Having postpartum depression as a Christian is especially heartbreaking because we feel like God has abandoned us. There are questions of our faith and judgement from other Christians. What should we do?
Parenting

The Christian Response to Postpartum Depression

After my sixth baby, I was showing signs of depression. You’d think after so many pregnancies, I would have taken preemptive measures to combat this debilitating disease. But I didn’t. Postpartum depression snuck up on my like an intruder in a dark alley. Thank God I caught it just in time! Or it could have gotten much worse! (And believe me, I’ve been there, done that).

Postpartum Depression as a Christian

Depression is the feeling that nothing is right when everything is normal. A sadness that has no explanation. Tears that fall while performing a mundane task you do all the time because it just seems too much to bear.

It affects Christians and non-Christians alike. No woman is immune.

That was me. It is me. And it’s hit me with every. single. birth.

Medically, postpartum depression is diagnosed after two weeks of sadness. I caught it only after one day of feeling those familiar feelings again, but that one day of sadness is one more day I’ve lost to this wicked disease. And I refused to let it take hold of me again. Ever.

As a Christian, we know that all our sickness and disease was nailed to the cross at Calvary, but we shouldn’t let that cause us to ignore the natural responses our body is giving us to a life-altering experience.

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a History of Depression

If you’ve had regular depression, most likely you’ll experience some semblance of postpartum depression. The fluctuation of your hormones can be radical, leaving you almost flat lining some days.

Over the course of my life (since I hit puberty and was molested) I’ve struggled with depression both mild and severe. As I’ve learn to cope in healthy ways, like exercise and getting out in the sun, it has been more mild and fleeting than it was in the beginning.

I spent the first five years of my marriage on pharmaceutical anti-depressants and the last six on-and-off a supplement called Sam-E (mostly just after the births of the last three of my six children). With the birth of my sixth child, I needed to get back onto medication. (Much to my chagrin.)

Every time depression rears its ugly head and I find myself slamming doors and driving off in a mad frenzy to the nearest hotel (which I’ve only rented once, but most times turn the car back around). This is my history, whether I like it or not.

My history doesn’t control me, but I am sensitive to the fact that I should allow it to help guide me make the best decisions for my future.

the ‘Why Me?’ question

Postpartum depression leave me asking God: “Why?”

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“Why do I suffer with feeling this way? It’s not fair that after you blessed me with a child, you also gifted me with raging hormones and suicidal thoughts…Don’t you love me? Do you want me to feel this way?”

I never have gotten a “voice of God” answer – you know the kind, the one that makes everything all better. One you can really wrap your head around and rest in. The kind that you hear whispered to your heart and instantly “clicks” in your brain making you all better. Nope. I’ve not had that yet.

I have no answer to the ‘why me?’ question, but I do know that I struggle with it more often than many of my friends.

And I also know that he DOES love me, even though I suffer.

And because I suffer I am forced to go to the only place I know to be safe. His presence.

In Him, there aren’t answers for all my inquires. But there is acceptance. He loves me despite my craziness, maybe he loves me BECAUSE of my craziness. I’m not sure. But he DOES love me.

I may not feel loved. I may question His love. I might not want His love. But it is there.

Why His Love Makes a Difference

I know God loves me because the Bible tells me so. I have to believe the words of the Bible because if I don’t my faith is only speculation. If I don’t believe that God loves me, I can’t trust anything else the Bible says.

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I have to believe all of it, or none of it. There is no in between.

And if he loves me…

Well, what wouldn’t you do for a person who you love? 

Anything, right? It’s the same with God.

And because he loves us, He has provided us a way to handle our depression by spending time in his presence.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

God can help decide how to treat depression

It might be medical, spiritual, physical or a combination of all the above. Seek him and those of wise counsel (i.e. doctor or a therapist) and you will be successful in your battle against depression.

Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. Proverbs 11:14

If you are suffering with depression, please seek professional help. Even Christians can suffer from depression (there are many examples in the Bible of godly people talking of suicide).

YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION AS A CHRISTIAN.

Having postpartum depression as a Christian is especially heartbreaking because we feel like God has abandoned us. There are questions of our faith and judgement from other Christians. What should we do?

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