In this section I focus on one last aspect that helped me during the depths of the shadows. I also give a summary on how I'm doing now – I find I'm through the worst and doing much better, but do still struggle with some ambivalent feelings. More below 🙂
If I didn't mention this part of moving out of the shadows of depression, I'd be leaving out a huge part of the journey. I felt very alone when the feelings were the darkest, and I didn't feel like I could do much about it.
I had never battled such overpowering emotion or such a massive roller coaster of feeling. I felt guilty for not being excited about my coming baby – so innocent inside of me, and so wanted… it was a huge conflict.
For me, turning to words in the Bible at those darkest times was an immense comfort. I found the most help in the words of David in the Psalms. The detail about the perfection and miracle that begins even in the womb with a tiny growing baby comforted me. We chose to have an ultrasound mostly because I hoped that seeing the baby would help me. Marveling over the pictures from the scan and those words written so long ago was a source of strength for me.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! Psalms 139:13-17
I would also repeat the words of Jesus to myself, knowing that welcoming a child is welcoming Jesus and accepting a blessing:
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. Matthew 18:5
I felt fear because my careful plans had been “put off” in a big way. It has taken a lot of time to surrender to that, and to know there is a wisdom above my own life that steps in and guides things sometimes (I joke that Scott must have a direct line because everything happened just the way he wanting :p). But these words provided comfort in times of fear:
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9
One more verse in particular was very helpful because it reminded me to pull my thoughts away from the darkness. At those times when I couldn't seem to think of anything else I just went and read the above Scriptures – sometimes aloud in the bathroom or my bedroom, sometimes in my head, sometimes in whispers with the children around. I couldn't stop the dark thoughts on my own – but by filling my head with empowering words about courage and the blessings of the miracle inside me I was able to halt them.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5
I know many will not find the same comfort in Scriptures I took, but if you do remember that they are there for you. There may just be a verse or two (even a poem on motherhood, a saying, etc. may help), but that can become your lifeline, and something to repeat when dark thoughts threaten to overwhelm you.
I also prayed a lot, knowing that even though my thoughts and feelings left me guilt-ridden, my prayers were still heard, and I was still accepted. Eventually I was able to accept them myself – and move beyond them. On the hard days I still return to these simple Scriptures and seek a few moments of prayer here and there. I'm deeply thankful to have these resources.
How is it Going Today?
I want to stress that I didn't make all these changes at once, and I didn't solve things all at once. As I mentioned at the start of the series, I still have days that are harder than others. I am still working to overcome some of the feelings and fears that brought the time of depression on. But things are so much better now.
I started slowly – changing what and how I was eating so that I could feel better. I added in the prenatal yoga and belly dance slowly. I slowly moved back to a regular household routine and organizing – that has just been underway the past few weeks. I'm really just starting to get back into working on my websites. It has been slow. Some things helped move me along a lot quicker. Focusing on Scriptures has been my lifeline. The small but solid meals and the prenatal exercise helped a lot. Talking to my midwife also provided the comfort of knowing my emotions were totally accepted. But most things built, slowly, on one another to help me feel better.
Now I feel good – I'm energetic most days, though still a bit slow to start. I'm able to get up early two days a week and work on my website (something I previously did every weekday but couldn't after I got pregnant). School is going very smoothly with the children, and thanks to my curriculum and schedule planning last summer, we are almost completely on target to finish up just before the baby is due (maybe it's not a coincidence that the baby picked that time to be due!) Meals are going well and I'm able to eat well – though I still have lots of cravings 😉
I have some ambivalence about having a new baby, but I feel ready for the baby. I feel like the baby has a place in our family and will fit in nicely. I also feel like this is good timing for the baby in a lot of ways. I've become a lot more accepting of timing that might not seem like my ideal.
Every pregnancy, birth, and baby offers a growing experience. I grow through each of my babies, and this fifth baby has taught me so much – about myself, my faith, and about a different side of pregnancy. I'm thankful for the experience because it helps me to help other women who may have the same struggles – perhaps some of these practical suggestions can help someone else begin to overcome and look forward to her baby.
I don't think I can honestly say that I've “enjoyed” this pregnancy in the same way as my others. But I treasure my baby's movements and knowing I have a life growing inside – and I am looking forward to welcoming my new baby into my arms. The challenges are a blessing – and an even bigger blessing comes as a reward in a few months 🙂
Click here to return to Walking Through Shadows – Part 1
Click for Walking Through Shadows – Part 2
Click for Walking Through Shadows – Part 3
(NOTE: Trying to balance your pregnancy, life, and getting ready for baby? Use my checklist pack stay healthy (naturally), organized, and confident throughout your pregnancy! Get them here.)
Thanks for this series! I am pregnant with #5 and feel like I am dealing with prenatal depression.
I'm not sure how old these posts are but I am feeling some hope from them. I am 15.5 weeks pregnant with my 4th and even though I have the largest age gap with this one (over 4 years) and really tried to work on my health beforehand, I am having a rough time. Morning sickness seemed to ease up at 13 weeks, but then I got sick (possibly covid). It was mild but made me extremely fatigued and not very hungry for about 2 weeks. Then I started to feel better, go on walks again and a few days later I got hit with a stomach bug. (today).
I'm not concerned about losing weight necessarily, because I have plenty of extra. I'm more concerned that I'm not able to get the best nutrients to the baby for a good chunk of pregnancy. I have felt a bit of a dark cloud of depression for the past few months and I think it's due to being sick…but I really need to fill my mind with more Scripture. Thank you for the encouragement. ❤
Kassia, I’m so glad it was an encouragement to you! I hope that your stomach bug passed quickly – as long as you take in nourishing fluids, your body can usually do okay. And remember that babies respond well when they get the nutrient density they need. They grow quickly <3 Focus on being gentle to yourself, resting, and eating good foods. Things can and do get better, even when times are challenging. Thinking of you and feel free to reach out if I can help.