 –My experience with postpartum with my first-born.
- Techniques that Helped Me with Postpartum Depression– Published February 8, 2012
- Morning Has Come!: Claiming Victory Over Postpartum Depression– Published on January 7, 2013