Moms, have any of you ever yearned for a friend? What about some company and a helping hand to make a difficult day better? How many of you have ever put out a plea for help over social media? All of these have been true for me at some point or another.
I have been reading about how different cultures handle child birth and the period after it, and about how families and people from around the world group themselves. I have come to realize that here in North America, we are extremely segregated. From afar it may seem like we have tonnes of connections, I mean, we have a whole network of people that we know, and we talk to regularly on social media. My question is, how many of these people, more specifically, other moms (both young and older), do we connect with in person on a regular basis? If you are like me or most other people, the answer would be very few.
Personally, I have struggled with some depth of postpartum depression after all three of my babies. Thankfully, leaning on Jesus has brought me to the other side each time. Though, in the midst of the depression, it was like a deep hole of anxiety and despair. It was awful. It doesn’t seem like something a mother, who has just given birth to a new beautiful creation should have to endure. It makes me wonder why here in Canada, in a country where we have free health care and many other resources available to us, is the number of women who have severe ‘baby blues’ and postpartum depression so high?
I believe that our segregation from each other plays a large part. Moms, we need each other! We each have our own unique set of talents, giftings, and personality traits for a reason. We are each at a different stage in our walk as a mother, and we can be a benefit to those who are at a different time than us. We were not meant to do this mom thing on our own! We need to be present in the lives of other moms around us. When someone you know is having a baby, make time to shower them with blessings- things that you know would have helped you when you had your babies. When a mom posts a status about being tired, bring her a specialty coffee, or if she knows you well enough, offer to watch her kids while she relaxes or naps. Visit each other and actually talk. Not just small talk, real talk. Talk about what is actually going on. Talk about your struggles, anxieties, and victories. Most importantly, don’t compare or judge critically. This also means not giving unwarranted advice. We are not part of a contest. Our kids will have to grow up around all the other kids, so why would we not want to support the mothers behind those kids? Stay tuned for another post with ideas of how to support a new mom.
Moms, We NEED to Start a Revolution
I have found that a great way to get through postpartum depression, is to be open about it. There is no shame in it- it is a hormonal imbalance aided to by exhaustion and other external circumstances. If we can have open discussion about it, it takes away any hidden guilt or shame about how we are feeling. It humbles us, but in a good way. A way that says, “This is where I am at right now, but I’ll get through this.” Moms, it is our job to support another mom if she is struggling with this. I believe the rates would go down significantly if we could talk openly and not be shamed when we do. Even for those moms who are not struggling with depression, being a mom is still a huge task and would benefit from having this type of community support.
“Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) and edify (strengthen and build up) one another..” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Could you imagine a place where the number of mothers who struggle with long term depression is staggeringly low because of the sheer volume of support and the feeling of safety to share openly? This needs to happen. I resolve this year to take the time to seek God for ways that I can be a support to the moms around me. I want to pray fervently that I can know what needs to be done to support another mom the way that she needs to be. Who is with me?