Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
1) It's normal to feel sadness
Leslye- I wanted to share that because it is normal to feel sadness at least some of the time.
Cassandra- It's just a normal part of life. Don't ever feel abnormal for feeling sad.
A. Hormonal shifts happen to every woman-
Leslye- Hormones could be a reason that you are feeling depressed.It is important to take time to recover from having a baby. A lot of moms think they need to be a super hero after having a baby. The reason you need to slow down is because you can have a major burn out if you are just going and going and you are not getting the rest you need. It is ok to let your older kids help you do chores, and let your husband pick up fast food. If you don't take care of yourself things will quickly pile up and nobody will even know you are struggling. Don't do that to yourself, take time to care for yourself after you have a baby.
Cassandra- Realize that there is a season for everything. At certain times of the month, you are going to be dealing with hormones. During those times, try to step back and keep things in perspective. Let some things slide if you feel overwhelmed. Do the main things- the cooking, laundry, schooling, etc...but cut out the unnecessary, trivial things. Especially after having a baby. Take a good month before you commit to anything after a baby. Take that time for just enjoying the new life that you grew and carried and birthed.
B. Post Partum- Take it easy, don't overdo it. Spend time at home after birth. Only focus on eating, resting, and nursing. Don't commit to any outside activities for the first few months.
Leslye-Each baby is different, take time to recoup and figure out your baby. If you don't the consequences could be major. You could end up with postpartum depression. I usually take at least 2 weeks off from going anywhere. I stay home and try to get rest. When I had my baby Joel a couple years ago, I was not recovering like normal. It was a very slow recovery. That is when I found out that I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis. (Read more about the disease here.)That was a difficult time, and it took longer for me to recover from pregnancy and birth. Listen to your body, slow down when you need to, or you will regret it later.
We have a group at our church called Post-Partum Gals. We patterned it after a group at Faithful Word Baptist Church that helps moms postpartum. I encourage the ladies at our church to use the help that is offered in that group. Whether it be a meal train after baby comes, a freezer meal party (mom buys the ingredients and ladies come over to help prepare the freezer meals before baby comes), basic house cleaning, laundry (volunteers will do laundry for children in the household only), phone calls or texts periodically to check on the new mom, etc. Having ladies at church willing to help in these areas can be a huge resource especially if you are struggling in some area after baby comes.
Mrs. Zsuzsanna Anderson wrote a blog about what she does after she has her babies.( Here is the link to the blog post.) She takes a lot of time off after she has a baby. I think that is great. I appreciate what she said so much. As a mom of a large family it is hard to slow down. Most moms with lots of kids are highly motivated. I know that I am, and it is hard to take the time off, but it is important. I have to tell myself to stay in bed and to take a nap if I need it.
Cassandra- This is an area that you can learn from my mistakes. I overdid it as a young mother. Because of trying to dive into things too soon after a baby, I dealt with postpartum depression after two of my babies. You have to take it slow after having a baby. You have just been through a very huge, long ordeal, especially if you had a rough delivery. (Like I did with my last two babies) The week I had my fifth baby, Allie, our church was having a revival. The day home from the hospital, I decided I wanted to go. That was stupid. I was low on sleep, she wasn't nursing well yet, and I had had a horrible delivery with her. (She was a posterior birth) I dealt on and off with deep depression for the first few months after her birth, and then I felt guilty for not enjoying my newborn more than I was. I could've helped the overwhelming feeling I had after her if I hadn't of jumped right back into everything full steam ahead. Learn from my mistakes!
C. Grieving the loss of a loved one or miscarriage.
Cassandra- This is an area I have experience in. It's not pretty, and it's not easy, but you have to allow yourself to grieve. If you don't, you will eventually- and it might be in the form of depression.
2. Reasons People fall into depression
Leslye- Women’s bodies go through major hormonal changes, if you can realize you are having a hormonal shift then just ride the wave, you will eventually get back to normal.
Cassandra- Like I said before, hormones are an every day, monthly thing. Recognize when hormones are triggering your moods, and learn when to limit your activities on those trigger days.
B. Death or grief over a loved one, not focusing on grieving...stuffing it all inside and not dealing with it.
Leslye- Everyone grieves differently and that is ok. You may have had a miscarriage after trying for a long time to have a baby. This can be very saddening and cause depression. Find someone to talk to, maybe another women who has had the same experiences.
Cassandra- Find a way to grieve and do it. For me, writing and talking about it helps. Whatever you do, don't just stuff your emotions deep inside of you. Eventually it will come to the surface.
C. Discontentment and Bitterness
Leslye-A big reason people get depressed is that they don’t forgive. Sometimes the one they won’t forgive is themselves. We all make mistakes because we are human. God forgives you if you ask him too, you need to forgive yourself.
Becoming bitter at someone else, maybe your husband for example, can be very depressing. Don’t even go down that road. Learn to “take out the trash” with the little things so you don’t develop roots of bitterness. If you don’t take care of those little seeds of bitterness they will become big roots that will not be easy to get rid of when you are trying to overcome depression.
Cassandra- Comparison is the thief of joy. Facebook is Fakebook. No one puts their bad days on Facebook, only the good ones. So what if your husband isn't Prince Charming, 95% of husbands arent?! Appreciate the good and leave the bad. If there is an issue, address it...but that should be rare- very rare. Find joy in the little things of life, and don't ever compare someone else's life to yours.
3. Our experiences with depression
A. Hormonal fluctuations
Leslye-A couple years ago I found out that I have an autoimmune disease that attacks my thyroid. Autoimmune disease can be debilitating to say the least. I became depressed when I didn’t feel well enough to do the things I normally do. It affected my quality of life. Like a disability. Sometimes just not being able to be yourself can trigger depression. It takes realizing that the situation is out of your control to begin to overcome the sadness that comes with a disability.
Last year I went through a deep depression after having 2 miscarriages one right after the other and then becoming pregnant with my last baby. I don’t want to go back there ever again. It was a really hard time. And because I am suppose to be a person that has it all together it was hard for me to reach out for help. It is hard for most people to reach out for help when they have depression, but that is exactly what you need to do.
Cassandra- The only times in my life I have had sadness or dark days were days after deaths of loved ones. I take it one day at a time, and I thank God for the hope of heaven.
4. Dealing with depression in your life...steps you can take
I. Fish oil, supplements
Leslye- Women are lacking good fats in their diet. Taking fish oil all of the time will help your brain. ( Here is the link to the fish oil for pregnant and nursing moms)
Cassandra- Vitamin B is good for women of childbearing age. Try to find a good one to take, one that is high quality. Try to eat good, quality food. When you are eating healthy, you ultimately feel better, and feel more in control of your life, which helps with depression or feeling overwhelmed.
Leslye- Get out there and alleviate some stress. When I get to feeling down a simple walk in the mornings before everyone else is awake can make me feel good about myself. When I was struggling with depression this simple thing helped so much.
Cassandra- Exercise will help you feel more energetic, give you some "you time", and slim you down, which will help your mood, too! I am preaching to myself, because it's been a good two months since I have worked out, the past two months have been crazy! Now that life will be a little slower, I am jumping back into the routine of healthy eating and exercise.
III. Talking about your problems, not keeping it all bottled in and struggling on your own.
Leslye-Find someone to confide in and tell them you are struggling, get the support you need. Tell people in your life you are having a hard time. Scale back on stressful obligations in your life.
Cassandra- Have that one person that you can confide in, other than your husband. It needs to be a close confidante who you can trust. It can be your mom, sister, girlfriend, whatever. Talk it out. Let them know when you are having a bad day. Don't struggle alone.
IV. Writing and keeping a journal
Leslye- Instead of dwelling on bad thoughts, fill your mind with scriptures to battle those bad thoughts. Find ones that will help specifically with the thoughts you are having. When you are in a battle in your mind you need spiritual weapons to combat the fiery darts. Write out the verses in a journal and look at them often. You could write out how you are feeling and then find a verse to replace that thought or feeling. Revisit those verses often.
Cassandra- Do a word study on the word, "joy". Write all the verses about joy, and memorize them. Think back on those verses in the dark days. If you like to write, do that. Sometimes it's good to journal out your sadness.
Leslye-If your kids are driving you crazy it might be time to hit the reset button on your discipline and training. You should spank your kids when they do something that bothers you, that something is bothering you for a reason. Deal with misbehavior right away so your kids don’t add to your feeling like a failure. Also forgive your children for making mistakes, the things they do can add up quickly. Forgive even the little bad things they do so you don’t blow up on them.
I tell people this all of the time, “take out the trash.” Whenever something bad comes in to my head I do not even give it time to start eating me up, I literally think of that thing like a piece of trash and I think of a trash can in my mind then I throw out that trash where it belongs. Don’t even give place to any of those thoughts. You can do the same thing with forgiveness. When things from the past come up tell yourself that you already forgave that situation and get rid of that weight, it is behind you, don’t let that stuff bogg you down. If you are struggling with marriage problems, forgiveness for things that bother you each and every day can prevent you from becoming bitter at your husband. You can improve your relationship with him by submitting joyfully to what he decides or wants and just overall being helpful to him. Easier to say then to do, I know.
Cassandra- Most of the time when you are mad at someone, you are the only one that knows or thinks about it. While you are seething, they are going about their business as usual. You are the one suffering, not them. Let it go. Bitterness hurts no one but yourself.
B. How others can help you
Leslye- It is going to be hard on your husband that you are going through a hard time. Tell him what you feel you need from him, he doesn’t know how to help. You have to communicate what you need from him. Find a friend to talk to, someone who is godly that maybe has been there before. Someone who you know has overcome depression. That person can just be a listening ear. Sometimes people will work out their own problems just by talking about them. This doesn’t mean just tell someone all of your business . If you unload the truck and tell people all about what your husband does etc...you might move on, but people don’t forget. Ask your godly friend to pray with you and ask them how they overcame their depression.
Cassandra- Send a struggling friend texts. Encourage her daily. Offer to cook a meal. Offer her a date night, and a playdate for her kids while her and her husband go out for supper. Make her a care basket. Send a card. Go out of your way to look for struggling people.
C. When to seek help... (should you ever take meds?)
Leslye-Personally I would never take medication for depression. You are already in an altered state of mind you don’t need to take a drug that just might push you over the edge. Try natural routes. Also get your hormones checked to see if you have an imbalance, that is a starting point.
*As a side note, check out the book ‘Smart Medicine For a Healthier Child,’ it goes over the list of conventional treatments as well as homeopathic, herbal, acupressure, etc.. for different things that affect children. It is a helpful resource in general, so check it out.*
If your are having the feeling of running away from life, or taking your own life do whatever you can to just get through each moment. Do not bottle everything inside. Find help. There are people who care. Don’t believe the lie that nobody cares for you. Don’t give up hope!!
Cassandra- Ultimately, the choice is yours and your husband's. Personally, I wouldn't take mind altering drugs. I would look into natural routes....St John's Wort, vitamins, supplements, etc. I have never dealt with crippling depression, however, so I can only say what I would do in my situation. Just remember...there is hope. Nothing is ever as bad as you think, there is a solution for everything. Don't ever do something life altering because of a moment of depression. Get in the Psalms. Talk to someone. You aren't alone in this life. There is help.