Jamie’s Story

Ultimately, sharing our story (or stories) is the saving grace of so many mothers who feel they can’t go on because they are absolutely certain they are screwing up motherhood, and in turn, their children. I want to reassure other moms out there that they are the woman for the job of raising their child(ren).

I struggled with postpartum depression (PPD) and did not realize I was in the thick of it, though I had training as a Registered Nurse and was taught about maternal mental health in school (albeit brief). However, I was also aware suicidal thoughts typically meant hospitalization and I feared my children would be taken from me if I extended my hand out from the metaphorical pit of despair I felt shoved into.

Through the pursuit of a lot of education surrounding why this happened to me, I’ve learned there were many hands that pushed me into that black hole. Eventually, while at work, on my birthday, I finally reached out to my OB/GYN and told him of the mental battle I was having for 4 months postpartum. He immediately got me in touch with a personal confidante and counselor who helped his loved one through a similar struggle.

I am grateful and am blessed to say that through this help I have been able to fully embrace these little angels I’ve been given and the color they bring to my world, rather than the darkness that tried to envelop me. The fight has been incredibly worth it, and receiving the help was the greatest gift to myself and my family!

For the sake of transparency and relatability, here’s a little glimpse into the darkest period of my life… I still had great love for my children, their cry at birth was music to my ears! However, with colic and countless sleepless nights, feeds every 3 hours, leaking boobs and drastic hormonal changes, the tension between my husband and I grew while we grappled with this new schedule, and all was complicated by the recovery of an unwanted (but warranted) c-section and anemia (Hgb. of 7.6 on discharge).

Numbness quickly stole from my emotional bank. My responses to my child’s needs became delayed and I lacked the motivation to concern myself with their demands. I still functioned but my drive didn’t always arise out of any love that gushed for them, and I certainly wasn’t loving myself.

I felt rage and questioned “What kind of mother does this??” I bawled daily and without notice. I felt that I was going to ruin my children as they saw me cry. I felt resentment as my husband left for work as I knew the sense of overwhelm that awaited me each day as he left – the aching arms and shoulders, the cries as I struggled to tend to the needs of two at once, the pumping that came after each feed, and knowing I would not “nap while the baby was napping” because the cycle would repeat almost as soon as it ended. That piece of advice grated on my nerves like no other.

I wished I had known then that anemia mimics PPD symptoms and that breastmilk production can also be effected. I fantasized different ways I would die. I felt depleted in every aspect of my life. I struggled to remember simple things, like how to get to my counselor after weeks of going, or putting pants on that I just took off when getting ready for bed. I made up my words as I struggled to formulate basic sentences. I would wake up yelling for my mom having completely forgotten where I was. I attempted to put earplugs in ears that already had one. The list is endless and embarrassing. I will spare ya’ll the worst detail. 😉

During this time of internal work with the counselor and troubleshooting psychosocial stressors, which took about a full year, I felt God was far away. I am hear to say He never left and where we are in life is important to Him. He moves the universe to answer our prayers and directs all things in time and space to make it happen. He was the only constant as I experienced physical, emotional, and mental shifts, as well as shifts in my role as a woman.

Healing is not my secret to keep because many others can experience healing, too. He longs to heal and transform, just as I am a transformed woman, stronger and more resilient, capable of thriving in and creating beauty within motherhood. Much of my old self is gone, but I have been introduced to a much better version and she will never look back, even on the hard days, for there is much more growth to come.

The love that I longed to feel has overcome and extends far greater and deeper than the darkness ever could, so hang in there, because if you’re struggling, you can have this too. I’ll leave with a quote from a woman named Angelita from Ecuador. “Women, we are like roses: beautiful, unique and special. Our thorns are life lessons and the challenges we overcome every day. Our destiny is to fight and grow with the sunlight, no matter how intense the wind or rain is.”

Jamie's Story
Cherished Mom

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