My Second Pregnancy And Postpartum Anxiety

second-pregnancy-postpartumI tried to come up with a clever title for this article, but I just could not seem to fit the words together in a rhythmic way. I want to share with you how I am feeling about enduring my second pregnancy and how I am feeling about postpartum anxiety.

My first child will be turning two in November. Being a mother is incredible and every bit rewarding. I love watching my son master new skills and gain a wider vocabulary. The joy I have received from mothering is indescribable. However, despite the joy that has swirled around in my heart, I have also battled a force I was not prepared for: postpartum anxiety. For nearly 9 months following the birth of my son I experienced the worse case of anxiety I have ever dealt with. It was dark, it was dreary, it was horrible.

I had prepared myself for depression and what some call the “baby blues,” but I had no idea that some women can experience postpartum anxiety. I was paranoid about everything, I feared everything, and I lost more sleep than the normal new parent, because I thought death was impending. This problem negatively affected my marriage relationship because I didn’t fully comprehend all that was going on with my body. That uncertainty made it very difficult for me to think about my husband’s needs, and it also made difficult my ability to keep my attitude in check. We fought often.

After a few doctor visits I finally found out that my thyroid played a huge role in the anxiety I was experiencing. {I talk about that in an article titled: Living With Thyroid Problems.} I praise God that my body finally balanced itself out, with only a few lingering effects that still rise up from time to time.

What I endured through those first 9 months of postpartum was enough to keep me far from ever thinking about having another child. But then, as time went on, a desire in my heart for another child grew wildly. I tried to push it away, in fear of experiencing another rough recovery, but God kept bringing it back with a gentle reminder that He wants me to trust Him with every aspect of my life.

Well, in August I found out that my husband and I are expecting our second child. We both are over the moon for the opportunity to extend our family. Although I have joyfully embraced this second pregnancy, the thought of postpartum anxiety has definitely crossed my mind more than a few times. And each time I have to remind myself that God is in control and that I need to trust in Him. My fears are based on “what if’s,” circumstances that might happen but are not guaranteed. What I need to have is faith, confidence that no matter what happens God is going to help me through it.

I also wrangled up a friend who is going to walk through my pregnancy and postpartum recovery with me. Someone who I can talk to about all that I experience so that I do not get sucked back into the darkness that is anxiety. I am also very blessed to have a husband who is willing to be patient and share encouraging words with me, also reminding me to trust in God every step of the way.

I am curious to know if you ever experienced postpartum anxiety or depression and how you felt going into a second or more pregnancy? Let us all learn from each other’s experiences, please share in the comments!  


– Jennifer Smith   Unveiledwife.com

The Day I Became THAT Mom

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Many of my friends are 10 years younger than me with no church background.

I worked with Young Life for five years and these kids now have kids and recently, I piled my boys into a van with a gift bag and handmade cards and we drove two hours to the city for one of the kids’ birthdays.

And it was there, surrounded by toddlers in Toms’ shoes and seven-year-olds in high-tops and low-riding jeans that I realized I’d become one of THOSE moms.

Yup.

I was the mom with the kids who wore matching knitted sweaters that said “Jesus loves (followed by their name).”

Granted, I hadn’t chosen those sweaters for them to wear that day. Goodness, I’d tried to find them the “coolest” second-hand clothes we had but they’d INSISTED on wearing their matching knitted sweaters–to my chagrin. “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” I kept whispering to myself as I begged God not to let my precious boys be beaten up.

Every time I asked Aiden if he was getting too hot and wanted me to take his sweater off, he sweetly said, “No thank you.”

I was also the mom who brought homemade-bread sandwiches and homemade cookies and who listened to Wee Sing Bible songs with the boys in our dented mini-van on the way to the party.

But it was there, in the backyard surrounded by my hip, gangster friends with their brand-name clothes and their top-end phones, that I realized–children equalize us.

Even as I ran with Kasher through the throng of parents claiming he “had to poo and now they were all laughing because they got it. Every kid has to “poo”, and NOW.

We were all cautioning our kids–in their high tops and matching sweaters–not to climb too high on the tree house and not to eat too much sugar and kissing them when they fell down and bumped their heads. We were all groaning as we talked about things like time-outs and punishments and defiance and tattling and by the end of the day, we weren’t different social classes or different religions or different ages. We were all moms and dads trying desperately not to mess up the future generation.

At one point, my friend–the one whose boys I watched for a year while she became strong again, the one whose kid was having a birthday party–she touched my back and looked into my eyes and said, “Thank you–for coming. It means so much to me.”

It’s so easy to get caught up in the appearance of things.

It’s so easy for me to get embarrassed by things like matching knitted sweaters. Yeah, I was the reverend’s daughter who begged God to make me cool. I would douse myself in Exclamation! perfume and spend all of my allowance on Thrifty’s jeans and Roots sweaters.

But then one day I found myself driving a mini-van singing Wee Sing Bible Songs with my four and three year old.

Deep down, I don’t want my kids to ever be cool. I want them to be kind.

I don’t want them to have to have the “new” things. I want them to give their things away.

I don’t want them to EVER stop wearing sweaters that say Jesus loves them… well, okay, I do, because I really don’t want them to be beat up… but I don’t EVER want them to be ashamed of the gospel, because it is the POWER of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.

And I don’t ever want to stop being THAT mom–but the key is? To be THAT mom who goes to THOSE parties. The ones where people who don’t know Jesus are. Because we are lights, friends. And how BRIGHT our light when it shines in the darkness.

Blessings today,

Emily

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A Holy Encounter in the Middle of the Night

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Motherhood is something I have longed for my entire life.

Motherhood is also proving to be far more challenging than I could have ever imagined…and far more rewarding, of course. Yet the most surprising thing is the way in which it is difficult.

Yes, you’re sleep deprived. Yes, you’re covered in bodily fluids and more. Yes, it’s physically and emotionally exhausting.

But the most paramount of surprises in regards to motherhood is this:

Motherhood sheds such stark light upon my own faults. Shortcomings. Selfishness.

History has proven that on many a night spent rocking a sick baby, as a battle has raged deep within me.

I’m tired. I just wish she would sleep so I could sleep. I’m so sick of puke and poo and laundry.

But not this night.

This night, I hold his fevered body against mine and listen to the ragged breathing.

I stroke his soft hair, noting how the silkiness of a babe is gone and the thickness of a wee boy has come.

His head nestles under my chin and my breathing falls in time with his. His breathing, so shallow and strained.

Heat radiates as I rub his small back up and down, up and down, up and down.

No, this night there is no pleading with the Almighty for the sweet release of sleep. No counting the minutes until my head finds the pillow.

This night, I cherish. My heart full nigh to bursting with the gratitude of being in this place; being his mother. Full of awe and wonder that so precious a thing could be entrusted to me. Overflowing with love and compassion for the little man splayed across my chest; and for his precious sisters sprawled, limbs akimbo in their beds.

This night it is not hard. This night the veil of self that so often blinds and distorts Truth is pulled aside and the glory and wonder that is this calling of Motherhood stands bright and stark and clear.

And this night, I embrace it with thanks to God for His good and gracious gift.

Have you ever had a moment like this, when the hard suddenly doesn’t seem so hard, rather a blessing miracle? Or are you in the middle of a night in your mothering right now? How can we pray for you?

Praying for you today,

Jen Deibel

The Stories I Never Thought I Would Write

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There are moments in life that shape us and change who we are. But what happens when you take those moments and transform them into words? They are words that tell a story, but it is not just my story. My story represents many stories. It is a voice for the woman who sits in her hospital bed, confused by the baby looking up at her. The little life she holds is not what she expected.

Words have turned into pages, and pages into a book. It is a reminder to the mother who buries her thoughts in guilt. She longs to find joy in the days that feel like a mess.

The day I wept for my lost plans was the day my life became more complete. The loss I felt in the pit of my stomach was actually breathtaking beauty in disguise. I am grateful for the heartache I went through because it has changed my perspective on life. I want to love the unloved. I want to find joy when it seems so difficult to find. I want to speak of hope when everything feels hopeless. 

For three years I have been writing bittersweet vignettes of motherhood. Times of devastation, like when I found out my son had Down syndrome. Or that time I knelt on the bathroom floor and cried in agony as I said goodbye to another unborn baby. The days of joy as I found humor from my children. The unexplainable moment when I delivered my daughter in the shower. It’s all here. I am learning to trust in the brush strokes of the Maker. When parts of the painting look awkward, I have to remember that there is a bigger picture. I ask him to help me find beauty in what I don’t understand.

You can read The Mural & The Maker as an ebook or PDF, which are free! Or you can purchase the print version. I hope you find encouragement and joy as you read moments covered in grace.

With Love, Natalie Falls at nataliefalls.com

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