Wonder of wonders
Miracle of miracles
I was afraid that God would frown
But like he did so long ago in Jericho
God just made a wall fall down
After I had my baby, this song was stuck in my head. It came from nowhere. It is not a Christmas song and I haven't seen Fiddler on the Roof lately, but the more I think about it, the more appropriate it is. A week ago I felt terrible, and since I have been depressed before, I couldn't imagine my emotional state changing into anything more positive any time soon. But after my last blog post I received so many notes of encouragement, private and public Facebook messages, and e-mails from friends, family, and acquaintances. People said they had been there, that they had empathy, that they were proud of me for speaking out about where I am and the reality of how I feel. Some people couldn't relate at all, but acknowledged that what I was going through was real. People said they loved me, that they were praying for me. Friends brought treats, they brought meals, they made solid plans to help. I never could have expected this outpouring of love and acceptance. I thought maybe one or two people would awkwardly respond, and that my depression would be ignored. People normally don't know how to deal with a depressed person, but I felt understood and blessed. What an unexpected twist.
The night before my scheduled induction, my husband and my neighbor prayed over me and gave me a blessing. Dan also fasted. He broke his fast right before they hooked me up to pitocin. I was feeling calm and well. I felt normal, but better. It was amazing.
After I had been on pitocin for a little while, my doctor stopped by to break my water. I'll save the details for another post, but the labor was fast and I had no relief from drugs. Natural labor (well- natural besides the petocin) was intense and painful, but after I pushed my little boy out they handed him to me and all I could say was "Sweetheart. Sweetheart." I loved him instantly.
When Moses softened Pharoh's heart
That was a miracle
When God made the waters of the Red Sea part
That was a miracle too...
I was transformed. I really think it was a miracle. Sometimes I feel like I must not have been depressed, because look at where I am now. Of course, I know I was... I know what depression feels like. You just want to be swallowed up by nothingness. But I no longer have those feelings. Not even after all the sleepless nights and the pain and the water retention (I bloat up like a balloon after I have babies).
I almost feel silly about the amount of help I'm still receiving. We have more meals lined up, people are taking our kids to play during the day, people want to help with housework, etc. I feel almost like a fraud, and maybe we don't need all this help. But then I think that people enjoy serving and showing love, and that it helps us both, and that maybe all this love and support is helping keep my depression at bay. I know it can come back any time. Like I said before, depression is not something that you can control. And having a newborn is still hard.
For now I am just so grateful. I'm thankful for such a supportive group of friends and family. I didn't have any idea about the amount of people who were willing to jump in and be of assistance to me when I needed it. I also want to make it clear that I did not mean to hurt any feelings in my last post. If you did anything on my "not helpful" list please know that I do not hold you responsible for my depression. I was trying to inform, not to offend. And many people who may have been "not helpful" once have actually helped me again and again at other times in my life. And I am thankful.
I recently read a little story that I would like to paraphrase: One day a man falls in a hole while he is walking down the street. He begins to yell for help. A doctor walks by, hears the man, and writes a prescription which he throws into the hole. The doctor
continues on his way. The man still yells for help. A priest walks by, throws a bible in the hole and walks on. The man is screaming for help. A friend walks by, hears his buddy yelling, and jumps into the hole. The man asks his friend "Why did you do that? Now we are both down here." to which his friend replies "Yes, but I've been down here before, and I know the way out."
It is difficult to deal with depression. And most people who are depressed cannot express what is happening to them. Heck, I might not be able to tell anyone if I relapse tomorrow. The best thing you can do for anyone who is depressed is to notice if they are in that hole and then be there for them. Every person has different needs and different "helpful" and "not helpful" lists. Just be aware and be available. That is it. And thank you to everyone who has been there for me. You have helped me at a critical time in my life. What a gift it was to have a beautiful birth experience. What a gift it is to have the opportunity to bond with my new baby boy. I love him. I love him. I love him.
But of all God's miracles large and small
The most miraculous one of all
Is the one I thought could never be
God has given you to me.
PS If you are ever feeling depressed and you need someone to talk to, I will always be available for you. I will try to help you out of that hole if you let me. Even if I'm already in that hole and we happen to bump into each other, we can find our way out together.