Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tear Soup

When our little Rhett was born, I was anticipating the rush of love and devotion and selflessness that I thought would come naturally with motherhood. I felt like I prepared my whole life to be a mom, even my undergrad was Marriage Family Human Development. I knew we would be having a boy, a very special boy, even before we decided to start our family. But over the past two weeks I've been learning that sometimes life doesn't follow the course that we originally charted for it.

I've been sitting here trying to figure out how to start this post. I guess just saying it is the best way. I was diagnosed with relatively severe Postpartum depression two days ago and was admitted to the hospital yesterday for a series of reasons. Extreme and abrupt weight loss, insomnia, panic attacks etc. The reason I'm blogging about this is that I want, and need, an outlet...and I am trying to learn from this. I don't feel ashamed that I have it. I feel I'm not good enough to care for our son. But I'm trying to accept that just because I feel this way doesn't mean it's true.

I've cried more over the past two days than I think I ever have. I have always been taught by my parents, leaders, and scriptures such as this that Christ's atonement is powerful enough to not only pay the price for sin, but mighty enough to heal every pain and sickness we experience...emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual. Yet, in the days and weeks after Rhett's birthI find myself asking, "If I have to feel this heartache and pain so intensely, why too did Christ have to feel it?" I just can't bare the thought of both of us going through such darkness, loneliness, and pain.

And this is what I'm learning.

Because of the knowledge that God has, and the love that he feels for me, he won't take this trial away from me...even though he could. Instead, He sent his son thousands of years before me to experience my personal pain so that I might have a friend, a Savior who could truly understand it, help me through it, and then through mercy make up where I fall short.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks helped me understand more when he said:
"Healing blessings come in many ways, each is suited to our individual needs. Sometimes a "healing" cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are "healed" by being given strength, understanding, or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us."

And it hit me... Christ didn't suffer in Gethsemane to take away my pain…he suffered so he’d understand my pain and understand how to heal me in a very real, personal way.

As much as I want a quick fix to this, I am so grateful for what I am trying to learn. So grateful that in the middle of the night when I feel so much anxiety about trying to be a mom, that I can remind myself that I am a child of God, that He trusts me because He sent me a child of His and and that no matter how I feel, there is always hope.

"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you..."
D&C 68:6


  1. I love you honey. You're the best mom and wife in the world.

  2. Hi Julia, my sister, Jordan, went to high school with Jake and recently sent me a link to your blog thinking I might enjoy it (I'm due with our first bundle on Sept 24th). I've tracked back a couple months and find myself laughing regularly, especially when reading about Jake's entertaining sleep habits! Anyway, I just wanted to say hi, and let you know that there are people out here (even ones you don't know) thinking about you and wishing you the best. There's no reason to feel guilty--getting PPD is no reflection whatsoever of you as a person or a mother. I hope your medical team is supporting you and helping you get through this tough time quickly. Just know that we're thinking good thoughts! Brooke

  3. Thank you for sharing Julia. It's brave of you to share about PPD. I have faith in you! This all will work out. Keep posting, and I'll keep reading! I'm sending good thoughts and prayers your way!

  4. I struggled with PPD with both my kids, but especially after my second baby. I put on a happy face for a few months before finally getting help and it was miserable. Hang in there! You'll feel much better soon. Know that you're not alone or any less of a mother.

  5. Julia,
    Thanks for posting a true and real post. I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I have never had PPD but I did have a severe bout of depression when I was pregnant with Jake, my youngest. I think the hardest part of PPD or being depressed when you are pregnant is that having a baby is the thing that most of us have wanted for a long time and being depressed when we just experienced the greatest thing life can offer seems very wrong. My sister always says, "we don't give hormones enough credit." And I totally agree with her. Get the help you need and don't feel guilty about it. It's not you, it's those crazy hormones and our genes that cause these diseases and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. But you can treat it. It sounds like you are getting the help you need. Therapy worked wonders for me and once the hormones settle out, that helps immensely too. And medication has helped my sisters who have dealt with it. Just remember that it is a physical disease, caused by those wonderful hormones that allow us to bring life into this world and it is not a sign of weakness or a personality problem.

    I loved your thoughts about Christ and His suffering. It is so true that Heavenly Father will not take away our suffering but how wonderful that He has blessed us with so many ways to deal with the suffering with others to help and modern medicine. You are an amazing person and I will be praying for you and Jake and Rhett. Sorry for the lengthy post but just wanted you to know that I think the world of you and I am so proud of you that you are able to talk about this and help all of us remember to get rid of Mormon/Mommy guilt, rely more on the Savior and use the wonderful modern medical and psychological advances that He has blessed us with.

  6. You are such a strong person and I know you'll get through this. I have always admired how strong you are in the gospel and really appreciated your thoughts on the atonement. Call, email or message me if you ever want to talk.

  7. Oh Julia, I had no idea. Thank you for posting that. I don't have postpartum depression but long before Jack was born I was diagnosed bipolar and have been on medication since. It can be so hard with a newborn and I kind of felt the same way too when Jack was born in that there was no huge rush of overwhelming love. I loved him,and I was excited he was here but I was exhausted and worried about how to care for him.

    I hope you are doing better, that message really hit home. The pain can be difficult but just like you said, I'm glad we have the Savior to help us through.

    I just had to give a talk a few weeks ago and I found these quotes while researching.

    “Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to come upon the few, to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. … Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation.” -Brigham Young

  8. Sounds like you might need some ice cream? It's amazing what you can get through with the Lords help.
    Life will always have it's ups and downs, most of which will occur at the same time. Hang in there, you are so loved.

  9. Julia we're praying for you too! I've always admired you so much, and seeing how you're handling something so extremely difficult only increases that admiration. Your posts have been so inspirational and have helped me to see my own challenges-as different as they may be-in a new light. Thank you for that. I love your quote from Elder Oaks...learning complete trust and patience may be the hardest thing we have to do in this life, but its also one of the most important.