My journey through post natal depression / post partum depression

Something more personal today on my blog – my personal journey through post natal depression (post partum depression) 


With shaking hands and trembling heart I walked up to the front of the conference room at Castle Erin, and shared openly for the first time some of my journey through post natal depression at our  methodist church weekend in Portrush.

I was aware of friends willing me on with sympathetic smiles, and could feel the warmth and support of everyone listening, but I avoided my husband’s eyes as surely I would cry.

With God’s help I made it through, and still can’t really recall all I actually said, but the relief was immense.  Although those close to me had known for a while, I had never “gone public” with my depression before.  It felt good, that I was no longer pretending to be fine and wearing a mask.

After the birth of our third child, I experienced feelings which were alien to me – remoteness, despair, darkness and distance.  It was a horrible place to be, yet the rest of the world continued and I seemed to be just an observer. The sun shone, my daughters were happy at school, I had a beautiful healthy baby and a supportive husband, I was still assured and confident of my faith, I never doubted God’s love, so why was I like this?  Guilt, so much guilt – there was a lot of it then, and even still is today on occasions.

I craved to feel secure in God, but Church became for me the loneliest place. I could hear and see others praising God, but the words stuck in my throat, and I felt at my lowest. I could see others enjoying and celebrating, and I wanted that too – but being in church just emphasised to me how isolated and remote from it I seemed to be.  The mask certainly came out on Sundays.  When those who cared about me asked how I was, I felt I was letting them down by admitting I was still struggling, so I told them what I thought they wanted to hear, hoping some day I could say it again and know it to be true.

So what changed, how did I escape from that lonely place?

There was no instant relief, it was a slow journey, and sometimes still is. Through God’s sustaining love, prayer, medication, a lovely support group in Lisburn Health Centre, friends and family with lots of patience, I felt myself resurfacing.  The sun would shine and I would feel its warmth, and could feel happiness without guilt.

I still have glimpses of those dark days, but I am no longer ashamed of my Post Natal Depression experience. It made me who I am today, it has given me an increased compassion for those who struggle in that dark lonely place of depression, and a glimpse of a world I never had experienced before.

If you have suffered and maybe still are suffering, if those who love you still don’t really know, share with them if you can. Talk to someone, don’t be alone. To me, what was much worse than the darkness, was feeling alone in the darkness.

May I again thank everyone who supported me in many ways through my journey. To you it might just have been a smile, or a touch on my arm, but it helped me more that you may ever know.
I am sharing this on What I Learned this week – as after having this article published in our church magazine, I learned that although putting it “out there” was a big step, it has definitely been a step in the right direction.

I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment here or on Facebook.

Thanks.

14 thoughts on “My journey through post natal depression / post partum depression”

  1. Grace @ Sandier Pastures

    I’m glad you found ways to get out of the dark. I’ve been there too, for the first 6 months since my baby was born..it wasn’t easy and I wished I was stronger. Recalling that, I’m afraid to be in the place again (maybe that’s why I’m stucked with only one child…)

  2. Thanks for sharing your story JanMary. I know I probably had some post natal depression too and was too ignorant to recognize the signs. I’m glad I had support too.

  3. jen @ homeinthecountry

    So sorry to hear of your struggles, but glad that you’re finding support! How incredible that you were able to share your story! What a strong & brave thing to do! 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing your story and your testimony with everyone! I can very closely relate to the feelings you shared after the birth of my first child. I don’t understand why the Lord allows us to go through such hard times, especially right after the wonderful gift of a new baby, but I’m thankful that He’s promised to be with us through each step!

  5. Hi Janine, this is something, thankfully i never had to suffer, but I do know that it is something that many do suffer from – i have no doubt your blog will give hope to many – well done for your bravery, Elizabeth x.

  6. Oh, big hugs. You know that I so thoroughly understand this as a survivor myself and how big of a step this was. Beautiful, beautiful piece! Love you!

  7. Julie From Inmates

    I had a touch of it after the birth of my oldest son. It lasted for about three weeks and it was so scary because I remember feeling as though I had absolutely NO CONTROL WHATSOEVER of the feelings or the crying. I’m thankful for a supportive husband and great friends who helped me through. Thanks for sharing such a serious topic.

  8. What a blessing and praise that you are able to share what you felt and went through during that time. My hope is that someone going through it will see your experience and realize that they aren’t alone and that it’s okay to get help!

  9. Bless you for sharing this! I know how hard it is to take down those masks. You were such an encouragement to me during me first round with PPD, and continue to be now. Hugs!

  10. so brave you are for sharing and for letting everyone know we all experience “down” times in our lives -so thankful for family and friends to see you through – and a wonderful husband!!
    Hope your computer issues are cleared up –
    tell everyone hello for me!!

  11. Andrea @ The Creative Junkie

    Oh, JM – I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. My heart breaks for anyone who suffers this – as if becoming a mother isn’t hard enough, as if we don’t doubt ourselves enough at that point. I can’t imagine having to deal with this issue on top of everything else during that time. It must have been overwhelming.

    I’m so glad you made it through. 🙂

  12. Thank you, JM, for sharing this – for sharing yourself here in such an honest and candid way. You’ve been an encouragement to me. I know EXACTLY this place you speak of. You opening up about it makes it “safe” and easier to talk about it. I appreciate realness – I think its what we respond to. It is a ministry and calling. We cannot truly empathise with others unless we have been down the path they’re trying to navigate.

    I’ll email you more on this!

    Love, Barb

  13. bentonflocke

    Thanks for sharing your story – that´s really brave.. I’m so glad that you found ways to get out of the dark.

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