Facing Depression

depressed womanAs a new mom, I struggled with sleepless nights, wide-awake days, plus having an active toddler to keep up with. In addition, I tried to wear that plastic smile. I was exhausted.

Three to four months into my baby’s life, I realized I was not enjoying my time on this earth as a mom.

I vacuumed while my newborn baby cried in her crib, because I could not bear it that she was crying. I did not know how to take care of my child. I let her take care of herself. Who does that with a newborn child?

I had been raised in the church, and when I was 15 I received a Bible. I usually kept it somewhere near my bed. When I had this baby, my Bible had collected dust bunnies underneath the bed. One night, I thought about that Bible and wondered if I should pull it out… but I didn’t.

I had a newborn baby I was struggling to take care of. I couldn’t take care of myself. I was nursing her but I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t take care of her needs. She was losing weight, and so was I.

One night, before going to bed, I did pull out that Bible. Because it had been so long since I had read it and I had been so depressed, I didn’t know where to turn. I opened it to the center, to Psalms. “She will call upon me and I will answer her, I will be with her in trouble. I will deliver her…” (Psalm 91:15).

I laid my face down onto the Bible and said, “God…God…help me.” The pages were soon covered with my sweat and tears.

The next morning I had scheduled my daughter’s four-month wellness check-up. Everything checked out fine with my little girl, although there were some concerns about her weight. Then the doctor asked about me. I said, “Well – her mom is depressed, and she needs help.”

I started on a medical treatment plan that day.

Depression goes back four generations in my family. I can trace it back to a great-grandpa and to my grandma who died because she would not take care of herself. My sister, who passed away suddenly at age 29, struggled with depression most of her life.

At the doctor’s office, I thought, I am a mom, I have children who depend on me, I am depressed and I have this long family history of depression. Can I be helped?

I received a care package from a friend of mine who had been praying for me for years. Our friendship is as old as my childhood Bible. She had sent me a box of baby clothes, and inside were things for my daughter. Down in the bottom of the box was a book – a children’s book with illustrations. The title of the book was “Psalm 91.” Every page was illustrated for me –each verse – for me, like a child.

Around that time, I started attending a moms group. I sat with the other moms at that table, struggling.
As soon as I started opening up about my postpartum depression, more moms came forward and said, “Yes, I have dealt with that, too.”

That gave me hope.

Today, my daughter is a healthy 9-year-old. My prayer is that depression will not be passed on to her or to any of my other children. I am still in treatment for depression and believe that God is healing me.

2014 Shanna Groves, Volunteer
GateWay of Hope, The Helping Place for Hurting Women