Saturday, June 20, 2015

Postpartum or Relapse...

I am a "late Christian"...
This title, applied to my life, means I grew up going to different churches and knew OF Jesus. I came to truly know Christ as my Savior in my early 30's (I am now almost 35-along with late I am also considered not quite seasoned)
One of coolest things I learned about, when I accepted Christ, was this thing called "Fruits of the Spirit" 
Through reading, studying, meditating and past experiences I came to find out that the 2 "fruits" I am blessed with are Peace and Joy.
What this means? My past was filled with chaos but + (through Christ) I now know peace.  My past was filled with pain but + (through Christ) I now experience GREAT joy! 
What this does NOT mean? I woke up one day and everything was easy, my past hurts were forgotten and never bothered me again, I'm skinny, rich and live in a big house, my marriage and my kids are perfect, fashionable and well behaved :)
An example I give people when they ask "how do you do it?" is this:
My God has empowered me to love those who others call unlovable, He has given me compassion for groups of people others (even Christians) turn their backs to. He has built in me an understanding and tender heart for those suffering with addiction, mental illness and abuse. The peace He has given me made it possible to walk up to our kids' biological mom after court, give her a hug, tell her her kids will always love her and that everything will be OK. Looking at her I knew her bad decisions would haunt my kids for the rest of their lives, but I also knew that those same bad decisions are what lead those beautiful children into our home. Both children have been traumatized by her drug/alcohol use, our son suffers with reactive attachment disorder and multiple learning disabilities; our daughter was recently diagnosed with severe fetal alcohol syndrome and classified as MRDD. 
Struggles and stress do not skip over me because I am a Christian. In my early 20's I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, through years of medication and therapy I graduated to "recovery" in my late 20's. When I made the decision to make Christ my center I witnessed even more changes, I began to hope, trust and live differently. 3 years later I became pregnant, SURPRISE!! At that first appointment my doctor expressed his concern about the medications I was taking, I was filled with fear. Do you know how many years it took to find the right ones? How long it took me to finally sleep at night? To leave my house? To work and have real relationships? To forgive? To move on? To accept my faults? To LOVE? I credited all of these improvements to my medication and changes in my situation. As the thoughts continued to fill my head and fear increased I said a prayer, then after that I began to trust and be lead...again. My next step-I requested a full evaluation by a psychiatrist I had no prior relationship with-I wanted a unbiased opinion. The results were in, he said "it's a miracle! your NOT crazy at all, maybe you never were!!" when I gave this line to my husband he put his boots on to say the least, hey an A for effort right? After delivery I was monitored for postpartum depression and made it through. Then came our 2nd surprise, our daughter, this pregnancy was completely different from the start. I decided to go back on a low dose, as safe as you can get while pregnant medication. Her delivery was nothing short of eventful, the added difficulties in breastfeeding (see previous blog) only added to my emotional breakdowns. A few days a week I was in so much pain that I couldn't even hold her; being disconnected, in pain, not meeting her needs eventually forced me into the realization that postpartum depression was most likely rearing it's ugly head. As I am experiencing the sadness, anxiety and withdrawal a lot of those past memories come back to me-thankfully I am reminded that God brought me through it, all of it and I am a better wife, mom and person because of it. That doesn't mean the feelings have gone away, but it does mean that I know one day they will and I will add this to my list of "who I am connected with" I also know that God won't let me lose my sense of humor, peace or joy-those are the gifts he's given me, just as much as this new challenge and I know he'll use it for something good because he has before. 
Postpartum, relapse, addiction, grief, all of it make Christ your center to see how he uses you and your struggles...and then Thank Him...   

Mommy & Blake Matthew 2013    

Mommy & Kallie Joy 2015


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