Warning: deep post ahead. Here’s the synopsis: Postpartum depression is real, y’all. Baby blues require a little more than happy pills. It is hard to make mommy friends. You NEED to find a village somehow.
Growing up I always had a group of girlfriends. From early grade school I can remember the friends I had and games we would play. Even what we wore on the first day of school. Middle school I was so awkward but still had a group of friends. High school was even better, a group of good, solid friends, a crazy group of friends and my dance friends. All different and all perfect in each way. College was different. I had lots of different little groups but one best friend. Inseparable and always there. After college, another fun group of girl friends. Moved to Austin, marriage comes along with a few younger friends that drop off and then I had a baby. Enter the silence.
Deafening silence. What the hell just happened.
How is it possible that the greatest joy in the world can be so lonely. I remember my first semester of college being lonely, far away from my parents, and walking home from class with that feeling of loneliness…
Nothing compares to the loneliness of motherhood.
I went through about a year of this. Happy days, tried the fake it till I make it tactic, and then days where I had serious anxiety attacks. Days where I barely changed out of my pjs. Days where I loved my son more than imaginable yet my self esteem was lower than imaginable. And I never told a soul. I tried to explain it to my husband but he couldn’t quite understand how I could love Crosson so much and still be so sad or anxious. A doctor put me on “happy pills.” I have yet to open that little bottle.
I talked to my best friend every so often and one good friend daily. But she had other friends closer to her stage of life and that was that. No real engagement with people besides the cute old ladies at the store or my husband. Park visits were daily but I was so shy I couldn’t even introduce myself. I had acquaintances in the neighborhood but those girls had their own cliques and I was, again, to shy to fit in. (No pity party needed. I chose to isolate myself.) Thought I had a friend in the same stage and she dropped me because I didn’t party/get drunk enough… (Another reason to be picky with your clique-y.)
Enter Lake Hills Church.
Specifically Ashlee Carroll. Thank you friend. Though I yearned to have this giant group of friends in my suburban neighborhood, all I really needed was the local church. It took me a year to figure this out. WHY? Because I’m super stubborn. I thought I could get over postpartum depression and anxiety with daily walks and killing myself to make friends. Wrong. I needed Jesus. I needed the local church and I needed to meet moms in my same stage. Thank GOD for Fearless Mom.
“Fearless Mom exists to encourage every mom by providing tools and teaching to help moms enjoy life! No matter where you are in your mom journey… expecting your first baby, chasing toddlers and pre-schoolers, managing school-age kids, navigating life with teenagers, learning to live with step-children, or parenting adult children… Fearless mom is a judgment-free zone where you can connect with other moms and learn to be the mom God created you to be.”
I was so sad I didn’t get into it sooner but I’m so grateful I joined when I did. Have I met my new best friends? No. Do I have some REAL friendships in the works? YES. Have a met some incredible women? Yes. Have I learned more about Jesus and motherhood in just a few months? Yes. Yes. YES!
Here are my tips for getting over the motherhood loneliness:
- Locate a local church with a significant family presence.
- Reach out to said church.
- Go to said church.
- Volunteer or join a ministry.
- Don’t be shy. Talk to someone!
- Set aside time to rejuvenate.
- Go to public parks, library readings, and free family events.
- Don’t try too hard. (My hardest point to make and to change in myself.)
Here are some verses to get you through motherhood:
Thanks Julie Richard for these perfect verses.
Those who refresh others refresh themselves. -Proverbs 11:25
Keep your love for one another at full strength, because love covers a multitude of sins. -1 Peter 4:8
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. -Isaiah 40:31 (Julie’s favorite)
And most importantly:
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. -Proverbs 31:25
If you are struggling through a tough patch, you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to open up to someone. It helps tremendously. I’ll leave you with a note I took from Julie:
“And what I also know to be true is that God brings people into our lives, with whom we should do life. The local church is the greatest source of encouragement for families as they strive, as we strive to nurture, to teach, and to love our children and one another. I know because I witness this in Fearless Mom and at Lake Hills Church.
So any advice? Absolutely!
- Cherish each NOW moment.
- Embrace the people God has placed in your life.
- Laugh as often as possible.
- Trust God with your todays…and your tomorrows.“
You are enough!
Featured photo by Kody Diane Photography.