A Dark Postpartum Night

This is the most vulnerable piece I’ve ever written. Please be gentle.

This past year has been – by far – my most difficult year. Professionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. As a pastor, it’s difficult to be transparent, and it’s even more difficult to connect with people on just a basic human level (you know, without that whole pastor-layperson dynamic).

It took some pretty big valleys and one great mountaintop this year to finally admit my struggles. I’m not ready to talk about the valleys, but the best thing that happened to me this year is our new baby boy, Finnegan James. He keeps us up at night, but he brings so much joy to our little family.

But along with Finn came some darkness that is more common than we like to admit. I knew I was at risk for postpartum depression and anxiety, but I thought I could push through. Then Finn came, and I didn’t have enough sleep and the hormones kept happening (you know, the fourth trimester is a thing…) and every single time I walked down the stairs I imagined tripping and falling all the way down onto my newborn. There was danger around every corner, and I believed I was responsible for every single tiny little breath that Finn breathed.

It was too much, and I knew it was time to talk about it. So I reached out and began therapy.

Over time, my postpartum depression and anxiety has gotten better – the therapist called it “adjustment disorder.” And wow, is having a child an adjustment.

I continue to go to therapy. I’m taking time for meditation and prayer that I wasn’t taking earlier. I’m talking things out. I’m reframing the lies I believe. This is working for me.

(Caveat: for some, it will take more. For some, it will take medication. Please – get the treatment that works for you.)

One more thing I’m doing: I’m writing.

Nadia Bolz-Weber says to preach from your scars, not your wounds. I agree with that when you’re in the pulpit. But this time, I’m sitting on my couch, writing from my wounds. It’s by far my most vulnerable, but I think in this vulnerable can come some healing for me – and possibly someone else.

A Dark Postpartum Night

It’s the nights I dread most.

An hour after midnight, my husband–who’s been with baby in the nursery since 10 p.m.– opens the door, enters our bedroom, and gently shakes my foot to wake me up. But I’m already awake.

I’m always awake.

Read more at The Mudroom.

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